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    Drought Forcing Ozarks Cattlemen to Sell Herds

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The drought has been hard on Missouri farmers with crops. The hot and dry conditions are also taking a toll on the cattle business. Ranchers are having to make some changes.

    The dry weather has all kinds of producers worried. At some ranches it hasn't rained in weeks.
    And that means trailers are lining up to drop off cattle before it gets any worse.

    At the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center, James Landoll is selling some cows to thin out his herd.

    "You just cut back and do the best you can," Landoll says.

    Landoll and dozens of other farmers are at the springfield livestock market to sell more cattle than usual. The biggest reason:
    "It's dry, it's dry"
    "It's been getting dry every place"
    "It's extremely dry."

    And as for the scattered showers over the weekend
    "You can't really tell it," says Josh Ford with the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center.

    The dry weather means all sorts of problems for cattlemen. Many say the same thing;
    "There's no feed, no water, and it's hot."
    "The grass is dried up, burnt up, ponds are going dry."
    "It's getting pretty serious for a lot of people."

    And it's hard to raise cattle without grass or water.
    There's more cattle going through these gates than in most years. It's just too expensive to keep them.
    "It's going to be awfully expensive to feed them all summer and all winter," says Ford.

    Without a source of grass, ranchers must start feeding hay two or three months early. That adds another $100-$200 to the cost of raising each cow. And it depletes winter food reserves.

    "If we don't have any fall rain, winter's going to come early," one cattleman says. "Nobody hardly (has) that much hay," notes another.

    And that means many ranchers are selling early.

    "There's more cattle so they're getting a little bit cheaper."

    That means some good news for cattle buyers. Some buyers are driving all the way from Texas to take advantage of lower cattle prices.
    "Cattle in Texas have been high the past couple of years. It's still pretty high. We figured it was a good time to come restock," says Chris Prideaux, a cattle buyer from Texas

    Read more at http://www.farms.com/news/drought-fo...rds-53677.aspx

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