The Drought Translates Into Selling The Herd

Costs continue to mount for livestock producers as the state's record drought devastates cattle herds. That's leading some agricultural experts to call for extreme measures.

cattleTexas cattle ranchers are spending an average of $100 a head per month on feed, to make up for the lack of grazing or hay. Many are culling their herds dramatically to save on feeding costs.

Larry Redmon is a forage specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service at College Station. With no end in sight for the drought, Redmon says it’s actually cheaper to sell the whole herd.

“Put that money somewhere, even if it’s just drawing 1%, hold on, if we ever see the drought truly break and the conditions start to get more favorable, buy cows. Sure, they’ll cost more at that time, but they won’t cost, I don’t believe, as much as we would have invested trying to hang onto those cows.”

Redmon says that keeping up the herds also risks exhausting what natural forage the drought has left. That will it much harder for the land to absorb whatever rain does

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...