2011 Drought: Cattle Sales Skyrocket

The 2011 Drought is putting cattle producers in a tough spot. Many of them do not have enough grazing or water to keep animals alive. Record numbers of producers are selling-off to cut losses. The spike is causing the auction at Wichita Livestock Sales to be at capacity – and run through the night.

That spike in sales means there is plenty to choose from, if ranchers are willing to take a risk and buy. "You've got to think pretty hard whether you want to make a move or not," said Texoma Cattle Dealer Warren Reid.

Reid weighed his options and decided to purchase 30-40 feeder cattle. "I've got a little grass and I've got some good water, so I'm not in as bad a shape as some of these guys are," he said.

Still, the long-term effects of the drought have yet to be seen. Reid knows he is taking a risk. "When you look down the road at this thing and you wonder how far it could go and how bad it could get you wonder if you want to take that gamble but I've been in the cattle business my whole life, so I've been gambling my whole life," he said.

With sales up, Reid and others can afford to be choosy. He knows what he's looking for. "I'm looking for the better end of the cows and we're beginning to see the better end of those cows sell. These guys have held on and held on they've called all their old cows and their non producers and now they're having to get down into the real heart of their herd," said Reid.

Reid loves the cattle business, and he worries about the long-term ramifications of this season. "The average age of the cow herd owner in the United States is 59 years old. I'm afraid that some of these guys that get out may not come back," said Reid.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6