Cattle and drought

Cattle and drought

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
The impact this summer’s record-breaking heat had on the Idaho cattle herd is in some ways already evident, and in others to be determined.

Cameron Mulroney, Executive Vice President of the Idaho Cattle Association says producers across the state saw a very sizeable jump in their operation budget due to feed costs.

He noted with poor pasture and rangeland conditions, many operators had to shell out money for hay and other feed products that were already at an elevated price.

And for cattle producers, especially for cow/calf operators, Mulroney says that means input costs have exceeded the return rate because not feeding is not an option.

“You know, any good producer, any good animal husband, is going to make sure that their cattle are well taken care of and this year, that comes at a higher cost than normal. Because we have to feed earlier, and we have an increased expense for that forage or those hay supplements, whatever it is, even if you’re turned out but your grass is a lot dryer, maybe you’re feeding protein, those costs have increased.”


With increased costs, comes reduced profit margins, which translates into the increased risk of consolidation and even liquidation.

And Mulroney says that trend could continue into 2022, even if the PNW rebounds from this drought.

“You know as guys comes off their range and start preg checking we’re going to start seeing the real effects of how this heat and drought affected the herd across the state.”


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