Slow Recovery: Drought impact lingers in Texas pastures and rangelands

As Texas cattle producers prod the possibility of expansion, USDA weather experts caution that recovery from long-term drought conditions will be a slow process.

Texas pastures and rangelands are facing a sluggish recovery after enduring years of relentless drought, with U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) data indicating that 78 percent of these areas were rated in poor to very poor conditions as of the end of August. While there have been some improvements since then, USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey highlights the gradual nature of the recovery process:

“In part, reflective of how difficult it is to revive pastures and range land during the cold season,” Rippey explains. “We have seen an improvement in moisture in much of Texas, but some of that benefit is not realized until the warm season and we get more robust grass growth.”

The prospect of improved pasture conditions offers a glimmer of hope for cattle producers, potentially providing them with the opportunity to expand their herds. As pastures recover and forage availability increases, producers may have more resources to support larger cattle numbers, bolstering their operations and contributing to the overall resilience of the Texas livestock industry.

While Texas pastures and rangelands continue to face challenges in their recovery from prolonged drought, there is optimism for gradual improvement in the months ahead. As weather patterns shift and warmer temperatures facilitate grass growth, the resilience of Texas agriculture shines through, offering hope for both producers and the broader agricultural community.

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