CropStop: Cool at Summit, S.D. — drought and beef counter-moves

SUMMIT, S.D. — Michael Miller, 47, of Summit, S.D., and his brother, Mark, have a mostly cow-calf operation. They runs about 180 cows, including about 50 registered Angus and the rest commercial. The winter through the end of January had been optimistic. “The flu keeps going through our house – getting tired of that,” Miller says. Mark also works full-time for another feedlot. Michael’s son, Greg, a recent college graduate,recently joined the operation. The Millers have farm land but rent it out for now.

The Millers sold their calves in December and the market was down a little bit, but they were still happy with it. “We’re watching the markets for next year, so we’re happy with what we see so far, hoping things just hold steady,” he says.

Cattle numbers and the prospects for next year’s corn crop being better than 2012 are the two things that look most encouraging, Miller thinks. If corn could be in the $5 per bushel range that would be better than the $7 range, Miller says.

The Millers have girded themselves for drought by building a lot more corn stalks and straw because the hay crop wasn’t there in 2012. They’ve hired a drilling rig to look for water. “We’re right on the verge of having water trouble,” Michael Miller says.

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