Cattle Ranchers Cull Cows as 60% of U.S. Cow Herd Faced with Drought

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. 


Latest News

Over-the-Counter Antibiotics: What You Need to Know Before June 11

On June 11, FDA’s Guidance for Industry #263 brings 91 over-the-counter antimicrobial products from OTC to prescription oversight. Three experts weigh in on why you need to prepare for this change now.

'Sacrifice Pastures' Spare Best Cattle Grazing Pastures

So-called “sacrifice pastures” might be needed to help promote forage production the rest of this cattle grazing season.

Cattle Chat: Understanding Hardware Disease

Cattle sometimes eat objects that they shouldn’t. On a recent Cattle Chat podcast, veterinarians discussed the signs of hardware disease and offered suggestions on ways to manage the incidence.

12 Ways to Prevent the Spread of Disease in Feedlots

Sound management, health protocols and facilities maintenance can help achieve the ultimate goal of keeping cattle healthy and productive.

BQA Low Stress Cattle Handling Principles

Sound care and handling practices, based on years of experience and research are known to impact the well-being of cattle, individual animal health and herd productivity.

Idaho Dairy Demo Center Planned

The University of Idaho is building a massive dairy research center focused on the industry’s sustainability.