Local farmer, Billy Ladd, of Prestige Farms has been fortunate in the recent heat wave affecting Fairfield County.
Unlike reports he had heard about some of his counterparts in Chester and Newberry counties, Ladd has not lost a turkey from his farm due to the excessive heat.
Ladd raises turkeys in a brooder house and when they are mature he sells them to Louis Rich.
His farm has several methods of keeping the birds cool. The houses contain large misting fans which blow a misty spray onto the birds. The fans work in one to five minute cycles, but recently they have had the fans set all the way up at five.
He also uses a pressure washer to spray water in from the outside. The pressure washer is employed if temperatures pass 92 degrees.
currently has a new shipment of 24,700 birds in his brooder house and says in about two weeks his older turkeys, 23,000 of them will be ready to ship to Louis Rich.
Ladd said mechanical failure is a big concern when it comes to protecting turkeys from the heat.
“The fans are under continuous usage and they wear out just like we do,” Ladd said.
He does his best to keep the equipment maintained and is hoping his flock will continue to thrive despite record high temperatures.
The stakes are high. Ladd raises beef cows and hay, but his primary income comes from his turkeys.
He has been in turkey farming since 1995 when he started raising the birds for Prestige Farms.
Still he acknowledged there is little we can do to control the weather.
“This Fourth of July I’ll be running fans to keep those turkeys cool, I can guarantee you that,” he said.