While Oregon's farmers and ranchers grossed an estimated $4.9 billion in 2008 - the sixth consecutive year of sales growth - cattle sales in that state declined, according to a new report by Oregon State University.
Cattle sales fell 6.6% because of drops in inventory and prices, according to James Males, the head of OSU's animal sciences department.
Additionally, because of volatile calf prices, many producers retained ownership of their calves even after they were sent to the feedlot, meaning that those sales won't show up until this year, said Chad Mueller, a beef cattle expert at OSU's research center in Union.
Nevertheless, cattle still managed to make their way to the top of the sales list with $664 million. On their tails, in second place, were nursery crops (excluding greenhouse crops, which are estimated separately). Nursery stock sales wilted by a substantial 10.8% to $624.5 million because of reduced shipments at lower grower prices.
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