Make a Drought Plan

Make a Drought Plan

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
With the prospects of drought conditions, a livestock market economist is encouraging cattle producers to have a plan in place now if there is a reduction in forage supplies. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map continues to show much of the western and southwestern United States experiencing extreme and exceptional drought.

Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist, says drought conditions have continued to get worse as the drought is expanding in some areas and cutting into the forage growing season.

“It’s going to be taking a noticeable bite out of our forage potential, both pasture and hay production for the year. And if we lose May and June in particular, that takes a serious hunk out of our total forage availability really for the next year.”


Peel says producers should make a plan now.

“Really look carefully at where they are right now in terms of any reserves they might have, what their local situation is in terms of potential for producing forage and really make a plan that covers most of the next year, not just the next month.”


Colorado producers have reduced cow herds 14 percent because of the on-going drought in that state and Peel believes we could see more herd liquidations.

The weekly slaughter data for beef cows would suggest it’s increased in the last couple of weeks, according to Peel, who says there may be some rough patches in the market this summer.

“Generally, from a broader market perspective, we may see some overall price impacts. And, depending on what happens with the cow herd, it may change the trajectory of the whole industry as we go forward in terms of where we are from a cattle inventory or cow inventory standpoint by the time we get to the end of the year.”


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