Rain greens up cattle grazing land

They might be fleeting, those fresh green grasses up in the hills, but boy do they look nice. The abundant rain in December brought new growth to rangeland that has suffered badly in three years of drought. Beef cattle, a major industry in and near Stanislaus County, once again have something to eat up there. “This December has been great for growing grass, lots of moisture and warm temperatures,” said an email from Theresa Becchetti, a livestock and natural resources adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “I’m not counting any chickens before they hatch, though.” The rain also has benefited dairy farmers, who grow some of their feed crops over winter but do not have access to canal water this time of year. The rangeland has no irrigation all year, so ranchers rely on rain to grow grass from fall to spring. After that, the cattle go to irrigated pasture elsewhere, to grazing allotments in the Sierra Nevada or to market. <more>

Jan. 3, 2015 Modesto Bee