More beef cows in worst drought regions than a year ago
Kansas State University Associate Professor of Ag Economics Glynn Tonsor analyzed the latest United States Department of Agriculture information on range and pasture conditions and concluded the cattle industry faces more difficult drought challenges than a year ago.
Nationally, he found 53 percent of the beef cows at the beginning of the current grazing season reside in states with at least 40 percent poor or very poor range and pasture conditions. Last year, only 20 percent of the beef cows were in that situation.
Regionally, Tonsor said the data showed the southeastern U.S. is the only area with notably better pasture conditions. The Great Plains region, according to Tonsor, is the area experiencing the greatest deterioration of pasture conditions since 2011, yet is home to an increasing share of retained heifers. Tonsor said the net impact of this situation suggests the prospects for breeding herd expansion have declined and, at the least, have been further delayed.
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