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Drought Complicates Watering Cattle This Winter

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CANADIAN, TX - Cattle rest at a watering hole in a pasture July 28, 2011 near Canadian, Texas. A severe drought has caused shortages of grass, hay and water, in much of the state, forcing ranchers to thin their herds or risk losing their cattle to the drought. The past nine months have been the driest in Texas since record keeping began in 1895, with 75% of the state classified as exceptional drought, the worst level. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CANADIAN, TX – Cattle rest at a watering hole in a pasture July 28, 2011 near Canadian, Texas. A severe drought has caused shortages of grass, hay and water, in much of the state, forcing ranchers to thin their herds or risk losing their cattle to the drought. The past nine months have been the driest in Texas since record keeping began in 1895, with 75% of the state classified as exceptional drought, the worst level. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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MT. VERNON, Mo. (AP) - Ranchers could find watering cattle more difficult this winter because drought conditions have left many ponds with little water in them.

The University of Missouri Extension says that as shallow ponds freeze, that creates challenges. Extension livestock specialist Eldon Cole says some farmers already are hauling water.

He says water requirements vary depending on the cattle’s size, what they’re eating, the weather conditions and whether they are pregnant or producing milk.

Frozen water is less of a concern now than in years past because more ranchers are using automatic waters. But for ranchers who still rely on ponds, Cole says it’s crucial to make sure cattle have daily access to water after a cold snap.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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