Ranchers Hope for Relief from Drought in 2013

The recent snow and rain may have seemed like the answer to the drought problem, but ranchers and farmers say neither were enough to help.

The United States Department of Agriculture is calling this drought the most severe and extensive drought in nearly 25 years, and that has many ranchers hoping the new year will bring some relief.

The small puddles left by recent rains aren't enough to keep cattle off the feed lot.

"For the two years we have been in this drought we are about 24-25 inches behind in rainfall at the lakes," said Daniel Nix, Wichita Falls operations manager.

Around this time of year they should be here, grazing in wheat fields.

But the drought has made conditions impossible for the wheat to thrive.

"The wheat here has not had a sufficient amount of rain to make a good root system. and we are going to need a rain that can pack this down and develop a better root system then this. If not the cattle are going to pull it up and the wheat will be gone," said Warren Reid, a rancher.

He says that's only one of the many problems.

Ranchers are now having to provide hay for the cattle, costing 75 dollars per bale.

That's why Reid has decided to cut his work load in half.

"I usually run around three thousand cattle, and this year i probably have 17 hundred," he said.

So as the new year approaches Reid hopes 2013 brings one thing.

"We need a good 3-5 inches of rain in a period of days that will pack this wheat in and give us some sub moisture," he said.

Which will get his cattle out of the pen and into the open fields.

City officials said this weeks lake levels haven't dropped since last week, and they're hopeful that's a sign of what 2013 will bring.

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