Spencerport, N.Y. – “Five years ago we saw some of this and it goes in cycles,” said Robert Colby, Owner of Colby Homestead Farms. Colby says he has to make some modifications because of the heat.
“They don't eat as much, when they don't eat as much they don't have the nutrition level to make as much milk, so the milk drops off,” Colby said.
Colby says his cows are off about half a gallon of milk per cow each day compared to three weeks ago. Right now, Colby says the loss won't mean much in the way of milk prices but that could change if we don't get rain soon.
“If we have this heat wave go all the way through the month of August, it could be worse,” Colby said.
Colby says it also costs more to keep the cows cool. He says cows are drinking 20 percent more water than they normally do.
Colby’s farm is also running fans non-stop and using shower heads to help animals cool off.
And because cows are eating less, Colby has to spend more on special feed to ensure they’re getting proper nutrition.
“I don't think there's any doubt that the price of food we're going to be paying for is going to go up,” said George Cook, Executive Professor of Marketing for U of R’s Simon School of Business.
Some experts predict a ten to 15 cent increase in milk prices by August.
Cook says those increases will force families already on tight budgets to make some changes.
“It's something we're faced with and we have to live through,” cook said. “We've had these situations appear before; I think it's a matter of dealing with it and switching our eating habits.”
A Wegmans spokesperson tells 13WHAM that while they have seen some increased costs, the store has absorbed those costs rather than passing them onto consumers.
13WHAM also reached out to Tops, but has not gotten a response.