Sanpete County farmers and livestock people are sweating out a dry season that is intensifying with continuing rainless days.
As a result, some 75,000 ewes and lambs will probably be coming off their summer allotments on the Sanpete Ranger District two weeks earlier than usual."We're trying to hold off requiring the livestock off the range until the farmers have harvested their second cutting of alfalfa, so there'll be someplace to put the animals," ranger Tom Shore said. "The lambs will of course come off under-weight."
Shore said the forage shortfall on the district has occurred mainly because of the lack of spring rains that usually produce new growth.
"Even if we get some storms now, it wouldn't help the forage situation much," Shore said. In addition to the sheep, about 4,500 cattle will be adversely affected.
Sanpete extension agent Gary Anderson said crop production will be substantially below normal because of the drought conditions. He said grain production will be down around 30 percent and poorer in quality and the production of second crop hay will be around 35 percent under normal.
Several irrigation companies have been rationing water for several weeks.
Cooperative weather observer Lee Anderson measured only 0.03 inch of rainfall in June and 0.05 inch in July at Manti.
"This is making for one of the driest summer seasons since records were first taken in Manti in 1908," Anderson said.