Happy October!  If only the weather would cool off to what we normally have in October, and more importantly, bring rain with it.  A peek at the forecast shows improved chances of rain over the next week or so, hopefully more than the scattered, brief showers this week.

Discussion of the dry conditions was a prominent topic at last night’s “Value of A Bull” presentation last night at the Hit Pit in Brent for the Bibb County Farmers Federation, Bibb County Cattlemen’s Association and area cattle producers.

With the current drought conditions in mind, Alabama Extension and Auburn University are offering the following drought information and resources online for producers who are looking to make the best of the dry conditions:

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Conditions in Alabama are hot and dry. Strings of days with record-breaking heat have made September 2019 one of the hottest Septembers on record. The heat and drought are nothing new, though.

While only .2 percent of the state is in extreme drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest release, nearly 83 percent of the state is experiencing droughty conditions.

Producers in the Wiregrass have now had moderate and severe drought for eight weeks. A portion of Shelby County is experiencing extreme drought, after dealing with little to no rain for an extended period of time. Current forecasts indicate a statewide cooldown is on the way. However, there does not look to be any significant chance of rain in the forecast.

Drought Resources Available

Dry weather creates a diverse set of problems for farmers and producers. To help them make the best decisions possible, Alabama Extension has launched a new website focusing on drought related issues. Resources including livestock management, lawn and garden management, pond management and income management are available at www.alabamadrought.com. The website is adding new content daily as Alabama Extension professionals develop information to help homeowners and producers cope with the effects of drought on business and home life.

Visit www.alabamadrought.com for information on dealing with drought. For additional information, or questions not addressed on the website, contact your local Extension office. The office can direct you to the appropriate person to address your needs.

Report Drought Conditions

The USDA, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln has updated the U.S. Drought Monitor to include a reporting feature.

Citizen scientist reports can help U.S. professionals understand the effects of drought on specific areas. The reported information can assist in triggering drought response through USDA disaster relief and IRS tax provisions. These reports will also help state agencies make decisions regarding health and safety-related issues.

The data collection opportunity will allow farmers and homeowners to report conditions in their area. Access the reporting tool for to record the effects of the drought at the following link: http://droughtreporter.unl.edu/submitreport/

Alabama Extension professionals are also compiling reports for U.S. Drought Monitor officials. Alabama producers can email  Kim MullenixKent Stanford or Leanne Dillard with the following information.

  • Rainfall totals by week or month from a particular location.
  • Evidence of hay feeding.
  • Cost of feeding hay per head/day or farm totals.
  • Reports of alternative water sources being utilized.
  • Number of days since measurable rainfall.
  • Delayed planting of winter annual forages due to drought.

More Information

For more information, visit Alabama Extension online

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As the Bibb County Coordinator for Alabama Extension, Matthew D. Hartzell coordinates the implementation of all Extension programs in Bibb County in many program areas. These program areas include 4-H and Youth Development, Animal Sciences, Food Safety and Quality, Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, Family and Child Development, Family Resource Management and Workforce Development, Commercial Horticulture, Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests, Farm and Agribusiness Management, and Community and Economic Development. Hartzell has served in his current position for 12 years and held primary program assignments in Community and Economic Development, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, and Forestry Wildlife and Natural Resources.