Rainfall that swept through portions of the state this week should help improve wheat pastures used for stocker cattle grazing, according to Texas Cooperative Extension reports.
Prior to the rain showers, calf prices were adjusting accordingly to slow-growing wheat pastures.
“Wheat pasture (market) cattle are moving slowly due to slow development of wheat pasture and high wheat prices,” said Dr. David Anderson, Extension livestock marketing economist in College Station.
“That’s led to a little more weakness in mid-weight calves,” he said. “Heavier-weight and light-weight calf prices are holding up better than mid-weight calves.”
The following are condition reports from Extension officials:
PANHANDLE: Temperatures above normal most of the week. Isolated thunderstorms brought rain to some areas. The soil moisture is short to adequate. The corn harvest is almost complete; yields looking good. Elevators are full. Cotton ranges from very poor to excellent with most areas reporting good. Cotton harvested in some areas. Peanuts are rated fair to excellent with most areas reporting good; harvest continues. Most areas reported sorghum in the mature stage and rated it fair. Harvest has begun in some fields. Soybeans are rated good, and being harvested. Sunflower harvest continues. Wheat ranges from fair to good with most areas reporting fair. Wheat is beginning to enter emerged stage. Range and pasture conditions range from very poor to good with most areas reporting fair. Cattle are in good condition.
SOUTH PLAINS: Severe weather in Castro and Hale counties reported. Hail destroyed some fields in the eastern portion of Castro County. In the western portion of Hale County, an estimated 30,000 acres of cotton were damaged with almost 10,000 acres lost. Structural damage to homes, vehicles, equipment and center pivot sprinkler systems from wind and hail reported. Corn harvest nearing completion with record yields reported in food corn and feed grains, corn and grain sorghum. Cotton harvest under way with good yields reported. Grain sorghum harvest continues - good yields reported. Peanut harvest in full swing, most peanuts should be dug in next 10 days. Pumpkin harvest nearing completion and yields continue to be above average; strong demand. Winter wheat is in good condition and growth and development steady. Pastures and ranges in fair to good condition. Cattle conditions are good with some light supplemental feeding.
ROLLING PLAINS: Dry conditions continue across much of the region. Producers raising concerns over early planted wheat; what has emerged is suffering and in desperate need of rain. The region experienced cooler temperatures. Cotton farmers are spraying cotton. Small grains are in need of moisture for further growth. Pasture forage decreasing due to cooler temperatures. Livestock are in good condition. Armyworms starting to cycle out, but can be found in localized areas around the district. Grasshoppers are becoming more of a problem, especially along fences, ditches and waterways. Aphids still present, but not posing much of a problem at this time. Planting has all but stopped as producers wait on moisture before resuming field activities. Cotton harvest has begun. Stock tanks are holding up well; pastures still maintaining adequate forage. Stocker operators waiting on fall pasture to turn cattle out on. Pecan harvest will start soon; crop is good.
NORTH: Soil moisture adequate to short. The weather has been unseasonably warm with scattered showers in some areas. Rain is needed for small grains to emerge. Some hay still being baled to clean up meadows. Hay clinics held showed the quality was about 3 percent to 4 percent below normal due to over maturity when harvested. Most wheat producers are getting fields prepared. Some are waiting to plant wheat because of the potential for a Hessian fly outbreak. Some producers are harvesting sorghum for silage, no grain. Because of needed rain, some winter pastures are on hold until some moisture is received; in other areas, winter and spring pasture seeding is underway. Livestock are in fair condition.
EAST: Hot, dry conditions continue. Winter pastures are being planted in some areas but on smaller scale. Other producers are waiting on rainfall before planting. Winter pastures in the ground are suffering from too little moisture. Hay baling continues but are coming to an end with good yields and fair quality. Cattle are in good condition. In Wood County, horn flies still a problem, but armyworm problems have decreased. Calf weaning continues with beef prices declining somewhat. Homeowners are winterizing lawns.
FAR WEST: Soil moisture very short to adequate. Range and pastures vary from very poor to good condition. Cotton and peanuts are in poor to excellent condition. Winter wheat is in good condition. Oats are in fair condition. Widely scattered showers reported. Cotton continues to defoliate and harvest has started with preliminary yields from early fields good. Area farmers have been spraying harvest aids. Cotton gins are preparing for harvest. Some wheat planting activities are taking place. Maize harvest is still in progress.
WEST CENTRAL: Daytime temperatures cooling down. Rain needed in many areas. Soil moisture is starting to decline. Cotton harvest is under way. Producers continue to defoliate cotton. Producers feel this year’s cotton crop will be very good. Wheat is being planted in some areas. Greenbug and armyworm problems are being reported in wheat fields. Hay fields have been baled or grazed out. Some hay fields have been plowed for small grain planting. Range and pastures are still doing well. Livestock remain in fair to good condition.
CENTRAL: Small grain growers are striving to control fall armyworms. Corn harvest is complete and growers are preparing fields for spring planting. Rainfall is needed across the district. Livestock are in good condition.
SOUTHEAST: Most of the fields in the county received rainfall, which should increase topsoil moisture for planting of winter grasses. Soil moisture too short to do much planting. Temperatures are cool enough to encourage planting activity. Most first crop rice has been harvested. Preparations for second crop are under way.
SOUTHWEST: Year-to-date rainfall remains at 30 percent above the long-term average, but the region has been completely dry for more than 40 days. Forage availability remains above average for this time of the year. Grasses showing stress and soils are starting to crack from dryness. Farmers irrigating fall crops.
COASTAL BEND: Cotton harvest is nearing completion. Rain delayed harvest of late fields for some producers. The late cotton fields are producing better yields than earlier harvest reports. Hay – though plentiful – is being cut. Livestock are in good condition.
SOUTH: Soil moisture conditions throughout most of the region still adequate. Vegetable planting activities continued in the central portions of the region. Sugarcane harvesting for the season has begun. Spinach, cabbage and onion planting active west of the region, Oat and wheat producers busy pre-watering for planting crops, while dryland producers holding off for a chance of rainfall to help begin planting. Range and pasture conditions have been ideal for grazing with a combination of warm season forage and early growing and cool season vegetation. Good to excellent livestock conditions remain as a result of good vegetation.