Brazos Valley cattle ranchers navigate their way through drought and inflation

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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NAVASOTA, Texas (KBTX) -It’s a scene that’s playing out all across the Lone Star State and has made its way to the Brazos Valley. Extreme drought conditions are forcing cattle ranchers to make tough decisions. Many are taking their livestock to auction sooner than they’d like and depending on the day of the week you can find a line of cattle trailers a mile long waiting to get into an auction house.

Current drought monitor conditions show nearly the entire state is abnormally dry with over half the state falling under the extreme drought category. While many areas of the Brazos Valley have only reached moderate to severe drought levels soaring prices for feed and fuel are not making things better for ranchers.

The Navasota Livestock Auction recently saw a high rush of ranchers coming to sell their cattle.

“Last weekend. We had over 3000 heads and we had 600 in on Friday. So, we unloaded 2,400 heads on Saturday morning,” said Greg Goudeau, Navasota Livestock Auction owner. “it’s all the input prices that we have that are going up, going up, going up that are making it tough for the ranchers to, to survive. And now we have a drought where some of them are forced to sell. It’s just not a good combination.”

It’s a very sad day in Texas when you drive by the local Sale barn and the trailers waiting to unload cattle and livestock is down the road over 1/2 mile !!! Please pray for rain and cooler temperatures

Posted by Duane Ermis on Saturday, July 9, 2022

Texas A&M economist David Anderson says if drought conditions don’t get better it could have a trickle-down effect on beef prices and the cattle industry for years.

“Every time one of those animals is sent to market that means she’s not there for a calf next year or the year after,” said Anderson. " The short term effect is we get some more beef production, but the long term effect is a lot less beef production and really pressure to keep beef prices high.”

Despite the challenges, experts remain hopeful for the future.

“We’re always positive,” said Goudeau. “Always think the next one {season} is gonna be okay. The mood has still been positive.”

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