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Oklahoma Cattle Ranchers See Improving Conditions, but Drought's Effects Linger

By Xcaret Nuñez

Recent rainfall across Oklahoma has chipped away at drought-stricken areas, bringing some relief to cattle ranchers.

But full recovery is still a ways away, said Derrell Peel, an extension livestock marketing specialist for Oklahoma State University.

With dried-up ponds and little to no forage, the drought has forced some ranchers to sell their livestock early for the past two years. Last year had the most beef cows slaughtered since recordkeeping began in 1986, according to a USDA livestock report.

Rebuilding cattle herds will be a slow process, Peel said.

“I think at this point, it's highly unlikely that we could actually turn this thing around and stop the liquidation completely,” Peel said on SUNUP. “Now, we don't expect a lot of liquidation, but it does depend on what happens to the drought as we go forward.”

The USDA crop progress report shows pasture conditions are improving with recent rains. The latest report shows pasture and range conditions were rated at 80% fair to good, while the first report in May was rated 45% fair to good.

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