Persistent Drought Tightening Its Grip on Beef Cattle Producers Across the Southern Great PlainsWed, 09 May 2018 10:33:48 CDT
A large portion of the Southern Great Plains stretching across Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle remains under the tightening grip of a strong drought with little opportunity in the forecast to break the dry pattern any time soon. Oklahoma State University Extension Cattle Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel tells Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays that the impact of this drought is beginning to significantly impact beef producers and their decisions moving forward. While most were counting on forage growth to ramp up around this time, the prospects of that happening are becoming less and less likely.
“In terms of the broader drought, I think we’re at the critical time now. There’s not an expectation of a lot of forage growth,” Peel said. “The next four to six weeks I think is very critical in that country. That’s when we expect to see forage growth take off.”
Peel reports that approximately 53.5 million acres are under D3 and D4 drought conditions, the two worse categories on the National Drought Monitor scale. He says that with warmer weather on the way, that drought area could expand in the next few weeks if additional moisture fails to arrive. Some producers have already started forming a contingency plan if this happens - which would include moving herds to greener pastures outside the affected area, increased culling and early weaning of calves. Peel predicts this activity could potentially be felt down the road in regional cow and feeder markets. Further, he says stocker operations will have no guarantee that there will even be available pasture for them, later on.
“So, we’re looking at the potential to impact quite a large number of animals as we through May and into June and beyond if it continues dry,” he concluded.
Listen to Peel and Hays discuss the impact current drought conditions across the Southern Great Plains is having on our regional beef cattle industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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