Iowa cattle producer faces crossroads as drought worsens, input costs climb

Drought concerns and high input costs are forcing tough decisions for a Northeast Iowa cattle producer.

Matt Hoeft of Charles City tells Brownfield he normally fills his feedlots this time of year, but drought worries have him at a crossroads. “We’ll buy about 14 loads at this auction.  I think we’ll hold off.  We’re only going to buy six or seven,” Hoeft says. “I really question what’s going to be out there for corn and don’t want to end up with the lots all full.  I don’t want to get stuck having to buy high-priced corn.”

He says they normally feed much of their own grain, and the drought is cutting his crop short. “For what we have for acres, if we’re down 80 acres on yield, that’s 50,000 bushels and that’s big chunk of our feed.”

And if the market becomes more favorable, Hoeft says he’ll reevaluate. “And with the feeder market, they’re high so we’re going to hold off a bit and see how things turn out here in the next three-to-four weeks.”

Hay availability has been another challenge for the Iowa cattleman. “With the lack of rain we had, the second cutting we had one bale to-the-ace, which is not very good for us.  So, we’re sitting at a lot less hay.

Hoeft says he’ll have to purchase hay soon to make it through the winter.

Matt Hoeft of Charles City:

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