As the famous Hank Williams Jr. once sang, “the interest is up and the Stock Market’s down”. This tune is still ringing in the heads of many across the country as everyone is struggling with the low supply and high demand of the beef industry. What has been the cause of the declining cattle market? Many factors come into play. The drought this nation has been facing has impacted the lives of many farmers, feedlot owners, cattlemen and consumers. Cattle herds have reached their lowest number since the 1950’s. The pastures used for grazing have diminished under the scorching sun and dry climates. Cattle owners do not have the land to run their herds. Instead of heifers being kept for reproduction, they are going to slaughter to be turned into product for consumption. Cattle numbers are projected to decline and will not rise again until around 2015.
Mild winters, and dry springs have parched the lands resulting in low supply of grain, hay, and pastures for grazing. Farmers were forced to chop their corn and beans into silage as there was too much damage to harvest and sell. Grain and feed prices have skyrocketed to levels that are now reaching consumers, grocers, restaurants, etc. Hay has hit a near record level of three hundred dollars per ton, which is more than double what it had been prior to the drought conditions.
Cattle being taken to feedlots due to pasture shortages is at the highest number in fifteen years. Although, the cost to feed them out has increased so tremendously that they are being shipped to slaughter that much quicker