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DROUGHTS                           declined by 719,000 head last                           The Midwest Cattleman · March 31, 2022 · P12
      continued from page 3              year and these eight states
                                         represented a net loss of          sult is the same. Drought al- drought. California just ex-
      65% during September. That  484,000 cows, or 67% of the               ready threatens the  bulk of  perienced the driest January
      drought, from 2011 to 2013,  U.S. total.                              America’s beef cows in the  and February since the Gold
      caused  America’s beef cow            The eight states highlight-     heart of ranch country.           Rush days of 1849.
      herd to decline to its lowest  ed here are critical to Amer-            Seven states have more             That leaves twenty-nine
      inventory since 1952.              ica’s beef industry – that’s       than one million beef cows,  states on the map that are
         America’s ranchers were  where 52% of the nation’s                 all of them within this cen- east of our central eight. Of
      barely recovering from that  herd of 30.125 million head              tral region.  The other two  those, only  nine states are
      historic drought and here we  reside. Specifically, 15.655            states in this nine-state re- without drought in the latest
      are – facing a similar situa- million beef cows are in the            gion, Iowa and North Dako- Drought Monitor, although
      tion.                              eight states singled out here.     ta, have at least 945,000 beef  only one or two of those twen-
         The maps show the sever-           Iowa could have been            cows.                             ty-nine states are completely
      ity of the drought in eight  added to this list, making it              The thirteen states that  emersed in drought at this
      states in the Central Plains  nine states with 55% of the             lay west of these central  time.           Those      twenty-nine
      and where they began the  cow herd, but Iowa was a                    eight have 5.189 million beef  states are home to 9.278 mil-
      year in terms of beef cow  drought outlier last year, in-             cows, 17.2% of the nation’s  lion  beef cows, or  roughly
      numbers. Seven of those  creasing its cow herd by 8%.                 herd. (Alaska and Hawaii  30.8% of the nation’s herd.
      eight states culled cows last         Whether the analysis is         are included in these thir-
      year. The U.S. beef cow herd  eight states or nine, the re-           teen.) They, too, are in severe

                                                                             Beef cow inventories in drought. (Paige Carlson)

      CATTLE INPUT                       market volatility. Many input  out good answers. Feed costs  crop progress will also be im-
      continued from page 3              prices were already high com- (among other inputs) will  portant  for  supply  and  price
                                         pared to recent years. The se- be higher in the near term.  forecasts.
      same magnitude. For exam- verity and length of time that  Planting season is just around
      ple, the December 2022 CME  higher input costs will per- the corner in the U.S. and the
      corn futures  contract closed  sist are key questions with- amount of corn planted and
      last week at $6.30 which is up
      about $0.40 above mid-Febru-
         Much  concern  and  uncer-
      tainty surrounds corn stored
      and produced in Ukraine.
      In the February ERS  “Feed
      Outlook” publication, a very
      interesting    special    article
      was included on Ukraine’s
      geography, corn production
      and exports. The article notes
      that corn acreage in Ukraine
      has tripled over the last 15
      years and yields have rough-
      ly doubled. Much of the corn
      produced is typically destined
      for export. The article discuss-
      es that Ukraine accounts for
      about 3.5 percent of global
      corn production but was fore-
      cast to account for about 17
      percent of global corn exports.
         Cattle prices are caught in
      the broader uncertainty and
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