Drought causing ranchers to sell cattle

Drought causing ranchers to sell cattle.
The drought conditions, coupled with a depleted hay supply from the tough winter, have left ranchers without feed and with little hope for a good hay crop this summer.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the state has had less-than-average precipitation during the past three months, with portions of central and south-central North Dakota receiving only 25 percent and 50 percent of normal precipitation during this period.
Spring so far has been the seventh driest on record in Bismarck.
“They’re trying to save grass for their best cow-calf pairs,” said Lachenmeier, who said smaller operators have been bringing in 10 to 15 animals.
The larger ones have been selling off about 50 head or even as many as 100 head.
Ranchers may need to drive 200 to 300 miles to get hay, which is cost prohibitive.
Ellingson said some are getting creative and feeding their animals on a dry lot rather than turning them out to pasture.
Cow-calf pairs on the other hand are going for $300 to $600 less than they were several months ago.
They started selling for about $2,600 in the spring and have gradually crept down to the $1,700 to $1,900 range, Lachenmeier said.

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