AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Limited pastures due to continuing dry conditions are forcing producers to place more cattle in feedlots earlier than expected.
Agriculture experts say there are currently 10 percent more cattle on feed than there were this time last year.
"This certainly affects the farmers and ranchers in that they did not get the expected wait on the cattle that they wanted to put on them," said Chairman for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association's Marketing Committee Surcy Peoples. "Which will eat into the profitability of the cattle for them."
Peoples says prices are also increasing for those farmers and ranchers who would have continued to retain ownership had the area not been in a drought.
However, he adds consumers may not notice a major impact at the grocery store, although it is hard to say for certain at this time.
"You have other proteins that are also involved. And, since these cattle were already coming to the feed yard at some point, it's not like the supply will be overly burdensome necessarily," said Peoples.
Although consistent rain for the Panhandle is the ultimate goal for farmers and ranchers, this surplus at feedlots is positively impacting our local economy.
"Anytime you have this many cattle on feed, you have a lot of dollars flowing through our local economy. Given that our local economy is heavily based on agriculture, you're going to see a lot of money spent on support industries. A lot of dollars being spent by their employees because they're gainfully employed. From that standpoint, it's certainly good for the consumer," said Peoples.
Peoples says, fortunately, our area is not experiencing cow liquidation at this time despite dry conditions. This means for now, cows are still able to produce calves.