Starting the year with a surge of rainfall has local cattle ranchers' hopeful for greener pastures

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For the first time since the drought hit six years ago cattle rancher Roger Tweedy is optimistic about the future. (KFSN)

For the first time since the drought hit six years ago cattle rancher Roger Tweedy is optimistic about the future.

"It's tough to be in business without the rain."

But following a wet start to the season Tweedy is happy and so are his cows. He owns about 100 Black Angus-- the type used for beef production-- on his thousand acre ranch in Fresno County.

"These cows are all eating grass now, so I'm saving everyday while they're eating grass by not feeding them."

Tweedy admits the drought just about crippled his business He was forced to sell off a couple dozen calves and unload some of his stock sooner at lower prices because the cost of feed had sky rocketed.

Without grass to graze on during consecutive dry seasons Tweedy had to dip into his own pocket to buy more hay to keep his cattle fed.

"I spend $20,000 to $25,000 a year on hay. Depends on hay prices and this year I'll spend just over half that."

That's no bull-- huge savings when you are dealing with 600 pound cows.

Thanks to recent wet weather cows are eating more grass and a lot less hay this winter.

During the really dry years Tweedy said he was going through 1,500 pounds of hay a day to feed his stock. These days he only needs to feed them a couple of times a week.

"If this grass keeps ahead of these cows I'll have grass leftover at the end of winter to last me through the summer part."

The winter rainfall is already having a positive effect on Tweedy's well and waterways. If forecasts are correct a good downpour this weekend should carry him through the hot months.

"If that pond is running full that will supply water for my cows all summer long."

And keep one rancher happy and on target to turn a profit in 2017.

Related Topics:
weatherrainagriculturefresno county
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