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Texas Drought Loss Is Record $5.2 Billion, University Says

Agricultural losses from a drought in Texas have reached a record $5.2 billion and may worsen without more rain, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, a unit of Texas A&M University, said today in a report on its website.

The losses, which represent about 28 percent of the state’s average annual agricultural output in the past four years, exceed the previous record of $4.1 billion set during a drought in 2006, AgriLife said. October to July was the driest 10-month period on record. The estimated cost of the drought does not include the impact on vegetable production and nursery crops.

“This drought is ongoing,” David Anderson, an AgriLife livestock economist, said in the report. “Further losses will continue if rainfall does not come soon to establish this year’s winter-wheat crop and wheat grazing.”

Estimated losses in livestock production reached $2.06 billion, costs to cotton producers total $1.8 billion, and hay losses rose to $750 million. The value of lost wheat, corn and sorghum production was $633 million.

“Livestock losses include the increased cost of feeding due to lack of pastures and ranges” and selling cattle at lower weights and prices, Anderson said. “These estimates are considered conservative.”

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