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Drought, hot weather produce new challenges for area ranchers

Beef sales jumped recently at Producers Livestock Marketing in Vale as drought conditions prompted some ranchers to sell their cattle earlier than normal. (The Enterprise/AUSTIN JOHNSON).

VALE – High temperatures and a lingering drought are pushing some area ranchers to sell their stock earlier than usual because vast stretches of rangeland are parched.

“Our sales have been running kind of two or three times bigger than normal,” said Jason Johnson, Producers Livestock Marketing branch manager in Vale.

Johnson said he believes the larger sales “has a lot to do with cattle coming off the range because it’s so dry and hot.”

“There is nothing to eat out there and the cost of hay is prohibitive,” said Johnson.

According to 2020 statistics from the Oregon Department of Agriculture there are about 75,000 . . .