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Texas farmers and ranchers left counting the cost of hurricane Harvey

Farmers and ranchers in Texas have been left counting the costs of Hurricane Harvey, with beef cattle and cotton particularly hard hit.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Texas farmers and ranchers left counting the cost of hurricane Harvey

Farmers and ranchers in Texas have been left counting the costs of Hurricane Harvey, with beef cattle and cotton particularly hard hit.

 

The hurricane sparked cotton price rises, with 13 major cotton producing counties declared disaster areas. Beef prices were also expected to rise, with 1.2 million cattle caught in the path of the hurricane.

 

Farmers could also be hit by increased fuel prices, with Texas home to one-third of US oil refineries.

 

Cowboys


Videos of cattle caught in flood waters and being moved to safety by cowboys and police have been circulating on social media. Emergency shelters have been set up, with many people donating money, hay and feed to those affected.

 

Texas Farm Bureau president Russell Boening said: “Farm and ranch families worked around the clock to harvest crops and move livestock and equipment of their own and of their neighbours’ to escape Harvey’s reach.

 

“Some crops remain in fields though, and it is too early to estimate the amount of crops which have been lost to the storm.”

 

Cotton

 

Harvey has raised cotton prices, with the South Texas Cotton and Grain Association estimating losses at $150m (£116m). Farmers in South Texas had expected a record crop this year.

 

Rose Commodity Group scientist Louis Rose said some had estimated losses as high as 500,000 bales although he was forecasting losses of 250,000 bales. However, the US crop this year was expected to be more than 20m bales.

 

He added estimating quality losses was more difficult and would take longer.

 

“On the whole, we expect quality losses to be at least as severe as those for yield,” he said.

 

And it was not just crops in field which were affected, as cotton modules and rice storage bins were damaged, with 75 per cent of Texas rice already harvested.

 

Shipping

 

Exports have also ground to a halt, with Texas responsible for shipping 24 per cent of US wheat exports, 3 per cent of corn exports and 2 per cent of soybean exports.

 

Growers in Louisiana could also be facing losses as the remainder of the storm moves through the state. Florida and the Caribbean were also bracing to be hit by Hurricane Irma which has been described by the National Hurricane Centre as potentially catastrophic.

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