Monterey County

The Record Dry Year Leaves Cattle Ranchers With Little to No Grass to Feed Cattle

SALINAS, Calif/ - We have seen just a few drops of rain over the past few months, and we may not see a major storm for weeks to come. If we don't get rain it could have severe affects on cattle ranchers production levels. Without rain there is not enough grass for the cattle to feed on, and that will make it difficult to keep up with the demand from beef companies.

"We have to get the calf to a size where it is marketable," says Scott Violin a local cattle-rancher.

He's currently passing out 20 pounds of hay per cow per day to beef them up, because grass isn't readily available.

"Usually this time of year if you are driving through the Central Coast you are going to see green grass, but this year you're seeing a lack of green grass. We aren't in the best of shape here, but I know we will survive," said Violini.

Violini has had to make economic changes to adjust to the lack of grass. He had to sell any cow that did not breed a calf, so that he could cut costs on the number of cows eating up the hay. Violini has about four hundred cous, and if each one is eating 20 pounds a day it becomes expensive.

"We are getting it delivered for $270 a ton, so I'll let everyone out there do the math. It's going to increase costs probably $200 dollars a cow," said Violini.

One bale of hay is about 120 pounds and feeds about five cows. They get their hay from San Joaquin Valley, where they are facing drought-like conditions as well, so if they don't get rain the supply to the cattle ranchers here might be cut off.

Violini is staying positive for rain, but in the meantime he's concentrated on getting the cows nutritional levels up so they can breed, and then he can sell them.

"A cow without a calf doesn't do any good. You sell the calf. That's our business: pounds of beef," said Violini.

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