Virginia dairy farmers struggling with drought - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Virginia dairy farmers struggling with drought

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From ABC News

Rainfall has been sparse in parts of Virginia for the past few years. Meteorologists say the state is unusually dry -- a big problem for farmers.

Dairy farmers in the state are having an especially hard time.

Before dairy cows can make milk, they must have a lot of water. Researchers like Katherine Knowlton of Virginia Tech University say water is like gold for cattle.

"When it gets this hot and this dry, milk production drops," Knowlton said. "These cows are under some stress, and they just can't produce as much milk."

"The cows are producing less milk and in the grocery store, that could increase the price of milk."

Since nearly 90 percent of milk is water, a lack of rain also means high levels of minerals don't get washed out. Dairy experts say those minerals remain in the short supply of water that dairy cattle drink.

For that reason, student researchers check mineral levels several times a day.

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