The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Marketing Committee recently conducted a survey where TSCRA members provided information on cattle herd rebuilding intentions and challenges.

Since the highpoint of the drought in 2011, cattle raisers have continued to match their herd levels and rebuilding plans to grass and water availability. Most have increased their herd in the last year, though they have not yet returned to their normal 10-year averages.

Survey participants indicated their herds are at 74 percent of their 10-year average herd size. 18 percent of respondents are operating at 100 percent or greater of their prior 10-year average operating capacity.

Compared to the 2014 survey, cow and heifer retention was mixed. Region 1 (Texas Panhandle) showed the greatest change, increasing from 64 percent to 76 percent in 2015. Regions 2 (West Texas) and 3 (Oklahoma) remained unchanged at 68 percent and 75 percent, respectively. Region 4 (South Texas) was the sole region with lower cow and heifer retention, decreasing from 79 percent to 75 percent of the 10-year average. Regions 5 (southeast Texas) and 6 (northeast Texas) increased from 76 percent to 78 percent and 69 percent to 75 percent, respectively.

Though respondents have not yet rebuilt to their 10-year averages, TSCRA members are clearly rebuilding their herds. 57 percent of respondents indicated they grew their female inventory year over year. The limiting factors to rebuilding vary slightly by region, but the leading limiter remains pasture conditions. Though conditions improved in the spring, the abnormally dry summer and return of drought conditions in some portions of Texas and Oklahoma are on rancher’s minds as they consider further herd rebuilding.

To view the 2015 TSCRA Marketing Committee Survey Executive Summary visit tscra.org.