From the Ground Up - Rains Have Brought Back Pastures

One of the results of a historic drought like the one we experienced in 2011 is severely damaged pastures that provide the primary source of forage to feed cattle.

The amount of rain we’ve received this year, coupled with its timeliness, has enabled grass production in pastures to experience an amazing turn around. Bobby Kurten is a Brazos County beef producer.

“My biggest worry in the cow/calf business is the rainfall, getting enough rain. The story right now is how much grass we do have. We have had so far, a great summer. Spring kind of started out a little bit dry, and it looked like it might be a little bit rocky, but we’ve been getting rain.”

Kurten understands that to be successful he has to be first and foremost a grass farmer.

“More important than the amount of rain we get is when we get it. If we can get it spaced out, not get it all one night, we’re a whole lot better off, and that’s kind of the way it’s been. We ‘d get a half inch or an inch and a half, or two or three inches in some cases, and it has really, really gotten our grass up and going.”

Ranchers may be in a position to weather a short dry spell.

“Should be able to stock pile enough now, hopefully we’ll continue to get rains, but if we don’t, we should have enough grass there to get through the summer, and hopefully we get fall rains, but it has really been good.”

Kurten was amazed at how quickly pastures bounced back.

“A bunch of us were worried, me included, after the drought a couple of years ago, that the grass would take too long to come back, but I think that what we’ve seen is when conditions get right, which is the soil temperature and the amount of rainfall, the grass will come. The seed’s there. Everything’s ready, it just has to have the conditions.”