2013-04-05. A Stubborn Drought Tests Texas Ranchers

posted Apr 7, 2013, 12:03 PM by Alan Gould
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/business/a-long-drought-tests-texas-cattle-ranchers-patience-and-creativity.html. Stefanie Strom, New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. See also video at http://www.nytimes.com/video/2013/04/05/business/100000002112739/drought-on-the-range.html - Excerpt: ...The persistence of the drought here has forced ranchers to use all the creative techniques they can muster to survive. For some, it has meant knowing as much about land management and grass as they know about the bloodlines of their herds. ...For others, it is knowing the right moment to sell calves or to gamble on something called “rain insurance.” The cattle herd nationwide is at its lowest level in 60 years, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Texas, the nation’s largest cattle-producing state. The Texas inventory of cattle and calves was 11.3 million on Jan. 1, a decline of 5 percent from a year earlier and the lowest level since 1967, according to the Agriculture Department. The state’s beef cattle inventory fell even more, to 4.02 million head, down 12 percent from 2012, when similarly precipitous declines occurred. The sharp contraction, brought on by two years of drought in Texas followed by a year of drought across the Great Plains that drove feed prices sky high, has left some wondering if the state will ever again have herds as large as it once boasted....