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Shelby County farmer concerned continuous wet weather will affect livestock this winter


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A week of saturating rain and flash flooding has left a mess across parts of our state.

Farmers are among those impacted and they are trying to keep their crops protected.

Randy Bearden owns Shel-Clair Farms in Shelby County.

He said they should be on their second or third hay cut by now, but they are having to sit back and wait.

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“So far this year, we have gotten a little bit of hay up early this spring with some rye grass we planted last fall, about 180 bales which is about a third or maybe just a quarter of what we actually need to get suited for the cold weather coming,” said Bearden.

There's more than 250 beef cows and 27 horses throughout the thousand acre property.

Bearden said if the sun doesn’t come out soon, this could be a problematic winter for his cattle.

“Hay is the only cost effective way to feed beef cows. We will supplement it through the winter with other types of feed but the bulk of their nutrition that they get through the winter months is through the hay that we grow and without that hay we’ve got to downsize our numbers,” he said.

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Hay needs to be completely dry before it can be harvested. So, when you factor in Alabama's humidity, it takes longer to reach that point.

“When you're talking about as much moisture as we’ve had and as saturated as the ground is right now, then those four or five days that it takes in good hot sunny weather, that it takes to dry the hay may be extended by a day or two because of the humidity," said Bearden.

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Bearden said if hay is harvested while wet, it will mold and can pose a fire hazard once stacked inside a barn.

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