Stressed Cattle Stresses Ranchers

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Last year and so far this year the weather has presented many challenges to area ranchers. We had a cool, wet spring, so summer grasses were slow to start growing. Then when it warmed up it got hot and stopped raining. When it began raining in September, the grass began to grow but it didn’t stop raining. There were outbreaks of army worms that couldn’t be sprayed because of the rain. The fall forage that the worms didn’t get was so water logged its nutrients were diluted. This made for a stressful situation for cattle and ranchers alike. Larry Herd is a rancher in Brazos County.

“It’s just made it to where it’s been a very stressful event this fall, this winter on the animals and when you as a rancher go out there and see that your animals are stressed it puts a lot of stress on you because they’re your livelihood but at the same time you want to take care of the animals because if you don’t take of the animals they’re not going to take care of you. Animals that are well taken care of are going to perform. They’re going to do good. There’s nothing better than driving out to the pasture, seeing everything good, grass is green, new calf getting up, and you can go on.”

Herd says the last eight months have been anything but that.

“This year it’s been cow’s calving, she’s having problems. She’s stuck in the mud. I can’t get to her. I can’t get a truck to her. I can’t get feed to them. I can’t put out hay. I can’t feed cubes because they’ve got to have floats on them to even be able to be fed. So it’s been very stressful. Really to me it’s been a combination of things. Because normally if you have one thing you can deal with it. But when you’ve got four or five things on your plate it makes it hard and sometimes you question the business you’re in.”

Having said all of that, Herd loves what he does.

“There’s times I’ve always wanted an inside job when it’s nasty and wet outside but at the same time when it’s April and it’s seventy-five and I can get in my truck and just drive around and look at cattle and I don’t have to do anything and I’m thinking all the people that are stuck in their inside jobs, everything balances out.”