The drought has broken in Southwest Oklahoma - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

The drought has broken in Southwest Oklahoma

DUNCAN,Okla._After three weeks of heavy rains, the five-year drought has finally broken across Southwest Oklahoma.

The change is already having an impact on farmers and ranchers in our area. The stock tanks and ponds are full for livestock to drink after years of being nearly empty. On the negative side, though, fields of alfalfa and wheat need to be cut, but the ground is still too soggy to put the heavy equipment on it.

Lyndle Strain has owned his ranch since 1951. He says this drought is the worst he has ever been through. He along with others have been hoping that the rains would come again but the 15 inches of rain have come at a price. What is good for his cattle is hurting his wheat crop.

"It is going to be a lighter wheat than those heads standing up but we do have spots that is still standing and we will have some good wheat to go with it," said Strain.

Strain owns about 2,500 acres with about 300 acres where he grows wheat, alfalfa, and oats.

"Crop wise we made crops but they were not good but enough to stay in business you know and this year it looked like it was going to be the bumper and we have had a little bump in the road but we still have a chance to harvest some wheat. Decent wheat," said Strain.

Strain says he believes that he will yield only about half of what he expected from the flooded wheat fields. However, Strain has 48 ponds that haven't been full in about seven years.

"Lost the fish in 45 of them because it just got so dry. They all didn't go completely dry but the water got so stale that it lost fish and I had put forty years into stocking those thing and they had big fish in them," said Strain.

In the last two years, he has dug three water wells on his property that produce about 80 gallons a minute, for his cattle. When the drought started five years ago Strain sold half his herd, about 325 cattle. Now he's finally working to rebuild the herd.

Stephens County OSU Extension office director Max Gallaway has 30 years of experience in agriculture. He believes farmers and ranchers are still going to be cautious because the drought is gone but not yet forgotten.

"The past five years is not going to be easily erased from whether it be your farmer or your ranchers memory and I think that they are going to be for at least the next year or two they are going to be probably more cautious in what they do," said Gallaway.

"We had to have the water and you know we don't get everything our way. We take the good with the bad but the water was a blessing in disguise," said Strain.

Before, the drought nationally there were about 34 million heifers. During the drought that number dropped to about 28 million as ranchers cut back their herds. Farm management specialists believe that number will be able to rebound by about 2 percent a year.

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