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Ranchers Plan On Early Weaning

Ranchers Plan On Early Weaning

With the drought drying up summer grasses, scorching the corn crop and limiting feed resources for cattlemen, many are already culling their cow-calf pairs instead of paying for high-priced hay. For those who stick it out, many will be forced to feed winter feed stores this summer and move cattle to pastures that wouldn’t normally be utilized until the fall.

According to a July 17 report by the U.S. Drought Monitor, “Another week of hot and dry weather continued the deterioration of crop conditions in America’s breadbasket. USDA reports for the week ending July 15 indicated that 38% of the nation’s corn crop was in poor to very poor condition, compared to 30% a week ago, and 30% of soybeans were in poor to very poor condition (compared to 27% last week). Fifty-four percent of the nation’s pasture and rangeland was in poor to very poor condition, which is a jump of 4% compared to last week and is an all-time high for the 1995-2012 growing season weekly history.”

In a report from the CME Group last week, Len Steiner and Steve Meyer pointed out that the percentage of all beef cows in the U.S. that are located in states with range and pasture rankings in the poor and very poor category was 71%. And that percentage had more than doubled in just the previous three weeks. Only 10% of beef cows were in states that now have good or excellent pasture ratings, they pointed out.

As the drought continues to plague the nation, this week’s poll wants to know your plans for your 2012 calf crop.

On the homepage we ask, “Will you wean calves early this year?”

Vote in this week’s poll here and leave us your comments on the strategy.

How will you manage your cattle for the drought? Are you purchasing more hay this year? Are you planning to sell your calves early? Are you able to creep-feed your calves this summer, or is it proving too costly? Let us know how you’re handling the drought in the comments section below.

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