Drought news: Roughly 40% of U.S. cowherd is now affected by the southern tier exceptional drought


From the Ag Journal (Candace Krebs):

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the area rated in poor or very poor condition has expanded in the last couple of weeks, and roughly 40 percent of the nation’s entire cowherd is now directly impacted by it, according to Greg Highfill, Northwest Oklahoma area livestock specialist…

Extended emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve acreage has been authorized in approved counties in five states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Extension experts pegged daily feed costs at somewhere around $2.50 to 3.50 to maintain a cow, historically high levels. The spread between what it costs to sell a cow now and buy a replacement back later is also substantial and continues to widen as sale prices fall. Additionally, the figure is influenced by how large of a geographic area will be rebuilding herds at the same time, according to area economist Rodney Jones. Cowherd liquidation over the past decade was at a fast clip even before drought conditions accelerated it. “My assumption is very high valued replacements when conditions improve,” Jones told producers…

National weather observers gave official notice recently that signs are favorable for redevelopment of the La Nina weather pattern credited with bringing hotter, drier weather to the Southern tier of the U.S., compounding a trend climate officials in Texas have already compared to “a death spiral.”

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

This week’s drought monitor data, compiled by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the National Weather Service, show extreme drought conditions reaching north of the Arkansas River Valley in southeast Colorado, with the San Luis Valley under exceptional drought conditions — the most extreme category of drought.

The National Weather Service’s seasonal drought outlook shows that drought conditions throughout Colorado are expected to improve, but no change for better or worse is expected in Northern Colorado.

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