Cattle Ranchers Cull Cows as 60% of U.S. Cow Herd Faced with Drought
Drought Conditions Facing Ranchers 051821
Rain is falling this week across a large swath of the country. It's good news for areas stricken with drought, and a welcome sign for cattle producers. The latest U.S. Drought monitor indicates drought is gripping pastures, with 60% of the nation's cow herd is now in some level of drought or dryness. That's forcing cows to the processor in numbers not seen in a decade.
The latest drought monitor shows 46%t of the country is now in some level of drought, much of that dryness is hitting in the West. However, there's growing concern from North Dakota to Texas about drought intensifying as summer weather arrives. According to Drovers, in some areas, pastures aren't greening up and that's already forcing cows to slaughter.
"The cow slaughtered for March of this year was up 10% over last year already, and April was up 4 to 5% over last year, and that's after last year," says Greg Henderson, editor of Drovers. "2020 beef cow slaughter was up 7%. That was the highest beef cow slaughter since 2010.
Henderson says the high cost of grain is complicating matters. Feedyards are pushing to keep calves out on pasture longer, hoping to get cattle to heavier weights so they haven't feed them as long. That's been difficult given the current pasture situation.