15 Mar 2013

US beef farmers hurting from big dry too

2:44 pm on 15 March 2013

Beef farmers in the southern United States have gone through three straight seasons of drought and the herd size there is now the lowest its been in sixty years.

Rabobank vice president of food and agriculture Don Close is in New Zealand talking to farmers about the impact drought has had on US agriculture.

Mr Close says there are a lot of similaritites between what's happened in Texas and what's happening here, with farmers having to liquidate stock.

He says there's been a lot of relocation of animals. In some places pasture has been available but there has been no drinking water so stock has had to be moved.

Mr Close says with promising winter conditions, US farmers are hoping the drought will finally break this year.

If and when it does, he believes there will be a substantial decline in US cow liquidation, which will in turn put New Zealand's beef farmers in a great position in terms of exports of lean trimmings.

Mr Close says farmers in Texas are getting similar warnings to farmers here from scientists that droughts will be more common in the future.