It’s hot! Heat records are being broken all over the place this month, and it’s still early in the summer. With 100 plus degree days, no rain, wildfires, and inadequate winter snow, it sure looks like it’s going to be a tough summer. Hopefully, when it rains it pours!
The weather is maybe the single biggest factor in agriculture. Without moisture and sunshine, it’s just about impossible to get things to grow. It seems like there are more things needed to ruin a crop than to grow a crop. Drought, frost, fire, high winds all contribute to making it tough on plants, and right now it is extremely tough in many parts of the nation.
The cattle on feed report showed a 15% increase in the number of cattle placed last month, and that was before all the fires. Placements will probably continue to get higher as there are far fewer places to take cattle than there were last year! It seemed like anywhere north of I-70 was green and lush a year ago, and many cows and calves found their way there.
With fewer pastures available, and drought looking more likely in many places, it will be interesting to see how high hay gets this year. Calves are already getting weaned, and it probably won’t be long, save for some good rains, before cows start showing up in earnest again. Arkansas and Missouri are already seeing it, and the southwest looks like they’re going to see it again.
The drought, the fires, and the human population are all taking their toll on grazable land. Oil production has alleviated some issues like debt, but all the money in the world can’t buy a rain exactly where and when you need it. Of course, even in times like this there will be some opportunities to take advantage of.
Even with more cattle on feed, there were 23% more cows, bulls and odds disappearing during May than the year before and these droughts and fires probably won’t make that number go down anytime soon. There sure might be some more chances to buy some thin, lightweight cattle this summer and somewhere down the line we’re going to have to grow some beef!
It will rain some time, it’s just a question of when. It seems like when some places are having bad luck others are getting along a little better. Mother Nature usually balances things out. It might take a little more imagination, but surely there will be some opportunities to feed or graze the young cows and calves that will be showing up.
We still have more and more people in the world to feed! With less cattle to do it with, a person might think prices would stay good. Even though the market has come down, it is still quite a bit higher than it was several years ago! It’s a great market!
Get in the action! Go to the auction! Find a home for some cows!