BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana ranchers with little grass to feed livestock are selling off their calves early after suffering the worst drought in the U.S.

The Billings Gazette reported Sunday that eastern Montana ranchers are coping with drought-scorched pasture land with little green for cattle to chew on.

Sales tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Marketing Service more than 40,000 cattle have moved through auction barns in Miles City and Billings since July.

Stockyards have moved 6,000 animals more than they did during the same weeks in 2016 and 11,000 more than in 2015.

The eastern two thirds of the state suffered the worst drought in the nation last summer.

___

Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com