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Drought affecting East Texas cattle market more than BSE

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HAY MAKER

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July 7, 2005
Drought affecting East Texas cattle market more than BSE

The East Texas cattle market is seeing more of an impact from drought than the recent case of BSE found in the state, according to a lengthy report in today’s Country World newspaper. And that information comes from the people who know the market best: the owner/operators of LMA member markets.

Kenny Richardson, owner of Four County Livestock in Industry, said, “If it doesn’t rain soon, we’ll see the sale runs pick up. We’ll see producers (selling) lightweight calves, which we’ve already seen just because prices have been good.”

Riley Rhodes is owner of Live Oak Livestock Commission in Three Rivers. He said conditions “are drying out, but we’re not in a distressed area – yet. But south of here, where a lot of our customer base is…it’s getting critical.”

Rhodes said he’s been seeing producers selling the cattle they would have sold in the fall. “It’s a bad situation in that there’s drought and the cattle are under stress, but it’s good that the market on these little calves has been good.”

In Northeast Texas, conditions are somewhat worse. Joe Don Pogue, co-owner of Sulphur Springs Livestock Commission, said in late June that they’ve had two herd sellouts because of the drought, and he expects more to follow. But, he said, he doesn’t foresee “any drastic drop” in prices…we see that at this time of year anyway.”

What about the BSE case announced June 24? Pogue said the news affected his June 27 sale. “I’d say nothing drastic, but noticeable.” On average, the biggest drop in price was for lightweight feeder calves.

At Four County Livestock, “we could tell it right away” said Richardson, when buyers’ phones started ringing after the June 24 announcement. He said prices were down about $3-$10 cwt.

Rhodes added, “Frankly, I’ve heard from the customers that they are tired of hearing about it…We know our beef is as safe as any in the world.” And he believes the news of BSE can be used to manipulate the market.
 
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