Obstacles to Expansion of the National Cow Herd - From the Ground Up

“A lot of people have sold cattle because they don’t have enough grass. They don’t have enough forage for their animals, so they’ve sold them. A lot of people have not replenished those stock because they’re afraid of what the future is. They want to be sure that the grass is going to be there before they buy cattle and start to expand. Our forage systems are based on improved grasses. When we have the kind of drought condition we have, we have the grass deteriorate. It’s going to take some time to recover.”

Jim McCord is a local cow/calf producer, and says the costs of inputs are continuing to increase.

“For feed, for instance, we’re paying probably a hundred dollars a ton over what we paid six months ago. Fertilizer is going to be at least a hundred dollars a ton higher this year than it was last year, and we all know what fuel is doing, it’s going up daily. I think what we’re faced with and we see also is, the cost of those inputs, when they do go back down, do not go back down to the levels they were at one time. They’re still above where they were when we started the rise.”

McCord also points out that there’s a potential for an age crisis in agriculture.

“We have a lot of older producers, particularly doing it on a large scale, that as they go out of the business, either sell out or we have deaths that affect that, there’s not younger people coming back into agriculture to continue that.”

And, of course, there’s not any more land being made.

“A lot of land that’s currently being used for cattle is being turned into wildlife. When that’s turned into wildlife, I mean, there’s lesser numbers there. Another factor is urban sprawl.”

All of these factors pressure the agricultural producers of today and tomorrow to continue to increase production efficiencies to be able feed a growing world population. I’m Ashley Batey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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