Finally, South Texas cattle ranchers see opportunities to start rebuilding herds they were forced to sell off or reduce during the extended drought.
Recent rainfall and resulting improved pasture offer rebuilding possibilities, says Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
Proof of renewed activity could come when ranchers start submitting their livestock in the annual Bull Gains Test, Heifer Development and Pen of Steers Program later this month.
The program is designed to feed cattle at a feedlot while documenting their weight gain and other important traits, according to Ronnie Zamora, a Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program agent in Willacy County.
“When we started this program 16 years ago, we had 80 to 90 bulls in the program,” Zamora said. “But lately, we’ve only been getting 40 to 50 bulls. The drought really decreased our numbers. But with good rains and greener pastures, we could see an increase this year.”
The first date to submit bulls and heifers in breeding programs was Oct. 23. The first date to accept “pen of steers,” or livestock destined for the beef market, is Nov. 14.
The AgriLife Extension livestock program, in association with Prairie View A&M and other organizations, is designed to improve livestock for both breeding performance and beef quality, Zamora said. Read more about the livestock testing programs.