Texas Drought – continues
But the drought ongoing now is far different.
“This is just cut off completely,” the 74-year-old rancher said. “In a lot of ways, it’s worse.”
Across the nation’s No. 2 agricultural state, drought conditions are evaporating stock tanks, keeping many crop farmers from planting, forcing cattle producers to cull their herds, and dropping water levels in state lakes.
The Associated Press LUBBOCK – The withering drought that continues to grip parts of Texas is forcing ranchers to liquidate their herds and farmers to fear for their crops.
And that’s bad news for Texas, the nation’s No. 2 agriculture state behind California.
Ranchers are sending much more cattle to sale barns, which has driven prices down. There’s little pastureland to graze on, and the cost to ship hay in from out of state is high – as is the price of supplemental feed.
Three years ago in a drought that spanned more than a year, Texas lost $4.1 billion, a crop and livestock record for a single year.
“It could easily be that” again, said Travis Miller, a drought specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
The parched parts of the state are south of a line from Del Rio to Waco to Houston, while according to a U.S. Drought Monitor map released last week, much of West Texas is faring well.
Parts northwest of San Antonio are facing the driest 22-month span going back to 1885.
“It’s a tale of two states,” said Victor Murphy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “The only way out of this drought is some sort of tropical disturbance.”
Burn bans are in effect in more than half of the state’s 254 counties.
Houston residents welcomed some rain Tuesday, with many areas getting at least an inch and some getting as much as 3 inches. That came after the city saw its driest May 1 to July 5 period since records began in 1889, receiving just 0.65 of an inch of rain in those 65 days, compared with about 10 inches usually.
The city had its second-warmest June since 1906, including seven consecutive days with temperatures of at least 100. The last time that happened was 1902. The average June temperature in the city was 85.6 degrees; the record is 85.9 degrees from 1906.
Texas produces about 16 percent of the nation’s 31.7 million head of cattle, and more than 60 percent of the state’s beef cows are in counties with extreme and exceptional drought.
In Southwest Texas, we are in what is termed an ‘extreme drought.’ I think that the last time I remember a ‘real’ rain was July 4, 2008. The temperatures hover in the 100s daily. It is HOT! There has been NO RAIN.