While Texas and Oklahoma cattle ranchers are enjoying greener pastures following last summer’s drought, one pasture expert reminds them weather patterns and rainfall is unpredictable.
Cattle ranchers attended the “Rebuilding the Herd” program offered by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Tuesday. Speakers shared advice to improve production after the 2011 drought reduced Texas beef herds by an estimated 600,000 head.
Hugh Aljoe, consultation program manager with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation of Ardmore, Okla., advised those in attendance to customize a strategy based on fluctuating weather patterns. Aljoe said most of the state is looking good at this point in the spring. But appearances can be deceiving.
Cattlemen should keep track of rainfall on their operation to enable them to manage grazing practices and make buying and selling decisions ahead of the curve. Aljoe said to record rainfall beginning Oct. 1, a day he refers to as the first day of the “water year.”
Abilene Reporter-News reports Aljoe recommended two books about two of the worst droughts of the 20th century: "The Worst Hard Time," a nonfiction look by New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Timothy Egan back at the 1930s' Dust Bowl; and the late Elmer Kelton's "The Time it Never Rained," a fictional account of one Texas rancher's struggle to survive that dearth of rainfall in the 1950s.