Drought lifting in some parts of OK but others areas still struggle

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Updated: 4/15/2013 9:26 am Published: 4/13/2013 8:58 pm

Parts of eastern Green Country are seeing more green, Le Flore county is categorized as “out of drought” but the rest of the state is still struggling with severe and dry conditions. 

“If we don’t see more rain in the next couple weeks then I might have to liquidate more cattle this year,” said Sperry rancher Glen Shoulders. 

Shoulders and his family have 60 cattle and several goats, off Highway 75 North and Delaware.  In 2010, he had 115.  He had to liquidate 20 percent of his herd in 2011 because of the extreme drought conditions Sperry was in and then he had to liquidate 25 percent of his herd in 2012 because conditions grew worse. 

“It’s pretty tough. These are the animals we check every morning and every night before we go to bed. They eat before we do. They are our livelihood. A third of our income comes from long form dollars. When you eliminate in essence 40 percent of your livelihood it’s tough.”

Shoulders described his relief the last couple weeks because of the rain.

“It’s been amazing to see the brown to turn green but we have also had the frost last week and we know it’s supposed to frost again this coming week.” 

The frost stops the grass’s growth, which causes Shoulders to feed more hay to his cattle because there is not enough grass for them to eat. Normally, he feeds hay from November to mid-March.  But the drought has forced him to feed them hay earlier than November, in August and September and now it’s forcing him to keep feeding them hey through April. 

“The hay isn’t cheap either.  The two year old hay is about $50 a bale and the younger hale is upwards of $80.  It used to be much more affordable, around $35-$40 a bale.” 

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