Pat shields is manager of Brazos Valley livestock commission and says the numbers of cattle being sold began to rise above normal levels in may. Calves were also being sold at lighter weights.
“July was up just a little but when we got into August, we really saw an increase. We ran about 50% more cattle than usual in August, and by the end of august, we were about 17% to 18% above annual numbers at that time with a big piece of them coming in August.”
The lack of moisture has produced multiple problems for ranchers. Randy Britten is a local hay producer.
“Our demand, locally, state, is unbelievable. We’re getting calls from all over the state.”
“These producers are not wanting to invest that money into a herd with no carry over for hay and what we went through last year.”
“There’s so many ponds that’s real low. Some cattle are even mudding up in them, that they’re having to fence them off and keep them out of the mud and either haul water or have some well water nearby, that they can put trough water in for the cattle.”
Even though a lot of cattle have been sold, prices have held steady.
“I expect that prices will be really good in the fall, because we’ve gone through so many cattle already and we’re back into Japan selling beef. The South Korean market should be opening just anytime”
But if a rancher is forced to sell his producing cows, it won’t matter what beef demand is, because cows are the factories that make beef.
“Attitudes aren’t really good right now. You know if we could get a 3 or 4-inch rain it’d be a lot better.”
But not for the cotton farmers. Many are in the middle of their harvest. I’m Joe Brown, looking at the gamble agricultural producers take on the weather, From the Ground up.