4

Texas Cattle Country Braces For Another Hot Summer. But Will Drought Return?

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Last summer -- the state's hottest and driest on record -- brought Texas ranchers to their knees. Rains have revived parts of the state, especially the east. But 50 miles west of Fort Worth and further, the drought varies from severe to exceptional.

So, what's in store for us this summer? Unfair Park chatted with Dr. Travis Miller, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomist and drought spokesperson, about reading the climate-modeling tea leaves and what he's seen in his perambulations across the state.

Will Texas see the scalding temperatures we saw last summer? The climatic forecast shows signs of a probability of higher-than-normal temperatures for almost all of the southern U.S. for this summer. You can say above normal, but we don't know how high above normal, so we don't have a prognostication on whether it'll be extreme.

What about drought conditions? Do you expect them to intensify again? The drought forecast for the eastern two-thirds of the state, the model doesn't show anything ... It may be normal; it may be above; it may be below. Right now, much of the eastern third of the state's in pretty good condition, but whether it'll stay that way or not, that's the question. West Texas is still in drought.

Last year, ranches disgorged themselves of many head of cattle and sent them off to the packers and auction barns. Are they restocking, or are they cautious? We've seen some cows coming in. In East Texas, I see trailers with cows in them. When I'm in West Texas, I don't. Our advice is, make sure you have a good forage base, and that the grass is reestablished after this horrible event before buying cattle. Don't windshield it and say, 'It s green, I'm gonna by cattle.'

What about the hay crop. Ranchers had to truck it in from all over the country after crops failed. A lot of hay's being cut. I've seen hay harvesting going on all over the eastern part of the state. People out in West Texas don't have anything.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.