AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Kelly Giles pays close attention to weather trends.

“We run about a 3 year average calculation of rainfall,” said Giles, co-owner of Giles Angus Ranch, 1,200 cattle head operation in Canyon.

Even though he’s not a meteorologist, forecasting weather is just as important to his operation.

“As rainfall average starts to decrease month by month, we cut back ahead of time to stretch and keep our main herd together.”

Drought conditions are drying up profits for area ranchers due to early selloffs of cattle, due to high feed and maintenance prices.

But, it’s also proving extremely challenging for area farmers.

“We have seen crops burn up, we have seen farmers disaster crops,” said Jourdan bell, Regional Agronomist for Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension. “We have seen crops abandoned,” she continued.

Bell told us when it comes to crop production, it’s important to remember we’re in a global economy.

“What’s significant about our past wheat crop, the 2021 to 2022, wheat crop across the state, we were below average, and this was one of the lowest statewide wheat crops in probably the last 20 years at least. And of course, we have wheat for grain, but we also have wheat for forage. So we are really looking at significant impacts,” she said.

But, it’s not just wheat taking a heavy hit.

“Most of the corn for example that we do grow in this region is feed corn, And this is corn that’s going into our livestock industry. So when we have reduced corn production in this region, our livestock producers are more dependent on corn from other regions,” Bell explained.

She said much of the corn used by area ranchers is shipped in by rail, but the less corn we produce here, results in higher shipping costs from other regions.

With very little rainfall and groundwater, what about irrigation?

“We are seeing areas of the Panhandle where irrigation is no longer viable. Many producers no longer have the ability to irrigate, and so now they’re having to revert back to dryland production,” she warned.

Because dryland production depends on seasonal precipitation or stored water, Bell told us it’s important to be aware of how much water is stored for the next crop.

“We will not only see an impact to our current cropping season, but we’re looking at an impact moving into our winter cropping season,” she predicted.

Kelly Giles, explains it’s an impact that will be felt both now and into the future.

“Over time drought or not. We’ve got groundwater groundwater issues that we have to address and we have to do our planning,” said.

For more information on Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, click here.