Farm Talk

Area Farm & Ranch News

October 2, 2012

Drought takes $128 million bite out of Arkansas beef cattle industry


Parsons, Kansas —

•The difference between the purchase and sale price is a function of transportation cost, but should not be used as an estimate of transport cost in this case, because sellers may ship to different markets than where a buyer is obtaining his or her product.

•Calf sales. Producers sustained losses from calf sales in two ways: Weaning early as a result of reduced available forage, and fewer calves, because herd size has decreased given lack of feed in the drought year.

Wider Impact

The researchers said additional costs incurred by producers that were not quantifiable from the survey included supplemental feed, transport and purchase of drinking water, and replacement costs incurred when restocking the herd. “These costs vary from farm to farm and can be a significant expense to cow-calf producers,” Popp said.

Popp said the drought has also prompted producers to change their herd management. The survey found:

•73 percent would sell their calves earlier than in a typical year

•49 percent had reduced their herd size by selling more mature cows than usual

•41 percent planned to sell more mature cows this fall

•41 percent sold replacement heifers that would otherwise replace mature cows

•30 percent said they would sell more replacement heifers this fall

Other production changes included:

•40 percent said they would apply more weed control to allow grasses on pastures to recover better than if weeds were competing.

•Three percent said they would sell all their livestock

•76 percent were feeding extra hay and supplements

•18 percent were bringing in water from off-farm sources

“Longer term cow-calf producer economic losses attributed to the drought, such as pasture recovery, increased breeding failures, reduced heard body condition scores and the impact on agricultural input industries will take additional time to quantify,” Popp said.

Analyses of those longer term effects are subject to ongoing studies.

Ripple Effect

The $128 million in cow-calf losses also ripple into other industries, according to of the University of Ark-ansas system Division of Agriculture.

“The health and social services industry experienced the most income and value added losses due to induced impacts,” Kemper said. Those were followed by retail trade, finance and insurance, wholesale trade real estate and rental.

“When cow-calf farmers lose income, that translates into fewer dollars being spent back into the local economy buying groceries and clothes and eating in local restaurants. It also means fewer trips to the doctor and dentist for those farm families,” he said. Kemper calculated the total loss in labor income to those other industries at $4.4 million. Value added losses were pegged at $8.1 million. “In rural communities where the cow-calf sector makes up an important part of local economic activity, the impacts to main street businesses are substantial.”


During the month of August, surveys were distributed to cow-calf producers who attended drought-production tactics meetings in Hot Springs, Harrison and Quitman, emailed to 971 producers through an Animal Science list and another 916 producers on file with the state Department of Agriculture. Researchers received 545 responses from producers in 58 counties. The study results are from 406 usable responses—those where all the questions were answered—and the operations encompassed by those surveys accounted for nearly 23,000 bred cows, or approximately 2.5 percent of the cow-calf industry.

The studies are available online at: pts/ag_economics/publica tions/Ark_Drought_Re port_Comm_Beef_Septem ber2012.pdf and ics/publications/Ark_Drought_Report_CowCalf_Septem ber2012.pdf

For more information about cattle production or risk management, visit or contact your county extension office.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. £

Text Only
Area Farm & Ranch News
  • Resistant Palmer amaranth spreading rapidly in Kansas

    Populations of Palmer amaranth resistant to glyphosate were first documented in Kansas three years ago. At that time, these populations were limited in range to isolated areas of south central Kansas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Stockpiled bermudagrass can reduce winter feed costs

    Harvested forage costs are a large part of the production costs associated with cow-calf enterprises.  
    An Oklahoma State University trial had the objective to economically evaluate stockpiled bermudagrass. The research found that this practice can reduce cow-wintering costs.

    July 22, 2014

  • FSFS to feature well drilling, equipment demonstrations

    The 40th Four State Farm Show is this weekend, and exhibitors will have over 25 acres of agricultural products and services on display.

    July 15, 2014

  • Corn growers smile in June rains, haymakers fret at few sunny days

    June, noted for the start of the hot, dry days of summer, became a spring-rain month this year.
    All grasses, including corn, continued to grow.

    July 8, 2014

  • Kansas net farm income continued to slide in 2013

    Kansas farmers took a one-two punch with drought and lower grain prices in 2013 and the result was a drop in average net income to its lowest level since 2009, according to data from the Kansas Farm Management Association’s annual PROFITLINK Analysis.

    July 8, 2014

  • Ergot hits Mo. pastures

    The first two weeks of July are prime time for ergot to appear in common pasture grasses, said University of Missouri Extension forage specialist Craig Roberts.
    Wet, cool weather, followed by heat and humidity, creates favorable conditions for the disease. “With the amount of moisture in the ground and in the plants, the state turns into an incubator when it gets hot,” Roberts said.

    July 1, 2014

  • Mo. AG files lawsuit for Barry Co. fish kill

    Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed suit against Tyson Foods Inc. seeking civil penalties and compensation for state costs and natural resource damages for a large fish kill in southwestern Missouri.

    June 24, 2014

  • MU offers online grain marketing ‘game’

    Market values in farming don’t stay the same for very long. Farm prices are like Missouri weather.  We don’t have to wait very long for a change.

    June 17, 2014

  • Check grasshopper populations now

    Parts of Oklahoma that have suffered from a lack of rainfall are likely to experience grasshopper infestations the likes of a Biblical plague this summer.

    June 10, 2014

  • dairy-days-Fitting-'13.jpg Dairy Days tradition continues in NW Ark.

    Youth from around the area will head to Bentonville, Ark., for the 25th Annual 4-State Dairy Days and Dairy Camp on June 19-22.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content