Little Rain Fall Damaging To East Texas Crops - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/8/05-East Texas

Little Rain Fall Damaging To East Texas Crops

Friday's rain brought some much needed wetness to our area. But East Texas is in a drought and the rain drops have been few and far between this summer.
That has a direct effect on local crops, especially hay production.
"This is looking real bad this year," said hay producer Marion Aldredge.
It's not just the summer heat that's causing hay producers to sweat. It's also worries over the dry soil.
"The cutting season is definitely going to end early if we don't get some rain," Marion said. Like many hay producers, he said the dry summer is drying up the money flow.
"We just don't get the volume out of it and of course it's making the price of hay go up, I won't say twice as high as last year, but it's going to be a lot higher."
So just how far behind are we on the rain? Since March Tyler has had just over six inches, Longview has had just over eight. For both cities, that's nine inches lower than the norm, meaning they've only received 40 and 48 percent of the usual rainfall.
Hay producers normally get three or four rolls an acre, but now they are getting only one per acre. The drought is not just affecting hay cutters and sellers, but buyers.
Like any cattle owners, the folks at Tri-County Livestock must feed their dozens of heads of cattle.
"The market is still good, the calves are still selling high, cows are still selling high," said co-owner Wesley Davis.
But there is a growing concern that higher hay costs will mean more owners can't feed their livestock, and some producers are starting to cull herds earlier.
"If everybody starts unloading cows," Wesley said, "like supply and demand you over fill the market, cows get a little cheaper."
The outlook this Summer, doesn't look too good for rain and sellers and buyers will be eyeing the markets and the sky.
"Hope for rain," said Marion Aldredge, "that would be a life saver for all of us."

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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