Drought forces North American ranchers to sell off their future
By Rod Nickel and Tom Polansek, Reuters
via WTVB (MI) - Sep 3, 2021
WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO (Reuters) – When Canadian rancher Dianne Riding strides across her brown pasture, sidestepping cracks and popping grasshoppers, she has less company than usual.
Record-setting heat and sparse rain left Riding with too little grass or hay to feed her cattle near Lake Francis, Manitoba. She sold 51 head at auction in July, about 40% of her herd. The sales included 20 heifers, young cows that have not given birth, that were potential breeding stock.
“That’s your future. As my herd goes down, so does my income,” Riding said. “It’s gut-wrenching.”
Such liquidations of breeding stock are expected to limit cattle production in the coming years, tightening North America’s beef supply and driving up consumer prices, according to two dozen ranchers and cattle experts.
The drought spanning much of western North America – from western Canada to California and Mexico – has cooked pastures and hay crops that fatten cattle. The ranchers’ plight...
FEWER COWS, HIGHER BEEF PRICES ...
PONDS TURN TO CRACKED DIRT ...