Drought and Cattle

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KINGDOM CITY - Just like always, hundreds of cattle left the Callaway Livestock Center Tuesday afternoon. The cattle market is hot, despite the dry weather.

John Harrison, co-owner of the Livestock Center, said the price of cattle is high this week with less supply than demand.

"We have the lowest number of mother cows that we have had in years," Harrison said. "It has not been best season, but we are surviving."

Callaway Livestock Center uses deep-water wells in stead of ponds. The wells take longer to use up and do not dry up as quickly. Harrison has plenty of hay and water to keep the cattle healthy during the dry weather.

Nebraska and Kansas had good crops of hay and grass to feed the cattle, but states like Texas are thirsty. Harrison watches semi-trucks full of hay and feed pass outside his window on I-70. He thinks the full trucks of hay are being sent to states in the south that are dryer than Missouri.

Many Texas and Oklahoma cattle farmers are trying to get rid of their cattle now while they are healthy. Harrison said the average cost per head of cattle is $700-$800, but that was higher this week. Farmers want to sell their cattle while they are healthy, not waiting until the weather has a greater impact.

Harrison can't complain, his business is profitting from the urgent need to unload livestock in the face of the drought.