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Texas drought losses revised upward; West Texas still dry

A new report from Texas agriculture officials estimates the total value of crop and livestock losses in 2011 due to the state’s historic drought at more than seven-point-six billion dollars.

That’s nearly two-and-one-half billion higher than an estimate released last August.

David Anderson with Texas A & M Extension says livestock producers took the biggest share of the direct losses—over three billion dollars.

“The drought forced the largest one-year beef cow liquidation in the state’s history,” Anderson says. “We declined in cattle inventory by 660-thousand beef cows.”

And while parts of central, eastern and northern Texas have been receiving rain, west Texas and south Texas continue dry. 

Brad Rippey is a meteorologist with the USDA.  “We’ve seen impacts on winter wheat, with more than a third of the crop still rated in very poor to poor condition—and more than 40 percent of the state’s range and pastures still rated very poor to poor,” Rippey says, “and so that is reflective of the problems continuing in the western part of the state.”

The west Texas drought actually began in the fall of 2010.

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