Wheat Crop Winter Grazing for Cattle

As a cold front heads to Texoma some rain chances are coming with it and right now ranchers say it is a critical time for wheat crops to get wet. 

Newschannel 6 spoke with a rancher who says he wants more rainfall to make sure there is enough wheat to feed his cattle over the winter.

Rancher Billy Easter says around this time his pastures are usually full with native grazing grasses for his cattle, but this year that is not the case. That is why it is so crucial to get a good graze from his wheat crop.

Cattle can get pretty expensive for a rancher. If their wheat crops do not grow their only other options are to buy feed. Billy Easter comments, "The wheat crop is critical, hay is expensive, forage is low, feed is high. We are just at a time where we just need a wheat crop and we need some winter grazing."

Coming off such a dry summer Easter's normally abundant  native grasses are nonexistent. He only hopes the recent rainfall continues. "We got a sense of normalcy right now. We have a pretty fall and we got moisture in the ground. Everybody is getting their wheat in and it's the middle of October and all this wheat is starting to row. All we need is a good rain and a few more showers to help us get into winter grazing."

Easter says his cattle will start grazing come December so he needs his wheat crop to grow as much as it can until then. Once winter cold temperatures hit the crop will go dormant.
Easter says, "We still realize from the meteorologist that we are in a dry weather pattern that may extend on into 2012. That's something in the back of your mind that if we put all this money in this crop it may just fall on its face."

Despite the issues, Easter is trying to stay cautiously optimistic in this drought. "We just wait for rain because that is all you can do. Hopefully it will come it always has and surely we'll break this drought some time."

Billy Easter tells Newschannel 6 It is always in the back of his mind that this Spring may be similar to last Spring and his wheat crop will not harvest.

Easter says a rancher needs to have their wheat crop planted by mid December in order to collect insurance on it if the crop fails.

Natalie Garcia, Newschannel 6