Drought Hurting Longview Ranchers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/2/06-Longview

Drought Hurting Longview Ranchers

The continued drought and fires burning up grazing land, have put East Texas ranchers in a tough spot, not having enough hay to feed their livestock. Longview rancher Bob Griffin had to work to save his cattle from drowning in the floods of 2001. Today, Griffin works to keep them from starving. The drought has depleted much of the hay needed to feed them.

"No water for the cattle no hay, it's very dry, theres only 2 ponds on my ranch now that have water" Griffin says.

In good years he sells excess hay to neighbors, but not this year.

"I've had to cut back on the amount of hay I sell people, I limit them and some people I've had to turn down, I hate to do it but I have to feed my own cattle" he says.

Winter pastures that once would have been the source for grazing grass are, now dry and dusty. That's left some ranchers desperate. Griffin is even selling his emergency supply, some bails of dead grass that are over 5 years old.

"Its extremely expensive just to buy hay you can find, yesterday I went to one store that was out and weren't sure when it would be in, and i paid 8 dollars a bail" said Longview rancher Allyson McCranie.

Without rain more hay must be brought in from out of state at much higher prices. But Griffin says they'll make it somehow.

"I made it through the floods i can make it through this" he says.

Bulk hay, which normally sells for 25 dollars a roll, is now selling for 65 to 70 dollars a roll. Many ranchers are feeding grain to their stock, but hay is essential to help stock digest and gain weight. One positive thing, Griffin notes, the market price for cattle is very good right now.

Bob Hallmark reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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