Working Paper

Drought and Cattle: Implications for Ranchers

Abstract: Drought has occurred with greater intensity and frequency in many areas of the United States in recent years. Despite the growing concern surrounding the impacts of drought on the agricultural sector, few studies have quantified the impact of drought on the cattle industry. In this paper, we estimate the impacts of drought on cattle herd management, hay production, hay prices, and farm income in the United States from 2000 to 2022. Our results indicate that drought negatively impacts hay production and results in higher hay prices. Drought also contributes to herd liquidation and is correlated with lower farm incomes. As drought intensity increases, we find some evidence of reduced average herd sizes (liquidation). As herd size declines, revenues temporarily increase, which could be due to selling larger quantities of market and breeding stock. Overall, drought has a temporary positive effect on rancher revenues, but a negative effect on earnings.

Keywords: drought; agriculture; cattle prices;

JEL Classification: Q10; Q13; Q15;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Part of Series: Research Working Paper

Publication Date: 2023-06-02

Number: RWP 23-06