The heat seems to be getting to the cows on this U.S. Caribbean territory.
For the first time in a decade, officials are importing fresh milk from the United States, saying high temperatures have stressed the island's cows and production has dropped, agriculture secretary Javier Rivera said Tuesday.
About 1 million liters (260,000 gallons) of milk have been
shipped from Florida since early October, said Rivera, who assured
consumers that prices have remained the same.
Puerto Rico has been experiencing higher temperatures than
normal even as winter approaches, but Rivera said he expects cooler
days to come.
Part of the problem also lies with farmers who have not rotated
cows - allowing a certain portion to rest - to maintain optimum
production, he said.
Luis Cordero, spokesman for the farmers' association milk
sector, said they began monitoring the situation in August and
noted a significant output drop in October.
Farmers produced more than 12 million liters (3.1 million
gallons) of milk every two weeks in May, but were down to 9.5
million liters (2.5 million gallons) in October.
Local demand averages some 10 million liters (2.6 million
gallons), according to industry figures.