Changes in the Cattle Industry

  • Created by: Blond
  • Created on: 01-01-18 18:42

Changes in the cattle industry

Through the 1870s, lots of money was spent on cattle ranching that the open range became overstocked. This situtation had several serious consequences for the cattle industry in the 1880s.

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A fall in demand

In the eastern states, beef was so plentiful that shops had to lower their prices in order to sell the meat they had bought. This meant that the prices paid for cattle fell. By 1882, profits from cattle ranching were beginnig to decrease. Ranchers kept hold of their cattle, waiting for the prices to rise again.

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Soil Erosion and loss of pasture

Overstocking put a lot of pressure on the soil, damaging it. When drought hut in 1883, the grass withered, making the overstocking problem worse. Prairie fires reduced the grass cover still further.

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The 'Great Die Up'

The harsh winter of 1886-87 was very tough with tempertures falling to as low as -55 degrees. The cattle were already weakened by the consequences of overstocking; now they could not reach the grass through the deep snow and thousands died. At least 15% of open range herds perished. Many cattlemen went bankrupt.

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