Local farmers and ranchers fear for their crops and cattle - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Local farmers and ranchers fear for their crops and cattle

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The severe drought across Texas has many local farmers and ranchers concerned about crops and cattle. One Lubbock farmer saw his hay crop cut in half this year because of the dry conditions and high energy costs.

"It's starting to get more on the severe side, and I'm starting to get concerned. So, if praying for rain will help let's give it a shot," said local farmer Randy McGee who sells custom hay.

McGee is usually able to produce three to four bales of hay to an acre, but says this year he was only able to get one or two. "We just didn't get any winter moisture at all, and I refuse to pump the water," he said.

With little to no rain, farmers are forced to make a choice. They either deal with the skyrocketing energy and fuel costs associated with irrigating their crops … or they just don't have one.

"Severe drought can be devastating on us. Everything to produce a crop goes up by having to pump water on it. Some people are not fortunate enough to have the ability to irrigate their crops," McGee said.

 Since last year McGee says the price of hay has sharply gone up, and he is now charging $50 more for each ton. "With fewer hay acres this year being reported I would anticipate that price going even higher."

With rising grain and hay prices along with depleting pastures ranchers are also left with few decisions.

"They run out of pastures, and you're either going to pay the high feed prices or thin out your number of cattle and hope for the drought to end," said McGee.

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