Expanding extreme drought conditions in Oklahoma and other southern Great Plains states seems to be causing a significant acceleration of cattle liquidation in the region.

In Oklahoma, the combined total for federally reported auctions the past two weeks has shown a 56 percent increase in feeder cattle sales and a 205 percent increase in cow and bull sales compared to the same period one year ago.

The auction totals include significant numbers of double-stocked summer stocker cattle from the Osage country that are typically marketed this time of year. However, the totals also include large numbers of cows and lightweight feeder cattle that are not typically marketed.

“Most likely we are seeing a second wave of cow liquidation made up of animals with spring-born calves that are just now big enough to wean early and sell,” said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist.

Peel added that he is receiving anecdotal evidence from auctions large and small about excessive numbers of feeder cattle and cows being marketed. In addition, livestock haulers are booked and it is difficult to arrange shipping at this time.

Prices for slaughter cows, bred cows and cow-calf pairs have dropped sharply in the past two weeks.

“This is likely a temporary situation due, in part, to the bottlenecks of selling and shipping so many animals in a short period of time,” Peel said.