One report by CBS News elaborated on this issue, emphasizing the reality of ranchers having to sell off herds of cattle due to the lack of water and grass to feed them. It cited footage from North Texas that showed a long line of trucks and trailers with cattle outside livestock markets. With food and water for their herds running low, ranchers were forced to let them go.
Kimberly Irwin, owner of the Decatur Livestock Market, confirmed the video and added that the trucks unloaded more than 2,600 animals. "You know, you want to hang on, but it's just hard," she said. According to Irwin, meatpackers comprised almost all of the cattle buyers at the market. (Related: Cattle LIQUIDATIONS in Texas; media prepping narrative to crush CRYPTO with new SEC regulations on digital securities.)
Cattle auctioneer Jack Robinson, 83, told Bloomberg during a phone interview that the Emory Livestock Auction in Emory, Texas saw nearly quadruple the amount of cattle being sold off. "I've been in the business [for] 60 years and I've never seen lines that long," he said.
Two Central Texas ranchers who talked to KWTX 10 shared the situation from their side of the fence.
Anthony Vybiral, who has been in the business since the 1990s, attested to how the drought forces him and other ranchers to "sell smaller." He shared: "During a normal season, calves weigh up to 600 pounds. [But now,] some of them have been weighing [from] 375 to 450 [pounds] and [we've] been selling them."
Meanwhile, Trenton Uptmore remarked that other ranchers have resorted to selling their entire herds due to the drought conditions. "Some of these ranchers are just totally out of grass [and] water. Their backs are against the wall and they don’t have any other option," he said.
Crop and livestock farmer Scott Frazier, who sold about 100 cows, defended his reason to sell off his cattle. "It's dry and there's no hay around. It's hard to justify keeping them," said the farmer based in the coastal Nueces County.
A barrage of extreme weather conditions devastated the Lone Star State, which pushed farmers to sell off their herds.
The 100-degree temperatures, coupled with the lack of rain, forced grass to stop growing. It also caused the water levels in stock ponds to dwindle. A July 11 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 83 percent of pasture and range land is now considered to be in "poor" to "very poor" condition, reflecting the agricultural collapse in Texas.
Furthermore, grasshoppers destroying what remained of viable food for cattle herds only exacerbated the ongoing lack of hay. Skyrocketing costs for animal feed, fuel and fertilizer also made things worse.
"If we don't get rain pretty quick, it's going to be more cows coming to a market. It's pretty much going to be a disaster," warned Vybiral.
But according to Uptmore, demand for cattle remains "very strong" despite the drought. "We've been seeing close to 90 to 100 buyers every week," he said, adding that these buyers are now paying 15 t0 20 cents more per pound compared to the winter months.
Uptmore projected even higher cattle prices in the coming months, something he had not seen since 2016.
"We're looking at the highest future prices we're seeing in the last several years. The writing's on the wall for how expensive these cattle are going to be once this drought is over."
While the cattle sell-off translates to more beef entering the market in the short term, this also translates to less calf-bearing cows in the future. The resulting smaller herds will then push meat prices further up to the detriment of the American consumer.
Watch this footage featuring long lines of cattle-loaded trailers and trucks outside the Emory Livestock Auction below.
This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.