Hampered by consecutive years of drought and cattle herds moving further north, Cargill announced plans to close its cattle feedlot in Texas next summer.
The decision marks the second Cargill-owned property in Texas to shut down recently. The company announced in January it would idle its processing plant in Plainview, Texas.
Shrinking cattle supplies and raising feed costs over the previous two years finally took its toll on the property in Lockney. Cattle producers deciding to hold on to heifers to rebuild herds will likely result in fewer placements and lower slaughter rates in the months ahead.
Michael Martin of Wichita, Kan., director of communications at Cargill, expects herd sizes to start its recovery with rain easing drought conditions in most of the state this summer.
“Recent rains have helped to build the harvest, and hopefully it will entice cattle producers to build their livestock,” Martin said.
Still, supplies aren’t expected to return to normal levels until at least 2016 and national supplies are expected to be affected by the early October blizzard in South Dakota.
The feedlot employs about 45 people and has a capacity of 62,000 head. Martin says the company will work to move its employees to other jobs within the company.