Lack of moisture still forcing cattle producers to make difficult decisions

The lack of precipitation this fall has taken a toll on southeast Missouri cow/calf producer Charlie Besher.  “We had to sell off 80 cows this year just because of the hay,” he says. We were going to have enough for them, and the price for hay is pretty expensive. It just doesn’t pencil out for us to go and pay that expensive price for hay.”

He tells Brownfield today (Friday) was the first measurable rainfall he’s had since the end of August.  And his hay and forage crops have suffered.  “Our stockpile is down 50%,” he says. 

Besher says pastures remain stressed.  With high fertilizer and input prices, he doesn’t expect the cow herd to grow anytime soon.  “You’ve got people on the verge, thinking about retirement,” he says.  “And if you can get a good price out of your cattle, and liquidate and be done, I do think we’re going to keep contracting.”

Besher is secretary of Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and also chairs the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Property Rights and Environmental Management (PREM) Committee.

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