Texas agricultural producers are experiencing the costliest drought on record with total losses of $5.2 billion to date, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service economists. The historic drought surpassed the previous record of $4.1 billion in agricultural losses in 2006.
"The drought of 2011 will have a lasting impact on Texas agriculture," said Dr. Travis Miller, Texas AgriLife Extension agronomist and a member of the Governor’s Drought Preparedness Council.
Farmers have lost a significant amount of potential income on failed crops that would have sold at high commodity prices. Ranchers also have felt financial hardship as they have culled herds at historic levels and paid for expensive supplemental feed.
"Livestock losses include the increased cost of
feeding due to lack of pastures and ranges and market losses," said Dr. David Anderson, Texas AgriLife livestock economist. "Market losses include the impact of fewer pounds sold per calf and the impact of lower market prices due to the large number of cattle sold in a very short time period."
Texas AgriLife reported the following losses by commodity:
• Livestock: $2.06 billion;
•Lost hay production value: $750 million;
• Cotton: $1.8 billion;
•Corn: $327 million;
• Wheat: $243 million; and
• Sorghum: $63 million.
However, the recorded loss does not include some Texas crops, such as fruits and vegetables, horticulture and nursery and select row crops.