Area farmers speak out on drought outlook

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GRAYSON CO, TX-Last summer's drought caused billions of dollars in agricultural losses in Texas and Oklahoma affecting farmers and ranchers all across our area.
According to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, last year's drought led to $7.6 billion in agricultural losses, which is the highest on record. I spoke with a farmer who says without rain, his crops could be in trouble once again.
Farmer and rancher, Ben Wible, said he can still feel the effects of last year's drought.

"We're still suffering from some of that drought, a lot of our trees are having a problem with there is little sub soil moisture. It's just never totally recharged," he said.

So does corn farmer, Bruce Wetzel.

"Last year was really hot and dry. Our corn crop in the past two to three years, it's been really hot and dry and the corn crop hasn't been good," he said.

But Wetzel said this year his crop seems promising because of the mild winter and some rain. He even expects to start harvesting corn a few weeks earlier.

"We just had a better growing season, a little bit lower temperatures and a little better rainfall in a critical time that the corn needed it," he said.

But Wible said there's no way to tell whether or not this year will be as bad for him.

"There's probably no comparison so far because last year was just a total disaster on a lot of stuff, especially on the corn crops, your pasture, your hay and a lot of people had to sell most or all of their cattle," he said.

He owns over 200 head of cattle and he's concerned that with the heat drying up his pastures, he'll have to bring out the hay for his cattle a month early.

"Our pastures where we have our cattle on them. They're starting to look like what they should look like in late August and we're in early July. So that's a concern now if we don't get any rain soon," he said.

Wible said if this year should be as bad as last year's drought, he's prepared.

"I baled 650 rolls of wheat and oat hay before summer actually got to us so I got plenty of hay going into the summer and I got milo stalks I will bale," he said.

But Wetzel said it all depends on the weather.

"We're just praying for rain, it's all we can do at this point," he said.

"Us farmers always want to see it rain in July," Wible said.

Wible said wildfires also concern area farmers in the summer because of the hot, dry weather.

AG-extension agents said if any farmers or ranchers who don't have cattle to graze on tall grass should mow pastures regularly.

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