Oklahoma Farm Report masthead graphic with wheat on the left and cattle on the right.
Howdy Neighbors!
Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network  |  2401 Exchange Ave, Suite F, Oklahoma City, Ok 73108  |  (405) 601-9211


Agricultural News

Extended Winter Storm Impacts Cattle, Cowboys and Markets

Tue, 16 Feb 2021 10:52:31 CST

Extended Winter Storm Impacts Cattle, Cowboys and Markets Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, offers his economic analysis of the beef cattle industry. This analysis is a part of the weekly series known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by Dr. Peel and Dr. Glenn Selk. Today, Dr. Peel talks about the extended Winter Storm.

A massive and extended winter blast has engulfed the southern plains before spreading across much of the Delta and mid-south then ultimately affecting most of the eastern half of the country. The extended cold temperatures began a week ago with most of Oklahoma already enduring continuous sub-freezing temperatures for 150 to over 200 hours as of Monday morning (February 15). Temperatures in early week are reaching record sub-zero levels with wind chill values of -25 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing for at least another 100 hours. Snow totals of four to ten inches have accumulated with more snow expected mid-week. This storm is unprecedented in Oklahoma due to both the record cold temperatures and the duration of cold. Iím having flashbacks to my formative years caring for cattle in Montana winters.

The brunt of the storm impacts are directly borne by cattle producers who are struggling to provide water and feed access for cattle. These conditions require near continuous efforts to chop ice and provide feed. Cattle nutritional requirements are sharply boosted in this weather and producers must consider both the quantity and quality of feed. Cattle will not be physically able to consume enough medium to low quality hay to provide sufficient energy in these conditions and must receive additional supplement or high quality hay. In some cases, deep snow may prevent cattle from accessing standing forage, especially since Oklahoma cattle are not used to foraging through snow.

If there is a silver lining in this storm, it is that conditions are cold but relatively dry. The snow that has fallen has not, for the most part, penetrated the hair coat of cattle keeping the hide dry. With adequate feed and water, cattle can handle this type of cold weather relatively well. These conditions are more typical of the central and northern plains and Rocky Mountain areas. Areas south and east of Oklahoma are receiving rain and ice ahead of snow, producing more dangerous hypothermia conditions typical of winter storms in the south.

This storm is likely ahead of most calving in Oklahoma but if calving is in progress, the extreme cold is a significant risk. Newborn calves can experience frozen ears and tails, marking them for life as a cold weather survivor. These calves are frequently discounted at marketing due to buyer fears of foot damage and other injuries that may impact the calves later in life. Once calves are dry and feeding they can endure the cold, dry weather pretty well and may, in fact, be insulated by dry fluffy snow when bedded down.

Several auction markets in Oklahoma and other areas closed last week and many will be closed this week. Oklahoma feeder cattle prices dropped three to ten percent last week with lower demand more than offsetting sharply reduced sales volumes. Wheat pasture cattle and other stockers are no doubt experiencing reduced gains or even weight loss in these conditions. Many cattle grazing dual-purpose wheat will need to be removed and marketed in the next two to three weeks, very likely a bit lighter in weight than expected.

Feedlot cattle are no doubt impacted as well and the market effects will be apparent over time. Reduced performance will show up as lower carcass weights in the coming weeks. The residual impacts of this historic weather event will likely effect cattle markets for several weeks.



WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI


Top Agricultural News

  • Don't Miss the Made In Oklahoma Store at the Oklahoma State Fair  Sat, 18 Sep 2021 05:06:39 CDT
  • NASDA Announces Ted McKinney as Chief Executive Officer  Fri, 17 Sep 2021 16:39:09 CDT
  • Congressman Frank Lucas Cosponsors Resolution Supporting Voluntary, Locally-Led Conservation  Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:44:48 CDT
  • PCCA Announces Year-End Cash Distributions of More Than $21 Million to Grower-Owners  Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:40:34 CDT
  • NCBA Confident in U.S. Cattle Record, Urges Open Dialogue on Methane Target  Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:37:06 CDT
  • USDA Announces United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board Appointments  Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:34:34 CDT
  • At Texas Tech Researchers Develop Interactive Virtual Tours to Bring Food and Ag Sciences to Students  Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:31:12 CDT
  • Oklahoma Grain Elevator Cash Bids as of 2 p.m. Friday, September 17, 2021  Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:26:23 CDT

  • More Headlines...


    Ron salutes our daily email sponsors!

    Oklahoma Beef council Oklahoma Ag Credit Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Livestock Credit Ag Mediation Program P&K Equipment Tulsa Farm Show Union Mutual Stillwater Milling Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association KIS FUTURES, INC.


    Search OklahomaFarmReport.com

    © 2008-2021 Oklahoma Farm Report
    Email Ron   |   Newsletter Signup   |    Current Spots   |    Program Links

    WebReady powered by WireReady® Inc.