SAN ANGELO, Texas- “The drought here in Texas has caused ranchers to make tough decisions this cattle season. The question is whether should they sell early at a lower price or wait until the market turns in their favor.
“This year is the first hard year that I’ve had since I’ve been raising cattle,” said Wacey Cody, a local cattle rancher.
Cody has been ranching for the last 4 years but comes from generations of ranchers.
“Well I’ve seen many droughts and dry weather is pretty common in West Texas,” added Vic Choate with 4L Cattle Company.
Vic Choate is a cattle producer, who’s been in the business we’ll say, for quite a while. Both ranchers are feeling the drought hit their pockets as they tell us it’s the nature of the beast.
“We know that if you are going to stay in this business you’re going to have years like this, I mean it’s unavoidable,” said Choate.
The heat and lack of rain have effected hay prices and with inflation, the battle becomes uphill.
“There are a ton of multi factors! It’s dry so now everybody is selling and cattle prices go down. Fuel is up so that creates a snowball effect where hay is going to increase come this winter. You can see right now, hay is going up because it’s dry so there is no hay,” said Cody.
Some ranchers have taken solutions into their own hands, now moving cattle to new pastures or selling them off sooner.
“You can’t sit there and feed them until you continuously lose money. We have a saying that livestock will eat themselves up,” said Choate. “They’ll eat up their value in feed and pretty soon your upside down.”
“The few animals I did sell, they were skinny and the price of live cattle was down, so that impacted me in that those live cattle were worth less,” said Cody.
Choate says if there is any advice he can give to ranchers going through a hard time it’s to invest, so you’re prepared for the next go around.
“When you do start back to making a little money, you don’t spend that money on something else, you spend it on your operation. That way you can try to prepare for the next bad time because it will come,” said Choate.