NBC15 WMTV | Madison, WI | News, Weather, Sports

Summer Heat Burning Dairy Farmers' Business

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

As a dairy farmer, Dan Kelly's eye is constantly on the sky.

"Farmers are perceived as whiners because you know it is too windy, it is too cold, it is too hot, it is too wet, it is too dry, but they are totally dependent on the weather," explains Kelly.

Kelly is so dependent that before he milks his cows everyday, he flips on the TV.

"We turn on to watch Charlie every morning," he says.

And a recent forecast from NBC 15 Weatherman, Charlie Shortino, called for seven days of warm weather with Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in the upper 80's. But too many warm days could put a freeze on dairy farmers' business, with more and more cows giving less and less milk.

"We lose money," tells Kelly. "Farming is like a gamble everyday."

And this summer seems like a high stakes card game for the farmer.

He says, "I've seen that my cows have dropped an average of four pounds a day which probably isn't too bad, but I don't expect it to come back."

Less milk is pouring in, and less green is growing up.

"It is hard to feed cows if you don't have crops," he says.

For Kelly the ideal end to this season would be more rain, and less heat, but he is willing to compromise.

"Just for it to be average, like today is a nice day. A cow typically likes 40 degrees, that is when they are at their most productive level," he says.

The warm weather makes cows eat less, and they are in turn less productive, but it does not necessarily mean you'll pay more at the grocery store. That is because lots of farms across the United States would have to be feeling the same effects before costs could go up.


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