|Stockgrowers discuss biggest issue facing ranchers, the drought|
|Friday, 21 September 2012 16:16|
Ranchers and others involved in the cow-calf business are meeting in Rapid City for the next few days to discuss issues facing the industry. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is holding its annual convention in Rapid City through Sunday. On the agenda for discussion are branding, animal ID, and the beef check off.
The uppermost issue on the minds of most cattlemen as fall approaches is the rising price of feed grains and hay. Shane Kolb says, "Hay prices are going to be relatively high this year. And we've already seen the USDA's prediction; a poorer corn crop than what we've seen in the past. So I do think the cost of feed is going to have an impact on what we see for numbers."
Many cattlemen say they will have a difficult time maintaining herd numbers with high grain and hay prices. And in the case of stockgrowers who are facing other emergencies this summer, such as prairie fires or grasshopper infestations, the drought could be the factor that pushes them over the edge. Shane Kolb says, "It could be a make or break year for some who have seen fires."
For ranchers this year, the drought comes after a rollercoaster ride that involved wild swings in cattle prices, and volatility in the prices of grain and hay as well. Now, they are facing unstable weather as well.
Al Van Zee