Local Industry Impacted by Drought - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

4-20-2011

Local Industry Impacted by Drought

AMARILLO, TX--It has been one of the driest six months in the Texas Panhandle. A dry spell that could seriously impact one part of our local economy.

If there's no rain, there is no grass. Forage is the cheapest way to feed cattle but now ranchers are being forced to find more expensive alternatives. 

The alternatives include feeding them hay, grain or other supplements which can drive up their expenses and in turn you may feel it at the supermarket.

"Obviously we didn't have any moisture in the winter time and we've had zero moisture in the spring so we've had no new growth. We are depending on last year's old grass to carry us through" said Ty Cleavinger, Manager of the Gray Ranch.

Without rain soon, many ranchers will even be forced to get rid of some of their livestock.  Cleavinger says he not only has to buy other supplements to feed his cattle but he also has to deliver the food on his pick up truck, causing gas expenses.

He is worried that if the drought continues he may need to cut back.

"We're at about three-quarters percent now, we usually run at about 3,000 and we have 2,000 right now and if we don't get any rain in the next month we will probably have to cut back again to 1,500 so it obviously affects your income for the year" said Cleavinger.

Cleavinger adds that livestock prices are at a record high which is good news for ranchers looking to get rid of some cattle. If our region does not receive a significant amount of rain soon, rangelands won't be able to carry cattle until next fall.