Oklahoma State Economist Estimates Rancher Losses of $26 Million

On Monday, OSU’s Dr. Derrell Peel examined the impact that’s being felt by beef producers as they continue to struggle with the effects of drought in the wake of recent wildfires that caused considerable damage to many cattle producing operation across the northwest portion of the state.

Peel says after a momentary pause in the worsening of conditions thanks to some recent rain that brought the first bit of moisture the northwest has seen in months, drought has expanded further in that corner of the state with rising temperatures and no additional moisture to speak of. Current weather forecasts predict this pattern will continue.

So far, Peel says he is not aware of any liquidation in cattle herds yet due to drought but says the situation will likely become more critical if drought persists while the supply of resources wanes over the coming weeks. In a normal situation, severe drought like this would be enough to worry about. However, ranching families in this area are faced with even more of a predicament as they deal with the devastation left behind by April fires.

“My estimates of wildfire losses based on preliminary information currently available sum to a total of $26.4 million for cattle operations, Peel states. “Estimated cattle industry losses in Oklahoma include:

*$16.4 million for fence replacement and repair;

*$1.4 million for livestock killed or destroyed as a result of the fire plus veterinary costs and reduced value of surviving injured animals;

*$6.3 million for burned facilities and corrals;

*$1.6 million for emergency feed; and

*$0.66 million for burned pasture and hay.

These totals do not include any estimates for vehicle and equipment losses or homes or other personal property destroyed in the fires. These estimates may increase as a more comprehensive assessment of the losses is completed.

“The drought can pass with little significant additional impact if rains arrive very soon. Failing that, the drought will become a major issue in the next few weeks.”

Source: AgriMarketing

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