Snow storms alleviate drought, but put strain on livestock
By Bailey Naugle
The Dalhart area was blanketed in snow by numerous winter storms that dropped more than thirty inches of the white stuff throughout Dallam and Hartley Counties over the past month.
For the first time since 2007, the Texas Panhandle has left behind its drought status. In fact, weather experts are reporting that only seven percent of the country – an abnormally low percentage – is still facing drought conditions.
Area farmland drank in the moisture, but as storms swept across the Panhandle one after another, conditions became increasingly treacherous for livestock.
During harsh winter weather, it is common for cattle to decline because they expel a great deal of energy trying to stay warm. When conditions are severe many of the weak, sick or injured animals often do not survive. Unfortunately, this was the case for many area producers.
This series of storms was particularly hard on area cattle because the Panhandle was bombarded by system after system with little time in between for accumulation to melt off, leaving pens and pastures caked in cold, wet snow that lasted for weeks.
A surge in temperatures over the weekend melted much of the snow cap in Dallam and Hartley Counties, but producers are now left to deal with the aftermath: mud.
Sloppy roads and alleys make feeding and pen cleaning difficult, and as cattle try to access water troughs and feed bunks, the saturated soil is degraded and these high traffic areas essentially become inaccessible mud pits.
Despite the difficulties that blew in with the snow, everyone is undoubtedly thankful for the abundant moisture and looking forward to a very green spring.