The drought ravaging California is hitting cattle ranchers hard. The grass cattle feed on is dying, so ranchers are being forced to buy food for the cattle.
Not only is the drought costing ranchers money for food, but it is also affecting the condition of the cattle. Ranchers fear that although calves are weighing enough now, that their bodies could change as they either adjust or compensate for the lack of grass, CNN reported.
Ranchers in California are battling almond orchards and vineyards for water, which has recently been restricted by Gov. Jerry Brown in attempt to reduce water usage by 25 percent in the state.
The lack of feed has brought many ranchers to cull older cows. Beef prices will stay high this year due to a loss of cattle in the state.
The Midwest, however, is faring better this year. Since cattle in the Midwest are fed corn feed instead of hay and corn prices are down, feed will be less costly. Ranchers in the region are likely to maintain more steady cattle numbers.