Great Texas Drought of 2011 Was the Costliest Ever

Categories: The Environment

windthorst.jpg
Photo by Brandon Thibodeaux
Bonus points for whoever knows where this sign is.
It was clear when A&M's livestock economist said the drought had an agricultural toll of $5.2 billion back in August -- which didn't even really mark the nadir of the heatwave -- that we hadn't seen the worst this drought could do.

Now we know: $7.62 billion in agricultural losses ... in a single year.

"No one alive has seen single-year drought damage to this extent," says AgriLife Extension agronomist and member of the Governor's Drought Preparedness Council Dr. Travis Miller in the latest accounting."Texas farmers and ranchers are not strangers to drought, but the intensity of the drought, reflected in record high temperatures, record low precipitation, unprecedented winds coupled with duration -- all came together to devastate production agriculture."

Back in August and September, we took a tour of Texas cattle country and saw firsthand ranchers living on a knife's edge. Even their fathers had never experienced this kind of searing heat combined with record drought. Last summer was a veritable pasture-killer.

And it wasn't just cattlemen hurting. There was no hay crop to speak of. They had to send for it out of state because whole crops here failed to a tune of $750 million. In the Panhandle, for example, 55 percent of cotton-raising acreage was abandoned -- a historic high.

Sorghum, wheat, and corn growers all experienced losses of up to $1.5 billion. We've never seen 2011's like, and may we never again. But most old ranchers who've lived through a handful of dry times know better than that.


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32 comments
Sa
Sa

Wow...I hadn't thought of this before...maybe God is punishing us for the things we let the Legislature do.  And Congress.

Disconcerting thought.

Perky
Perky

That's in Windthorst Texas - I took the same photo last August!  :)

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

I'm going to try this a different way.......I really went fishin' with this one, and no one bit!

OK, (hmmmmmmmm)-clearing throat:

Dallas is the Las Vegas of the south, and if heartless yuppie turds didn't need to water 7 hours a day, we'd have PLENTY of water.  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I love drought stories while we are in the midst of record rainfalls

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

If the yuppies in this area didn't have nonnative grasses, we'd be fine...... a novel concept-natural, regional plants?!   Nothing like seeing someone in a Mcmansion watering 8 times a day (pre restrictions).

Mervis
Mervis

Doesn't the Rainy Day Fund have about 7 billion?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Pray for rain ?

I think G*D had already decided you don't need any or you would have some  .

Fletch
Fletch

That sign is in Windthorst, TX.  I have family from there.

dw2650
dw2650

There is no time like the present to re-introduce Americas #1 rotation crop. Industrial Hemp was the most productive and useful crop known to man before it was caught up in a case of mistaken identity and banned by the USDA in cooperation with the D.E.A. in the latter's "War on Drugs" effort. Today we see of Industrial Hemp imports soaring in both raw and various end product forms and meanwhile our Farmers are dependent on only a few commodity(and some gov't subsidized) crops. Educated yourself and the D.E.A.... We need Industrial Hemp re-introduced now.

Mervis
Mervis

Disconcerting to who? Not to those of us that believe in facts and things like that.

Mervis
Mervis

Wichita Falls what?

Mervis
Mervis

Way to read the other comments Perky!!!!

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Right?  Grover is talking despair, and my back yard looks like an estuary. Just to spite Cleburne, I "burnt" a whole bunch of leaves-and LAUGHED!  

Whovian
Whovian

 I have St.Augustine yet I haven't had to water my yard since October. The trick is training your grass by developing a strong/deep root system. In the hottest part of the summer I might water once every 5 days. Did I mention that I live in an older home without an automatic sprinkler system? I also collect rain water in 55 gallon drums which are connected to my gutters. Thank God I live in an area without an HOA because I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be allowed even though my barrels are hidden very well.

Paul
Paul

 That is a pretty cold one there fella ... I wouldn't wish a drought on my worst enemy.

Bmlshield
Bmlshield

You nailed it. Right by the Catholic church.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Wow, now that is productive and thrifty.......I salute you.  Same with me, I watered my St. A about 1.2 times a week last summer.  Haven't watered since November, and you know what, all is well!  

Note to yuppies:  The yard is not supposed to be green ALL winter; imagine if you stayed awake all winter.  Jes sayin. 

Mervis
Mervis

Doesn't St. Augustine go dormant whether you water or not. Mine does. I haven't watered since last Oct either, it is starting to green up now. Not sure what the trick is????? 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 So G*d is waiting for for enough suffering people to friend him on prayer book isn't cold on in its own ?If a being knows when a Sparrow falls or the number of hairs on someones head certainly they would be able to see no rain in the forcast hits a critical point ?

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Platuro is great in summer....bears, beers, 14'ers, wilderness, etc; and nobody dressed like a fruit!

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

SG, you take a hard left to get to Cuchara, Durango...then, either northern climes, or Santa Fe, Red River, Questa, etc.  Love it.  I don't go above Canon City, too many +ssholes. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Kergs, the only reason Trinidad would be your destination is if you're seeking a sex-change. Otherwise it's just the Colorado sister city to Wichita Falls: an outpost for gas, fast food, and the biggest Walmart for 100 miles, otherwise best exited as soon as you arrive. Personally, I like Childress alot more, and it's way smaller than WF. If Pueblo is the armpit of Colorado (which it is), Trinidad is the anus.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Is the shortcut to Trinidad Colorado.  I don't know if it sucks, but I did manage to get "runned over" by a tornado in said locale 5 years ago, and man, THAT SUCKED.  I wept gently by the coffee machine when we found refuge in a convenience store. That is my enduring memory of WF, so, I guess it does suck.  That , and passing through 400 times on the way to the Greater Southwest.

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

Also helps not to rake up leaves in the fall -- or perhaps I'm being lazy.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

It takes it a little bit to get started, it's like a cantankerous old man. I hate seeing my neighbors water all winter, it's so impractical-and they are watering plants made for temperate, or tropical zones....dumb. AND, it looks weird.

Paul
Paul

I guess it depends on whether you believe in predestination or free will.

Isn't that a little arrogant of you to assume that you speak for the Creator?

Are you saying that God is punishing the good people of Windthorst for some sort of transgression?

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