Texas' drought boosts GA farmers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Texas' drought boosts GA farmers

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A record drought in Texas is giving south Georgia farmers a boost. Prices are up for crops such as cotton and peanuts because poor crops out west cut the supply.

Georgia livestock producers are also getting good deals on cattle because many Texas farmers are selling off their herds. The number of breeding cows shipped out of Texas is up 140 percent from last year.

South Georgians are all too familiar with this year's record heat and dryness, but Texas had it much worse. "Well Texas has been hit really bad. They normally might get a tropical depression or seasonal rainfall patterns but this has been really bad in Texas. I know hay prices are really high because of that," said Southwest Georgia Tech's Land, Forest, Wildlife Professor Mike Allen.

Texas is in its worst single year drought. Lakes are dried up, crops won't grow, and ranchers are finding it difficult to keep their livestock alive. "So not only are their cattle basically getting smaller and more stressed, but the prices to keep them at a healthy weight has gotten more expensive as well," said Allen.

Left with no other option, cattle farmers in Texas have been forced to sell.

Farmers say most of the livestock is being shipped to the Midwest, but some Georgia farmers are taking advantage of the low prices. "There's a cattle cycle and these things are all cyclical. Cattle prices are basically low right now because there's such a glut on the market, but what that means is that there's less stock available to produce cows in the next two to three years," said Allen.

Cows are not the only animal victims of the drought. "A lot of wildlife species are suffering as well. Particularly this time of year, late summer early fall when you've had a drought period a lot of your grasses are not as nutritious. They're less digestible," said Allen.

Farmers say not all of the unwanted cattle can be sold. In many cases cattle ranchers are forced to slaughter the calves and cows they just can not afford to feed.

According to a study by Texas A&M University, nearly 12 percent of Texas' five million head of cattle will be gone by January.


Copyright 2011 WALB. All rights reserved.

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