Texas farmers face $3.6 billion in drought losses

Texas agriculture is facing $3.6 billion in weather-related losses as a broiling summer sun continues to devastate crops and pastures, Texas AgriLife Extension Service experts said Monday.

Some parts of the state have been hit by "extreme or exceptional" drought conditions for two consecutive years, they said. Total crop losses this year amount to an estimated $2.6 billion, an extension report said. Since November, $974 million in livestock has been lost.

"A large part of the planted cotton and grain acreage will be abandoned, and the rest of dryland production will produce below-average yields," said Dr. Mark Welch, a grains marketing economist. "Many of the [nonirrigated] cotton, grain sorghum and corn crops in the Coastal Bend and Lower Rio Grande Valley have been abandoned."

North Texas producers have been hurt by abnormally high temperatures, but the worst has been felt in Central and Southeast Texas, which has experienced the hottest, driest summer on record, they said.

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