Summer heatwave affects Midstate farmers

Harrisburg

MCALISTERVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The 2021 summer has been a roller coaster ride for several Midstate farmers.

From a lack of rain to an early July deluge, and now stands scorching heat. This same summer heat can provide big adjustments for farmers, their crops, and animals.

“As a farmer weather is one of the biggest challenges that we have,” farmer Chris Hoffman said.

Hoffman has had his farm since 1994. He and his team raise 36,000 pigs a year. Hoffman also says to fight the heatwave the technology in his barns such as fans and cooling cells plays a huge role.

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“It is a great working environment the pigs love it as you know pigs don’t sweat, they have to have plenty of water,” Hoffman said.

Yet Hoffman is not the only farmer making adjustments. Tom Barley has been a dairy farmer for 25 years.

Barley says crops are well doing well this summer but it’s a different situation for the cows because the heat brings its detrimental challenges.

“The worst thing is, cows drop in milk production as much as you try to keep them cool the amount of milk they produce drops this year has been one of the worst ever probably from five to 20% of the drop in production,” Barley said.

Making matter worse, Barley alongside his workers have lost many cows due to the summer heat.

“In a normal summer you don’t see that kinda drop in production and it’s also worse because it kept going and going,” Barley said.

Barley says the best thing he can do to fight the summer heatwave is to stay proactive.

“Making sure also another thing is some of the sprinkler systems the stuff we use the fans and say, hey there’s a few things we didn’t realize that were wearing out that we had to fix and say hey, maybe next year we need to be a little more prepared and that’s not going to happen again,” Barley said.

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