Rainfall brings relief to ranchers during drought like conditions

CARTER COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - "Pond water was starting to become an issue here which is where most cattle in this country drink," Kent Donica said. "But I mean a slow rain like this it all soaks in and all goes to work."

Kent Donica works as a Stocker Operator - buying calves to feed so that they gain weight and can be sold again.

"(I) make sure they're healthy, make sure they got plenty of hay, feed and water," Donica said.

Donica says summer is usually when he sells the most cattle.

This year the record high temperatures dried out the land and killed most of the grass for the cattle to eat.

Donica says he's come out of pocket $4,000 on lost grazing and purchasing hay for his 300 cattle.

"Everybody has to put out hay in the winter when the grass is dead and we all figure on that and we all make allowances for it," Donica said. "But when you start thinking in the middle of July, I got this pasture I sprayed and fertilized and now I'm going to have to put out hay on top of it, kind of puts you in a bad mood."

Donica says this has been one of the hardest summers on him and the cattle in about four years.

Not only are cattle susceptible to heat stress, Donica says grass is more nutritious for them to eat and helps with weight gain more than hay.

"The more efficiently and the more I can use my land to grow my feed, the better I am the better my cattle are and the more money I'll make," Donica said.

But inches of rainfall in the county has added relief to ranchers like Donica.

The rainfall is filling up ponds for the cattle to drink from and helping the grass grow.

"As that old man told me thirty years ago anytime you get rain in August it's a gift from God and you should tell him that," Donica said.

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