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Cattle Coming to Market Sooner Due to Drought

Posted August 24, 2007

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— Carolina Stockyards in Siler City has seen double the number of cattle coming to market because of the drought.

On Mondays, farmers said they usually sell 500 head of cattle, but in recent weeks, it has been more than 1,000.

On Fridays, 1,000 head of cattle are usually sold, but because of the drought, they're selling between 1,800 and 2,000.

“They're getting rid of what they can as soon as they can,” Sam Gross, a Chatham County agriculture extension agent, said Friday.

There are more than 850,000 head of cattle in the state. Chatham County has the third-highest production rate, making it one of the hardest hit.

Farmers said they have no hay because the heat is damaging the crops. Plus, water sources are drying up, so the farmers cannot keep their animals properly hydrated.

“I've sold off all the old cows. Now I’m starting on the younger calves,” said farmer David Owen. “It's the same story everyone else will tell you.”

Farmers are selling cattle at an earlier age and lighter weight. Some estimate they're losing $100 a head.

“A lot of light cattle (are) coming in, cattle marketed probably 150 to 200 pounds earlier than normal,” said Carolina Stockyards owner Robert Crabb Jr.

Officials said most of the cattle buyers are coming from states such as Texas, Kansas and Nebraska, where farmers are having a much better year.

“I don't know what I'm going to do about it. I can't give them away. Got to get what I can for them,” said farmer Fred Trogden.

Livestock producers said they worry they'll pay the price for this drought for months to come. For now, most farmers are just hoping for rain. They said there's not much else they can do.

“You'll probably see herd numbers for North Carolina drop, but eventually they'll build back up and start growing again,” Gross said.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was looking into trucking in hay from out of state. However, farmers said that's an expensive option and they would still lose money.


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  • b-ball fan Aug 25, 2007

    We have had cows before I was born. I have a few now myself and was lucky enough to sell about 3 weeks ago while the prices were still good. The cows don't do well at all when you have a shortage of grazing and trying to nurse a 400lb calf. The calves we sell around here end up out in the midwest at feed lots where they are feed grain untill time for slaughter. The feed lots are going to be the ones who profit the most by buying our cattle cheap.

  • 27228 Aug 25, 2007

    The beef won't be cheaper. Because the farmers are selling them earlier than normal, the cows won't have as long to grow. So, there'll be less and it'll be more expensive.

  • ladyblue Aug 24, 2007

    I hope it does because there will be an aboundeance fof beef. They prefer to get something now, rathan to just let them die. That is a shame.

  • RIP- Yogi Bear Aug 24, 2007

    Bring on the beef- T-Bones - Tenderloin - Ribeyes....MOOOOO HOOOOOO Charcoal is a waiting

  • msncdso Aug 24, 2007

    ifonly, I don't think that's the way it works!

  • ifonly Aug 24, 2007

    Does this mean we will see a cheaper price for meat, for the short term?

  • Jokers Wild II Aug 24, 2007

    We cant pipe Water because of the financial aspect of it.. Who would pay for such a project? lol, the state that ahs the water taken away from it will want money for the water and all of their people will be screamin and kickin about losing their water, while each state that the pipe line runs through wanting money, and then the state that gets the water will charge taxes out the other end! Water would cost roughly 200.00 a gallom by the time it reached the consumer,lol. I do hope it rains but either way the farmers are screwed this year as far as their crops go.. I hope they have some supplemental income from chicken houses or raising cattle..

  • ladyblue Aug 24, 2007

    That's right, those are are the ones who catch it the hardest, the legals...There has to be a way of engineering a way to collect this over flows and direct them to drought areas of this country. I am no engineer of anything but it's a shame some of Americas rivers are flooding some places while others states are in terrible drought. We pipe oil. Why can't we pipe water...?

  • fbell Aug 24, 2007

    he farmers are in a tough business, and nature (lack of rain etc) is a factor that makes it a big gamble.
    We as urbanites will feel the ressults of this drought in more than just having our lawns turn brown. Maybe eeven the Blue , berries
    wont' be able to be picked by even the legal farm workers.

    Let's pray for rain--and soon.

    NC Viking

  • ladyblue Aug 24, 2007

    This drought is sure causing a lot of trouble for the farmers and the migratory agriculture immigrants as well. We sue shouldn't be needing as many of them this years.