The impacts of the severe drought seen in much of the U.S. in 2021 are still being felt. Many of those same regions continue to experience dry conditions, impacting cattle producers trying to plan for the year. Many North Dakota-based producers made the tough decision to shrink their herds as continued dry conditions plagued the area. The decision to cull cows is not an easy one, and drought is one of several factors that could drive a producer to make the tough call.

South Dakota State University Extension spearheaded a survey looking for data on when and how producers decide to cull their cattle. Most culls (79%) happened through sales barns, 10% chose to directly market them and less than 1% sell for white fat market. Dry conditions and low forage resources, in addition to temperament, health, age and open cows are all reasons a producer could look to cull numbers.

Read more on drought-induced management decisions here.