KXAN reports cattle auctions are keeping busy as Central Texas cattle ranchers are selling off their herds to survive the drought.

This summer’s drought conditions which are expected to cause damages exceeding $3 billion in Texas alone have auction barns selling livestock in record numbers. The Jordan Cattle Auction in Mason County, Texas listed 3,000 cattle for bidding Monday morning.

The drought has eliminated the possibility of grazing herds on pastures and feed costs are too high for many producers to retain their animals. Jordan Cattle Auction owner Willard Jordan said the auctions are busy because ranchers don’t want to pay to feed their cattle anymore.

One cattle rancher has cut his herd from 80 to 20 this summer and expects to lose another 10 in the next few weeks as the drought gets worse.

"We see so many people selling their herds, that is like selling your factory," Jordan told KXAN.

While global beef demand keeps bids high, producers wonder how shrinking herds will affect long-term prices and supplies. Cattle are going to be expensive next year which is likely to limit profitability.

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Source: KXAN-Austin