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U.S. Ranchers Are Being Forced to Sell Cattle Due to Drought

  • Livestock producers face ‘alarming’ feed situation: letter
  • Cattle auctions in South Dakota, Montana report large sales
Cattle are rounded up into a trailer to be sold to another ranch in Ramona, California, on June 29, 2012.
Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg
Updated on

It’s so hot and dry in northern parts of the U.S. that cattle ranchers are frantically selling off animals to trim their herds as hay crops and pasturelands wither.

There were so many cows, calves and pairs of the animals available for sale at a recent livestock auction in Aberdeen, South Dakota, that bidding lasted 15 hours, said Steve Hellwig, the co-owner of Hub City Livestock Auction who chanted the rhythmic repetition of prices until 1:30 a.m. Sales for the day reached a record 2,480 lots, or more than three times the normal weekly total.