OSU's Derrell Peel Takes a Look at At Cattle and Market Conditions Aound The StateMon, 20 Feb 2012 13:23:57 CST
Spring has not quite sprung in Oklahoma, though it is hard to tell since we have had very little you could call winter. Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist says it is acting more like spring with increasing temperatures and more wind. He analyzes the current condition of the state’s livestock and what can be expected for the future:
Much of the state has received moisture recently and conditions are generally much better than this time last year. Stock pond water levels remain very low, however, in many places.
Wheat pasture, though it started late, has done very well this winter and so have the cattle grazing it. Most of the wheat varieties in Oklahoma are at or very near first hollow stem stage, which means that cattle must be removed immediately in order to preserve grain yields. I do not expect to see much market impact from a “wheat pasture run” for several of reasons. First, overall grazing numbers are fairly limited. Secondly, I suspect, though I do not have any data to confirm, that significant numbers of heifers are grazing wheat that will be retained for replacements and third, much of the wheat that is being grazed is intended for forage only and will be grazed out.
Feeder cattle prices in Oklahoma are leaving many producers (and lenders) breathless. Based on last week’s auction prices, a 500 pound, medium/large #1 steer was priced at about $190/cwt. or $950/head. Just as we talk about the corn market trying to buy acres for corn production, it seems the market is trying to buy some heifer retention. Various data sets suggest that the annual cow cost for most producers is in the range of $600-700/cow/year. Upwards of $250/head in returns per cow should be enough to stimulate some interest in herd expansion.
It will take another 4-6 weeks to really see what kind of spring is in store for Oklahoma. If conditions are good when green up really takes off, the replacement female market will likewise take off. At the current time, bred heifer and cows; and cow-calf pairs are priced significantly below current markets farther north. I expect this gap to close by late March if green grass is happening by that time. Bred cows in Oklahoma are currently priced mostly in the range of $1000-$1475 per head. Prices for young bred cows in Nebraska were reported last week in the range of $1275-$2375/head. Bred heifers in Nebraska were reported in the range of $1350-$2110 last week.
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