BULLARD, Texas (KETK) — East Texas ranches have had to change how they care for their cows. The grass is dead, there’s not enough hay and they have to leave cows in pastures longer than they need to be.
“This year I’m a little worried because it’s getting hotter faster and with no rain, it’s going to be tough,” said Johnny Walley, of Walley Farms.
Johnny Walley with Walley Farm in Jacksonville and Robin Hood with Hood Family Farm in Bullard say they have had to make sure to pick breeds of cows that can handle the heat.
“It depends on the breed of the cattle. There are some breeds of cattle like our mashona, brahmas and others that are specifically well adapted to high heat, high humidity environments,” said Robin Hood, of Hood Family Farms
The higher temperatures cause stress on cows.
“The cows are not putting on weight the way we would like to see them put on weight. They are not as vigorous about grazing,” said Hood.
That stress can cause the herd to reduce their eating and can stunt a calf’s growth. Hood owns a beef business and says he needs his cows to get enough nutrients.
“If the cows and sheep don’t have grass or the chickens for that matter as well, if they don’t have grass they just don’t grow as well. If we look on the other side of the human perspective, they don’t have grass it means we need to either cull the herd, reduce its size or we need to start feeding,” said Hood.
During the warmer weather cows spend their days under the trees and the shade, which is problematic because they aren’t grazing as much as they need too.
“The hotter it gets the less they want to give,” said Walley.
Even dairy farms like Walley farms in Jacksonville have had to figure out how his cows will eat.
“Every farmer is doing everything he can to take care of his livestock whether he is commercial or small,” Walley said.
All they can so is pray for rain and hope we see the temperatures drop.