Crops, livestock in peril as drought spreads

A blistering start to summer coming at the end of a spring that was short on rainfall has imperiled Tennessee crops and made livestock production harder.

In this photo taken Oct. 31, 2011, central Illinois farmer Dale Hadden climbs onto a combine on the family farm near Jacksonville, Ill. Hadden's farming operation is doing especially well this year for any of a number of reasons and will use this as an opportunity to funnel some of these profits into new machinery and paying off some land. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A blistering start to summer coming at the end of a spring that was short on rainfall has imperiled Tennessee crops and made livestock production harder.

This week's report from the U.S. Agriculture Department listed 94 percent of the state's cropland short or very short on topsoil moisture.

Farmer Kenneth Barnes in Obion County described his pastures as "brown as a biscuit" and in Rutherford County, Brandon Whitt said he and his father-in-law have decided to cut their corn as silage to feed livestock because it pollinated poorly.

The USDA reported on Monday that almost half the corn statewide is rated in very poor or poor condition with two-thirds of the pastures in this same category. Soybean, tobacco, and cotton acreage remained in mostly fair-to-good condition but declining rapidly.


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