(GAYVILLE, SD) - We've heard time and time again how this summer's drought affected our crops here in Siouxland. Now we get a deeper look into how the heat burned the livestock industry.
Jim Petrik runs a farm in Gayville, South Dakota where he raises pigs and cows and sells breeder hogs to other pork producers. He explained how the dry conditions have caused feed prices to spike and how that's making a difference on the pigs to come.
"We just absolutely turned the corner and went from the wettest probably 18-month stretch that we've ever had here on the farm to absolutely the driest 18-month stretch anybody's ever seen," said Jim Petrik of Petrik Farms.
He was referring to the change from the flood of 2011 to this summer's drought which was a drastic shift for farmers like him.
"I think at our farm here we're under 10 inches of precipitation in the last 16 months which is unbelievable, way drier even in the 1930's," said Petrik.
One of the main parts of Jim's farm is supplying breeding stock to other pork producers throughout the Midwest. The recent weather patterns have put a damper on that bit of his business.
"This feed costs where they're at right now just made for an extraordinarily challenging environment," said Petrik. "Particularly, we have some customers that are livestock only that don't raise any of their own feed. And it's really caused them to have some pretty dramatic losses as far as where they're at economically."
Jim just got a group of piglets about a few weeks ago. Because of this summer's heat, they will probably be more expensive to produce.
"Our litter size was down and the number of sows that we got bred during that time frame were down a little bit. And so these pigs are more expensive as I bring them off our sow farm just because we've got less pigs, just the same amount of expenses," explained Petrik.
There is another impact down the road.
"This is also going to be a more expensive pig to produce from here on out because our feed costs are going to be about 35 percent higher than they would historically be. I guess I'd be surprised if the meat in the grocery store wasn't a little more expensive next summer, too because our costs have just gone through the roof, here," said Petrik.
So what does that mean for his customers who need hogs this upcoming spring?
"Our inventories are gonna be really tight. We're gonna have to make sure we work hard to meet their needs because that heat had some real effects," said Petrik.
Jim also said if we get a little spike up in hog prices or a little drop in feed costs, he'll try to encourage his customers to lock up prices and know that they're going to have a positive margin for the next couple months.