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Agricultural News

Recent Rainfalls Play Different Roles for Wheat and for Cattle

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 11:01:57 CST

Recent Rainfalls Play Different Roles for Wheat and for Cattle Much of Oklahoma has received significant rain in the past couple of weeks and more is expected this week. According to Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, the rain has improved everyone's mood and any rain anytime is appreciated at this point. However, the real value of the rain in the short run depends on who and where you are.   

From a wheat crop perspective, the rains are very beneficial and have improved crop conditions. Last week, the percent of wheat emerged had nearly caught up to the average for the date and only 15 percent of the crop was rated in poor or very poor condition. It does appear that some wheat will be available for grazing and some will be grazed despite being smaller than optimal because of the desperate need for feed. Most of the wheat will be used for cows and perhaps replacement heifers rather than for stockers, especially purchased stockers.

Beyond wheat, the rain at this time changes little from a cattle perspective. Current moisture may be beneficial for Fescue or other cool season grasses in the eastern part of the state but not much other forage production will happen at this point. More importantly, in the short run, the rain so far has not replenished stock water in ponds. However, with some moisture in the ground, there is a better chance that rains this week will result in some runoff to restore ponds. Lack of water will likely be the biggest factor behind additional cattle liquidation in the coming months without heavy rains.

Both feeder and cull cow prices are increasing. The auction volumes last week in Oklahoma for both feeder cattle and cows were 10 percent or less higher than the same time last year. That is the lowest year to year increase in several months. Feeder prices have been higher for the past few weeks and cull cow prices appear to have bottomed in late October and are likely to move sideways to higher for the remainder of the year. Two OQBN sales have been completed with several more scheduled in November and December. Preliminary analysis suggests that the value added price premiums are significant for certified preconditioned calves. Volumes for the OQBN sales are holding remarkably well despite the drought conditions, though the sales so far have had a larger than typical mix of heifers relative to steers. This likely reflects the drought forced early sales of many of the steer calves.

Our thanks to Dr. Derrell Peel for providing this article over rainfall and what it means for the cattle market. This article was part of the Cow-Calf Corner Newsletter which is sent out by Dr. Peel and Dr. Glenn Selk on most Mondays.



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