Cattle industry feeling pinched by need for more truckers

During busy fall run, several factors, including the weather, creates the potential for bottlenecks in livestock movement.


By: Jeff Beach, Agweek (ND)

Nov. 18, 2021


Jake Eystad was contacted on Oct. 10 by one of his customers to haul a load of livestock. Eystad replied that he couldn't move the load until Oct. 28. The customer, with few options, was willing to wait.


"If I could hire a couple more owner-operators, Id hire them in heartbeat," said Eystad of Eystad Trucking Inc. of Donnelly, Minnesota. Eystad handles the scheduling for his own trucks and few other operators, about 10 in all.


For a variety of reasons, the supply chain and logistics problems that are being felt by industries across the U.S. seem to be magnified in the livestock industry.


For one, fall is the busiest time of year for cattle sales and the drought and subsequent lack of feed has more cattle on the move than is typical.


"There's too many cattle at one time and not enough trucks," said Roger Potter, a cattle order buyer and rancher at Braddock, North Dakota.


Potter said with many of those cattle being weanlings, they can't just be left in a pen until a truck arrives, with timely shipping being critical. "A lot of ranchers are selling their calves all at once," Potter said.


Some other factors weighing in: