Field surveys from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service as of August 1st put livestock losses for the year at
$2.1 billion, with crop losses making up the remainder.
Extension Service economist David Anderson expects further losses this year, as farmers harvest their crops. And, he says, the damage won’t stop there.
“We’re getting very close to when farmers will be planting wheat. Wheat’s commonly planted in the fall, and it grows throughout the winter, and it’s harvested the next year. And if the drought goes on, there’s not going to be any soil moisture to establish that wheat crop for next year.”
Anderson says calves commonly graze on winter wheat crops. The shortage of wheat will likely push up beef prices. That’s on top of upward pressure from the decimation of herds by drought this year.
Since 1998, drought has cost Texas agriculture $13.1 billion.