Drought takes toll on animals too

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By Roberta Hunt


The heat and lack of rain have affected our community in so many ways. With the horse and livestock 4-H members in the middle of their show season, it brings to mind that our animals are affected even more than we are.

A recent article released through the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture states that horse owners should take stock of their pastures. Dry pastures mean low forage availability for grazing horses and a potential need for supplemental hay. Laurie Lawrence, a nutrition researcher and faculty member in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, stated that, “A practical approach is to put out a few flakes of hay and then observe the horses. If they devour the hay in a short time, then pasture quality is probably poor and hay is needed.” Lawrence went on to say that providing hay is not just important for the horse’s nutritional state, but it may reduce overgrazing, which can affect long-term pasture productivity. For more information on feeding livestock during the current drought, contact the Washington County Extension Office.
Another thought with the current lack of rain is for students that will be fourth and fifth graders for the upcoming school year. A yearly project is the 4-H leaf collection and as the drought conditions persist, quality of leaves will become poorer. Now would be the time to try and start the collection process in order to have quality leaf specimens. For details on collecting and identifying leaves, contact the extension office at 336-7741. Materials will be available now upon request.
A summer food and nutrition day camp will be held on Thursday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the extension office. There is no charge and the day camp is open to all youth ages 9-13. Youth must pre-register no later than Tuesday, July 17 by calling the extension office at 336-7741.
Over the next several weeks, photos from the district and state horse shows, 4-H camp and district shooting sports competitions will be featured. It will take several weeks to get all of the pictures included and to catch up with all of our outstanding youth and their summer accomplishments. We are proud to showcase the youth in our community who have excelled in all of the many activities offered.