TEXAS, USA — The heat and drought add up to make it a tough year for ranchers. The past three months have been the hottest on record in San Antonio.
The lack of rain is not just impacting land, but the cattle and ranchers that depend on it.
Vicki Brehm owns and operates her family’s cattle ranch off of Probandt Avenue. She’s been in the business for 28 years. Brehm makes all the decisions, but no rain has made her change course.
“This year we have no grazing. So everything they’re eating, we are feeding. On this property we’re putting out eight bales of hay a week,” Brehm said she feels lucky after she stocked up on hay last year.
The drought has led to increased hay prices, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Lead ranchers like Brehm are already facing other costs.
“You can imagine what the water bill is on a monthly basis trying to keep 40 head plus calves in plenty of water, so it’s been a rough go,” Brehm said.
It’s been so hot that the cows will spend most of their time cooling off in the shade.
Brehm is hopeful they can get some rain soon, but estimates even a 10” rainstorm would only improve conditions for a few weeks.
“I just keep thinking we’re a day closer to getting that rainstorm,” she says.
“I love the cattle, and to see them suffer, it’s something that I just can’t deal with. Like I said, I’m just lucky enough to keep them in decent condition to where they’re okay,” Brehm said.