Texas drought worsens, cattle dying
Conditions have worsened; 71 percent of state in some stage of drought
The Associated Press,
Drought conditions worsened significantly in the past week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday. Seventy-one percent of the state is now in some stage of drought, up from 58.3 percent last week.
A week ago the two worst drought designations -- extreme and exceptional -- covered 9.1 percent of the state. This week the two categories cover 15.1 percent of the state, with a circle near
It all results in death for dozens of cows in
'The grass is dead'
"The problem is they're not getting enough energy because the grass is dead,"
Once a cow falls, bloodflow to muscles is diminished and chances of survival go down with time.
"It's hard to bring back a cow after it's been down for a couple of days,"
Even when given supplemental feed, some animals are left weak.
Lack of rainfall this past fall and into 2009 has left pastures barren.
Rachel Bauer, Texas AgriLife Extension agent for
"There is no outlook for any rainfall coming," she said.
The cause is a La Nina weather pattern settling over the central
Stuck in the mud
Some cattle have gotten hurt trying to get water from drying stock ponds.
They seek out the ponds despite water troughs being set out, said Troy Tiner, who ranches in counties that include
"We keep them fed, but the killer is when they get stuck in mud holes," he said. "That's the biggest problem of everything."
Cattle producers are culling their animals and pulling cattle off pastures and arranging for supplement feed. Those planting crops this time of year are waiting for moisture.
The state has been drying out for several months. In late October, 71 percent of the state had no drought designation.
The parched land will respond if Mother Nature comes through.
"It's just amazing what a little rain will do," Tiner said. "Just a little bit of rain."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.