A Strange Maui Drought
Emergency Cattle Feeding

A Strange Maui Drought

It's been a strange, dry winter on Maui, and the island is being forced into an emergency cattle feeding program because of it.

The County's Civil Defense Agency is coordinating efforts to locate and supply emergency feed to cattle unable to subsist on drought-stricken pasture lands.

The winter drought follows a fall drought which followed a summer drought: It's been eight months or more since some Maui ranches have received any decent rainfall.

At a meeting last week in Kula with area ranchers, Maui Mayor Elmer Cravalho said, "Following development of statistics to document proper justification, I am prepaired to declare an emergency at the County level and will seek support from State and Federal agencies as necessary."

Rainfall statistics tell some of the problem. The December average in Kula Heights is 4.10 inches of rain. For December 1971, the actual total was .22 inches.

The December average at Kula Sanatorium is 3.94. Actual for 1971: .13.

In West Maui, one resident told ranchers, "conditions are the worst I have experienced in 22 years."

He said one gulch that normally can provide grazing for 60 animals can now accommodate only two. Dr. James Koshi of the animal science department at the University of Hawaii said a number of local products might be used for emergency feeding.

These include pineapple plants, sugar cane tops, cane trash and bagasse (cane refuse after milling). These feeds, however, must be given along with high protein supplements.

Koshi said it is "of critical importance to gradually convert cattle from their normal eating habits to emergency feed. If not properly controlled the animals may get sick or even die."

A committee of small ranchers was named to work with government in the emergency program. Small ranchers are least able to afford the effects of a prolonged drought, according to one official.

Named to the committed were James DeRego, Arthur Amoral, Tamao Otani, Edward Ceballos, Moses Medeiros, Buddy Nobriga, Joe Castro, Joe Texeira and Howard Tavares.

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Maui Lahaina Sun

Buck Quayle at The Lahaina Sun

Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970

Buck Quayle

Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background

Buck Quayle, 2011


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