Hutto cattle ranchers hope for more rain after rough summer of 2011


by ANDREW CHUNG / KVUE News and Photojournalist DEREK RASOR

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndrewC_KVUE

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 7:34 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 15 at 7:41 AM

HUTTO, Texas -- Any farmer will tell you that taking care of cattle is a lot of work. That work gets harder and even more expensive when there’s a drought. 

Last year Texas suffered $8 billion in crop and livestock losses due to the blistering heat of 2011. 

Scorching temperatures had quite an impact on the cows at the Hanson Farm in Hutto for example. Last year's summer took a toll on these animals and their grazing ground.

"There were just cracks everywhere, and nothing to see altogether because it was cracks," says Ron Hanson, who owns the farm with his wife Laura.

He says the drought made taking care of the cows extremely difficult last year. 

It got so bad, the couple ended up selling 30 cows, 10 calves, and one bull last summer because they couldn't take care of them. Before the sale, they had 60 cattle.

"You just can't put a price on aggravation. You know we got our own water but yet, getting it to the cattle - there's a problem," Ron said.

Laura says the cows last summer would do one of two things: stay in the shade, or constantly be looking for water. 

"Very disheartening last year when you don't have the rain, you don't have water, it's hard to see the cows come to the water trough and you've got the water hose," she said.

Taking care of a 175-acre farm with 25 cows is stressful enough for Ron and Laura on top of the drought.

"You saw the cows panting. They were so hot, the temperature was just horrendous. And the hotter it was, the drier it seemed to get, and the drought is just choking. It'll choke you," said Laura.

Fast forward to this year. The rains have been a blessing, making the couple's grass green again.

"This year, as you can see, we have the green grass - we are just so blessed and so thankful for the rain and it's helping our trees - we lost quite a few trees," said Laura.

So far the Hansons say they haven't had to sell any cows this year. The rain has helped, but they're waiting to see more, much more.