Local Ranchers Glad to See the Recent Storms

January 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
All of the grassy growth has provided instant feed.Many who raise cattle have watched their regular feed sources dry up.

While the recent rains may have caused weeds to sprout in your yard cattle ranchers are thrilled.

The cattle seem excited to be foraging for food once again in the foothills. Prior to the storms the sight of cattle grazing on the range was awfully rare. Drought conditions last year dried out many areas forcing ranchers to buy alfalfa hay for feed.

Randy Perry, Cattle Production Expert: "They can probably reduce what they're feeding but they haven't been able to shut that off yet because our grass again still, its not growing enough to sustain the cattle."

But the green patches are enough to keep cattle moving to find the best feeding spots.

Last year some cattle and sheep ranchers were forced to move their animals around the valley - even out of state - to find grazing areas. Others just gave up.

"Its a tough situation because we didn't have the natural feed in the foothills and then when they were faced with the real high feed costs some people opted to sell their cattle instead of go ahead and feeding them."

Perry says alfalfa hay which used to cost 80-dollars a ton now costs up to 250-dollars a ton...much more than the free feed which normally grows on this land.

"You really can't afford to just keep feeding hay to them and feeding hay to them because pretty soon you lose all the equity you had in your cows. You lose that in the hay they burned up."

Perry says with a little more rain the grass which has now sprouted will thicken during the spring and provide a much more stable feed source in just a few months.


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