Livestock suffering during drought in McCormick


MCCORMICK, S.C., (WJBF) – The Augusta area had its share of rainfall Thursday, but it is certainly needed where there have been drought conditions.

NewsChannel 6 went to McCormick County where drought conditions are extreme. It’s not just the people who are impacted there, but everything that is living.

It’s amazing horses are grazing.

Area Extension Agent for Livestock and Forages, Gary Coleman, said, “Yeah, this year is particularly worse than any other years.”

Animals are having a tough time in McCormick County in the midst of the drought.

“May 12, 13 up until about two weeks ago we’ve been seeing hay in that area like it’s winter time. There really hasn’t been any grass to graze,” Coleman told us.

NewsChannel 6’s weather team has been reporting on the drought, which is a period of below average rainfall, for several weeks with McCormick being the hardest hit in Georgia – Carolina.

Meteorologist Kevin Niewood confirmed, “Rivers, creeks, streams will be a little bit below normal.”

The Savannah River is low. The Army Corps of Engineers keeping watch and alerting those who want to go on the water of any changes.

Operations Project Manager Scott Hyatt explained, “We’ve only got one boat ramp closed so far due to low water and that’s on the very, very upper end of the lake. The further we drop the more boat ramps we will have to close. If we get down to around six feet down, it will become unused.”

The Southeast isn’t alone. Drought conditions are on the West Coast in California, too. Some farmers here at home report it is killing crops and bringing their livestock close to it.

“It affects their weight, their ability to utilize forages that normally don’t have to be provided by the owner,” Coleman said.

End of the year profits are gone for some farmers who had to pay for additional hay and feed. And those who can’t feed their cattle must say goodbye.

Coleman added, “They sell them to local livestock auctions and fair barns.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor predicts this will not let up until after Thanksgiving.

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