The cattle industry in south Texas may be bouncing back

Beef producers in one Texas county are seeing business look up again. The industry is recovering from a rough blow this year.

Early 2020 was a good time for the Starr County, Texas cattle industry, but then came COVID-19 and it suffered the fate of most industries.

“Come March and April, everything kind of went south after that, and I know that the prices on beef cattle, which is what the majority of the agriculture income here in Starr County, that’s where that comes from,” Omar Montemayor with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension said. “Cattle prices went down and a lot of our beef cattle producers are suffering.”

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension reports that weather conditions have been up and down this year as well, leading to some dark hours for cattle producers in Starr County.

“Come to the latter part of May and early June, cattle prices were low. Based on averages, if you were to have sold a calf in February, you probably would have gotten $100 dollars more for that cattle than if you would have sold sometime in June and July,” Montemayor said. “So, that hundred dollars is a big difference to a lot of people. Especially if you’ve got eight or 10 or 15 head of cattle-- that amounts to a lot.”

Now, the research shows numbers are looking up -- somewhat. According to Montemayor, if you sold a calf today you’d only get about $50 less than you did in February.

The coming months could be bright, barring another major event. Based on future prices, everything will look better in early 2021. Weather conditions have been good recently for cattle in south Texas.

“Because of all the rain and everything that we’ve gotten here there is an abundance of grass which we’ve never had before and a lot of people are able to go ahead and hold back some of those calves that they’ve got,” Montemayor said. “In the years past when they reached their weaning weight they were trying to go ahead and market them and sell them because they didn’t have the grass to keep them much longer, but it’s not like that this year they’ve got a little bit of grass.”