Ag in the A.M.: Dakota Blizzard Could Have Big Beef Impact

RAPID CITY, South Dakota - We may get a better idea of the extent of the damage done to the beef herd out west after a blizzard struck the Dakotas earlier this month.

An estimated 75-thousand head of cattle was killed after an unexpected blizzard hit the South Dakota region October 4th.  (Estimates range from 20,000 to 100,000 head of cattle may have died.)

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association says some ranchers lost 20 to 50-percent of their herd.

The losses come as the government shutdown continues so farmers have no way to document their losses with the USDA's Farm Services Agency.

So many head of cattle may have been killed that beef prices could go up for consumers.

Shutdown's Hog Impact  

The shutdown is also hitting the hog markets as well.

Hog packers scrambled so far this month to establish fair settlement prices now that the government is no longer reporting market data.

The CME Group, which runs the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chiocago Board' of Trade, says if there's no data by Tuesday, October 15, the final settlement for October lean hog futures and options contracts will be calculated by using the average price of trades from Friday, October 11 through Monday, October 14.

So far, trading in the futures markets has been stable despite the lack of independent market info.

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