Far from a drought buster this winter we have had a little more rain than in the last 4 winters. Our window of opportunity is small, so we are moving quickly to over seed our drought stressed pastures with annual rye that will germinate in cooler soil and with luck be 12-14 inches tall before the dry hot summer weather hits us in early to mid June.
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Son-n-law-1.0 and I have spent a good part of this winter reworking an old 1946 model FBB, John Deere wheat drill. Bringing it back to life and refitted to drill in the smaller rye seed at a wider row spacing than normally used when planting a wheat crop in hopes of producing enough supplemental grass for our Tiny Cow Herd to prevent us from having to buy hay before next fall or winter.
A 1,000 to 1,200 pound bail of hay that was selling for $35.00 in 2008 if you can find it, is now selling for more than $100.00 a bail. Being forced to buy more hay and supplemental protein feeder cubes makes feeding a slaughter calf for 24 to 30 months an expensive investment. Two cows, one bull and two weaning size calf’s will consume a 1,000 pounds of hay and 80 pounds of supplemental protein cubes every 20 days. ….Smiling … and that is not counting the hay our Guard Donkey eats.
Some mail order prices I found listed for USDA Prime beef are:
Prime Dry-Aged Bone-In Filet Mignon $88.00 to $130.00 a pound
Prime Dry-Aged Long-Bone Rib Steak $101.00 a pound
Prime Dry-Aged Bone-In Hip Sirloin Steak $19.50 to $23.00 a pound
And that boys and girls is why a serving of prime steak at a restaurant is 4 to 6 ounces. About 1/4 of a pound of prime beef, and a meal for 2 will set you back $125.00 to $150.00 dollars maybe more.
Source Cow shortage forcing industry to make rough cuts
Years of drought reshaping the U.S. beef industry with feedlots, major meatpacking plant closing because there are too few cattle left in the United States to support them. In major cattle producing states feed lots have been dismantled, and others are sitting empty. Operators say they don’t expect a recovery anytime soon, with high feed prices, much of the country still in drought. It takes a long time to rebuild cow herds.
Closures are the latest ripple in the drought caused shock wave sent through rural communities. Most cattle in the U.S. are sent to feedlots for final fattening before slaughter. The dwindling number of animals is hurting meat packers, with their much larger workforces. Consumers will feel the impact in grocery and restaurant bills as smaller meat supply drives beef prices higher. Cattle numbers have been falling as the price of corn has skyrocketed. Droughts have accelerated the process.
Fewer livestock than normal remain on farms. Ironically, if it rains this spring and summer, even fewer animals will go into feedlots because ranchers will hold back cows to breed and rebuild their herds. When corn prices spiked at $8 a bushel 70 big feed yards went up for sale in the High Plains feeding area that includes Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. Today 15 feed yards are for sale, 15 more set empty, five are being dismantled.
Cargill Beef, one of the nation’s biggest meat packers, closed it’s slaughterhouse in Plainview, Texas, laying off 2,000 workers. The annual economic loss to the region is estimated at $1.1 billion dollars.
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