Rain Hampers Wheat Planting, Grazing: Economist

Rain earlier this month hampered Oklahoma’s fall harvest activity and wheat pasture grazing, but sunshine late last week raising hopes that fields will dry so both can get back on track, said Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Specialist Derrell Peel in a letter to Extension agents.

At least some rain is in the forecast in the coming days, confirming that it has been an unusual fall, Peel said.  According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, the last 30 days has been the second wettest for the period with a statewide average of 187% of normal precipitation.

The last 90 days has been the wettest on record for the period, with a statewide average of 173% of normal precipitation, he said.

All nine climate divisions in the state reported 90-day percentages well above normal, Peel said.  The least wet areas have been the northeast and east central climate divisions of the state at 122% and 134% of normal, respectively.  The south central region was the highest at 249% of normal in the last 90 days.




Wheat producers who did not get planting done early have struggled to get it done, Peel said.  The weekly National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop progress report for the week ending Oct. 7, 60% of Oklahoma wheat was planted, ahead of the five-year average of 56%.

However, the report for Oct. 14 showed that planting had advanced only six percentage points to 66%, behind the five-year average of 70%.  (And the report for Oct. 21 showed planting at 75% done, compared with the average of 81%.)

Good moisture is helping wheat emergence, though Peel said.  Wheat emerged in the week of Oct. 14 was 50%, ahead of the five-year average of 43% for Oklahoma, and up from 28% the prior week.  (For the week ended Oct. 21, Oklahoma’s wheat emergence stood at 62%, compared with the average of 60%.)




Some wheat that was planted early is getting close to being ready to graze, Peel said, but some producers have struggled to get cattle ready.  Wet, sloppy conditions make health challenges worse, and producers have backed off of purchases.

Some cattle sellers also have had trouble gathering and getting cattle to market, he said.  After a huge cattle run the first week of October, Oklahoma auction volumes the past two weeks has been 28% lower year over year.

Stocker cattle auction prices have held steady the past two weeks after dropping a bit from the late September counter-seasonal increase, he said.

If conditions improve, feeder runs can be expected to increase seasonally in the next month, but it appears that considerable wheat pasture grazing demand remains and may help balance bigger seasonal supplies, Peel said.




The USDA reports that five-area cattle have traded this week at $111 to $112 per cwt on a live basis, up $0.50 to $1 from last week, and at $174 to $175.50 on a dressed basis, steady to up $0.50 from last week.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was up $1.71 per cwt at $213.10, while select was up $0.49 at $198.31.  The choice/select spread widened to $14.79 from $13.57 with 75 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

There were six steer delivery tenders Thursday at zero.  There was one steer retender at two, with no other retenders, demands or reclaims.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday, was $153.65 per cwt, down $1.28.  This compares with Thursday’s Oct settlement of $153.97, down $0.65, and the Nov settlement of $153.95, down $1.97.