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Cold, Precipitation Adversely Affects Kentucky Livestock
Kentucky Ag Connection - 02/23/2021

February brought well below normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. Winter storms ushered in snow and ice across the state. Extremely cold temperatures persisted sustaining the accumulation. Precipitation for the month totaled 1.99 inches, 0.69 inches below normal. Precipitation totals by climate division, West 1.42 inches, Central 2.16 inches, Bluegrass 1.93 inches, and East 2.47 inches, which was 1.55, 0.76, 0.38, and 0.05 inches below normal respectfully. Temperatures averaged 28 degrees for the month, 8 degrees below normal. High temperatures averaged from 32 degrees in the West to 37 degrees in the East. Low temperatures averaged from 19 degrees in the West to 24 degrees in the East.

The persistent cold and precipitation had an adverse effect on overall livestock condition. Although most livestock are still in good shape, there was a shift with more in the very poor and poor categories. There were some reported cattle losses as some producers began early seasonal calving. Pastures will sustain some damage as snow melts and gives way to mud. As a result, farmers have begun to tap into their hay supplies. Despite the prospect of deteriorating pastures, hay stocks remain sufficient. The hay supply is 2% very short, 12% short, 80% adequate, and 6% surplus. The current condition of livestock is rated as 3% very poor, 4% poor, 24% fair, 61% good, and 8% excellent.

The winter wheat crop is not expected to suffer severe damage from recent weather, however producers will further evaluate as warmer weather approaches. The current condition of winter wheat is 1% very poor, 3% poor, 24% fair, 65% good, and 7% excellent.

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