We hit our first drier-than-normal month of 2013 in March, registering just half as much rain as the 7 year average predicted. However, history tells us that while we tend toward nice rains in the 4 months of February, March, April and May, one of those months is usually dry. So we do not necessarily find cause for alarm in our march back to something approaching normality (emphasis on “approaching” because we do not expect a full return to normal in one year but progress in that direction is something we can live with).
The effect of nice though not abundant rainfall has brought some joy to our lives as we travel through a green county for the first time since 2010. We have a pretty nice crop of bluebonnets to complement the green winter grasses and emerging spring grasses and flowers, all of which brings smiles and a sense of well-being - a sense that could be quickly doused if we have unusually early heat or a sudden turn of the water spigot to the off position. But we will take what we get when we get it, and as of this moment in time, it is pretty sweet.
The winds have been steadily higher and the temperatures steadily lower this year. Both factors combine to more quickly dry out the topsoil and delay the full bloom of grasses and flowers. We await warmer temperatures and higher rainfall to see a true spring flush, but if that comes, look out! We’ll have some fat and happy cattle and stockmen. It’s been too long absent, and that initial growth spurt is so important to how the coming summer heat and attendant dryness is managed that it sets the tone for the entire growing season. Give us some grass cover in the spring and we can ride that all the way to August by managing the grazing intensity and making sure that ground cover is there for those higher/drier conditions. (As I finish this in the week going into delivery weekend, we have added 1.75 inches rain and have a high likelihood of more on Wednesday. As mentioned, a full rain month in April is the key to getting us to summertime with ground cover. Think about us in your hopes and prayers...)