Monterey County

Drought affecting stock contractors at Rodeo

Many spending thousands more for feed

SALINAS, Calif. - Any stock contractor at the California Rodeo Salinas knows healthy livestock is your bread and butter. If an animal can't perform well, the stock contractor won't be coming back. An animal's good health starts with their diet.

"In order to keep them healthy, you gotta feed them well," said stock contractor Jeff Davis. "So that's where your costs are."

Jeff Davis is a stock contractor who lives in Northern California. He has 300 animals, which is a lot of mouths to feed. Think of it like this -- the average bull eats about 40 lbs a day, a horse maybe consumes 25-30 lbs. He may be able to bring them to greener pastures, but in some cases, nearby creeks have dried up, and it's in an area where he can't easy bring in a water truck. So, he keeps them close, even if that means spending thousands more on feed.

"It's like, if I have a pasture that you say I lease or whatever and it costs me $5,000, when I can't use that pasture, it probably costs me $15,000 worth of hay," Davis said. "So it's been a big jump, yeah."

A lot of stock contractors have brought in their own hay and alfalfa here to the Rodeo. Because many will have been here for about a week, they may run out towards the end. The barn office is selling bales for anyone who needs it. The Director of Logistics tells News Channel 5 that business is brisk.

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