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Drought Taking Big Bite Out Of Kansas Cattle Herds


The extended drought is prompting cattle farmers across Kansas to sell some or all of their herds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last week that the number of cattle sent to Kansas feedlots in September was the lowest on record for that month, down 25 percent from September 2011.

The number of cattle sold by feedlots to packers in Kansas fell 17 percent from a year ago and tied for the worst month ever.

The cattle industry expected the steep drop in cattle as drought ruined pastures, dramatically increasing the cost of feed.

Kansas Livestock Association president Frank Harper, who also is a cattle farmer in Sedgwick, said farmers facing high grain costs and shrinking pasture land can make big profits by selling their calves on the side. Harper said he knew people who have had to liquidate a quarter to a third of their herd.