ANDREWS, Texas — West Texas Ranchers are rejoicing due to all this rain we have received so far this year.
While it is caused flooding in some areas, it has been an absolute blessing for those raising livestock.
For the Parker family, who have been ranching in West Texas for 108 years on 80,000 acres throughout the Basin, this year’s weather conditions have made their jobs a whole lot easier.
There is not as much concern about wildfires and there is also an abundance of grass for cattle to graze.
The ranchers, based out of Andrews, tell NewsWest9 the animals are healthier and happier which makes for better-tasting beef and a whole lot more profit.
“It saves us a whole lot of heartache and a whole lot of money if it rains,” Gray Parker, Parker Ranch’s rancher, said.
And man--has it rained a lot this year.
In 2020, Andrews only saw about 1.46 inches of rain between July and August. So far this year in that timeframe, there has been 8.22 inches of rain.
The extra moisture has made for ideal grass-growing conditions.
And that grass keeps the cows MOOing.
“The cows are getting all the vitamins and supplements they need naturally rather than a supplement in a cake...like we normally do,” Nikki Parker, rancher Gray’s wife said. “Last year in the drought they weren’t getting near as many vitamins as they needed, so it caused the cows to either not conceive or to miscarry.”
Nikki says the cattle’s coats are nice and shiny this year and there are no bald spots on them.
“It also cuts down on the fire causes,” Nikki said. “We’ve only had to break out the water tank one time this year and that was before all this rain.”
Parker Ranch makes most of its money from breeding cattle. When there is a long drought, Gray tells me there is about a 40-50 percent calf crop which can lead to a ranch going bankrupt.
“You know we really need our cows to have calves every year,” Gray said. “It doesn’t make sense, you’re paying leases to run your cows, you got to put diesel in your pickups and having to supplement all these feeds and minerals to keep your cows alive…yeah…you can’t do it for very long.”
More profit is one thing to celebrate, but our taste buds get a benefit from the rain, too.
“You have to have rain and you have to have grass to get organic grass-fed beef and I think that’s the best beef there is.,” Gray said.
Now there is a downside to all this rain: more bugs.
The cattle are sprayed for bugs, so it is not a huge issue for the animals. As for the ranchers? Yeah, they are getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and such.
According to Nikki and Gray, it is worth it if it means there is more moisture.
For information on the Parker Ranch and details on where to purchase beef products from them, click here.