There has been an unprecedented sell-off of cattle in the past few months here in the Brazos Valley, and with no relief from the drought in sight, we're liable to see cattle numbers continue to dwindle.
"About 30 days ago we made the decision to go ahead and pull all of our light calves, instead of trying to get them to our normal weaning weight. That took a lot of pressure off our cattle and allowed us to go another 30 days with those cows not losing weight."
John Malazzo farms and raises cattle in Burleson County. "We're still feeding cattle. We have two places we're hauling water to twice a week. I don't know how long we're going to continue that, but if we go another ten days without substantial rainfall on our pastures, then we're going to have to make some really hard culling decisions on some cattle that we probably don't want to sell, but may have to." When the drought ends there will be a demand for cattle to rebuild herds.
"Being in the replacement heifer business, I'm trying to hold on to all my cattle because I feel like when it does turn around, people are going to need some cattle to replace or restock their pastures. I was hoping to be in position for that but when you don't have any grass, and don't have hay, and don't have water, well sometimes you don't get what you want."
Hard times are usually met with a dose of optimism from seasoned agricultural producers. "We're fairly hard headed. We feel like this is what we do for a living, and we don't like to give up. Now whether that attitude winds up breaking us, I don't know, but we're going to hang in there, and do our best to try and weather the storm, or weather the non-storm. We're going to try and make it through this drought. I guarantee you we will."
I'm Ashley Batey, looking at Brazos Valley Agriculture, From The Ground Up.