Recent rainfalls across most of the nation's key cattle grazing areas are greening up pastures and refilling farm ponds. That's fueling optimism among ranchers that they may soon begin the difficult process of rebuilding herds decimated by years of drought.
The parts of the nation that encompass the vast majority of the grazing lands for cattle have seen improving pasture conditions.
Extension beef specialist Glynn Tonsor says week-to-week cow slaughter numbers were still fairly high 90 days ago. More recently they have been down. He says ranchers sending cows to market are doing so by choice. It's no longer the case that there isn't pasture for them to be on.
He says ranchers are now at the point of thinking about rebuilding herds.