Drought in Texomaland: How High Can Beef Prices Rise? How Low Can Lake Texoma Get?




Here we are in a drought and heading from high inflation to recession. Texoma counties are experiencing a D1 level drought. This  is a moderate drought condition, but consequential enough to damage crops, reduce hay production, and affect cattle ranchers and farmers.

We are more fortunate in Texomaland because 75.7% of Texas is experiencing D2, D3, and D4 drought conditions. Texomaland entered D1 on Thursday, July 14, 2022.

D0 - Abnormally Dry

  • Producers begin supplemental feeding for livestock
  • Planting is postponed; forage germination is stunted; hay cutting is reduced
  • Grass fires increase

D1 - Moderate Drought

  • Dryland crops are stunted
  • Early cattle sales begin
  • Wildfire frequency increases

D2 - Severe Drought

  • Pasture conditions are very poor
  • Soil is hard, hindering planting; crop yields decrease
  • Wildfire danger is severe; burn bans are implemented

D3 - Extreme Drought

  • Soil has large cracks; soil moisture is very low; dust, and sand storms occur
  • Row and forage crops fail to germinate; decreased yields for irrigated crops and very large yield reduction for dryland crops are reported
  • Need for supplemental feed, nutrients, protein, and water for livestock increases; herds are sold

D4 - Exceptional Drought

  • Exceptional and widespread crop loss is reported; rangeland is dead; producers are not planting fields
  • Seafood, forestry, tourism, and agriculture sectors report significant financial loss
  • Extreme sensitivity to fire danger; firework restrictions are implemented

This Texas drought map website is updated every Thursday:

https://www.drought.gov/states/texas

Farmers and ranchers in a drought undergo serious changes. Cattle ranchers are going to have to sell their cattle by the end of July in Texomaland if conditions don’t change or get worse. Ranchers say that this is one of the hottest three summers in the last 40 years, and it could top out at the worst. 

Ranchers have to keep their cattle healthy, their grass mowed, and face hay shortages. Grayson County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent Chad Cummings reports that there is less water for forages and crops, many summer crops are grain and beans for livestock feed, and the impact will result in higher prices for consumers. 

Texoma farmers grow a lot of beans, cotton, peanuts, and wheat, among other crops. In June 2019, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1325, which allowed farmers to legally grow industrial hemp, which is a drought-hardy crop. Texas had to work with the USDA after the bill passed to iron out the details, and Texas farmers began growing hemp in 2021.

Lake Texoma and the Drought

As of July 14, 2022, Lake Texoma was 100% full. But Wichita Falls is preparing to execute drought plans for conserving water because Lake Arrowhead at 80% full and Lake Kickapoo at 70% full, and their water levels are falling. So for now, Texoma is looking good, and we probably will not see a repeat of the drought in 2014. 

But, Lake Texoma is connected by pipes to other lakes south of us, and if their water levels fall, Lake Texoma reserves may be tapped. Texas has a statewide drought planning and response plan. The drought of the 1950s remains the most significant statewide drought observed in Texas’ history.

These are the major river basins considered in the Texas statewide drought plans:

  • Canadian River Basin (Region A) 
  • Colorado River Basin (Regions F and K) 
  • Nueces River Basin (Regions L and N) 
  • Red River Basin (Regions A and B) 
  • Sulphur River Basin (Region C) 
  • Upper portions of the Brazos River Basin (Region G)

 

Planning and preparation plans are multi-faceted and occur at the local level through drought contingency plans required of utilities of a certain size, the regional level through regional water plans, and the state level through the state water plan and the state emergency management plan, which includes the state drought preparedness plan. 

It is not just Texas and Oklahoma, right now there is a Southern Plain States Drought Update published by the U.S. Drought Monitor.  This update includes Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Go here to look at the Southern Plains region drought map:

 https://www.drought.gov/drought-status-updates/southern-plains-drought-status-update-5-23-22

Outdoor Burning: What to Know Before You Light the Match

  • When can you burn outdoors?
    Check with your city and county about burn bans and local rules for outdoor fires. The Texas A&M Forest Service’s map lists county burn bans.
    Statewide, Texas limits outdoor burning to:
    • Campfires, bonfires, fire pits, and cooking fires.
    • Household trash fires on your home property and only if you don’t have trash pickup.
  • Keep your fire from spreading
    • If your city and county allow outdoor burns, put trash, grass, leaves, and branch trimmings in a burn barrel or container. Top it with a screen or metal grid.
    • Don’t burn on dry, windy days.
    • Stay by your fire until it’s out.
    • Keep water, shovel, and a rake handy in case the fire starts to spread. 
  • Don’t burn these items
    • Aerosol cans or anything that could explode.
    • Electrical insulation.
    • Building / construction materials including treated lumber.
    • Plastics and asphalt-based materials.

If you see a dangerous fire, call local law enforcement. You may also call the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Environmental Complaint Hotline at 888-777-3186.

Burn bans in Texas are enacted at the local level. This interactive map displays counties currently under a burn ban as reported to [email protected] .Click on a county to view details. 

Oklahoma Burn Ban Laws

In 2008, county commissioners and local fire chiefs were granted the authority by state law to declare a county burn ban. The law reads as follows: “It is unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, range, crop or other wildlands, or to build a campfire or bonfire, or to burn trash or other material that may cause a forest, grass, range, crop or other wildlands fire in any county of this state in which the board of county commissioners of the county has passed a resolution declaring a period of extreme fire danger.” As used in this subsection, “extreme fire danger” means:

  1. moderate, severe or extreme drought conditions exist as determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) pursuant to its criteria, and
  2. no more than one-half (1/2) inch of precipitation is forecast for the next three (3) days, and
  3. fire occurrence is significantly greater than normal for the season and/or initial attack on a significant number of wildland fires has been unsuccessful due to extreme fire behavior, and
  4. more than twenty percent (20 percent) of the wildfires in the county have been caused by escaped debris or controlled burning.

A majority of the board of county commissioners may call an emergency meeting at any time to pass or revoke a resolution declaring a period of extreme fire danger in accordance with this section.

https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/Burnbans/

For Oklahoma county burn bans, go here:

https://ag.ok.gov/divisions/forestry-services/

For now, it looks like Texoma farmers and ranchers are going to suffer, and consumers will pay the prices for the products at the grocery store. Burn bans are in place in many Texas and Oklahoma counties this summer. And on Lake Texoma, boaters and anglers are in good shape.




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Lake Texoma Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.

 

Lake Texoma Weather Forecast

Wednesday

Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 90

Wednesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 76

Thursday

Mostly Sunny

Hi: 89

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 76

Friday

Mostly Sunny

Hi: 88

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 75

Saturday

Mostly Sunny

Hi: 89

Saturday Night

Clear

Lo: 76


Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)


Water Level on 8/10: 615.72 (-1.28)



Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Aug. 3)

EXCELLENT. Water stained; 88 degrees; 0.70 feet below. Striped bass are good with topwaters early in the morning, switching to slabs after the topwater bite tapers off. Large schools are in open water. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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