Pasture conditions improve across Texas

By Haley Herzog

As summer officially gets underway, hot, dry and windy conditions are seen across much of the state.

Despite much of Texas being under severe heat and drought conditions, farmers and ranchers remain optimistic as precipitation was reported in the Trans-Pecos, the Plains, Rio Grande Valley and the Upper Coast regions.

“Water and rainfall are always hot topics as we move into the summer months, and the farmers and ranchers down along the Gulf Coast and down into South Texas received some very good amounts of rain,” Tracy Tomascik, Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities, said.

Parts of the Rio Grande Valley received more than 10 inches of rainfall, while other areas of the state received between one and five inches.

Because of the ongoing drought conditions, much of the state has turned to supplemental feeding, but the much-needed precipitation in parts of Texas are predicted to help pastures and livestock.

“Range conditions have been inadequate, so ranchers have been feeding for a number of weeks now. They’re going to continue doing that until the grass has the opportunity to respond to the much-needed moisture they received,” Tomascik said in an interview with the TFB Radio Network.

The precipitation also brings hope to the Central and Eastern parts of Texas, allowing farmers and ranchers to get moisture to help this year’s hay supply.

“Summer came a little bit early for Central and East Texas, with high temperatures arriving in late May,” Tomascik said. “I think this tropical moisture will give those areas a chance to make a second, maybe even a third, cutting of hay to help replenish the hay storage and winter feed stocks as we move throughout the summer.”

According to the Texas Water Development Board, recent rains reduced the intensity of drought in parts of the Panhandle and along the Texas Coast. But Panhandle and West Texas farmers and ranchers are still facing challenges.

“They received just a little bit of rain, but not nearly enough over the last couple of weeks,” Tomascik said. “Those folks have been in a prolonged drought scenario for months now, and we’re just waiting and hoping that something will change and weather patterns will come and help those conditions.”

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent livestock, range and pasture report, pasture conditions across the state were fair to excellent in about 58 percent of the state which brings optimism for Texas farmers and ranchers.

“It’s very good news. It’s not great conditions and it’s not ideal, but for the summer months it’s something that we’ve come to expect and we’re in good enough shape that we’re moving into the hotter, drier months in fairly decent shape for parts of Texas,” Tomascik said.

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