Jose Pena, professor and Texas Extension economist at Uvalde, says the 17 months spanning April 2005-August 2006 were the driest on record for southwest Texas.
Only about 14 in. of rainfall were received, while the average for the same period is 39.9 in., according to Pena.
The current drought doesn't measure up to the legendary dry spell of the 1950s for duration and long-term effect. “A quick comparison indicates the drought of the '50s extended for several years,” Pena says. Weather forecasters define a drought as a period receiving 75% or less of the long-term annual rainfall.
“In addition to reducing stocking rates, we'll need above-average rainfall for several years to recover from the current drought,” Pena says. “Even then it may be difficult. Rain forecasts appear pessimistic for the short term.”
— Farm Press