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CME: Range, Pasture Conditions Best in Years at July-end

01 August 2019

US - Range and pasture conditions as July comes to an end continue to be the best in many years, although normal seasonal deterioration is underway, reports Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

This is most notable in the Southern Plains (Oklahoma and Texas), as temperatures in mid- July have been hotter than average. Hot weather has also been an issue in states to the north and east of the Southern Plains, such as Kansas, Nebraska and the Cornbelt, but ample rains in prior months still leave a legacy of surplus topsoil moisture in those areas.

For the week ended 21 July, percent of topsoil in Texas and Oklahoma rated in surplus was only 1-2 percent while Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana topsoil rated having a surplus was 11-12 percent. South Dakota topsoil rated in surplus condition stood at 30 percent.

Kansas is on the cusp of changing pasture conditions, as topsoil conditions are only slightly better (3 percent rated surplus) than Texas and Oklahoma. During July, Kansas pastures rated good to excellent slipped from 75 percent to 69 percent but pastures rated poor or very poor only increased from 4 percent to 5 percent. This compares with the Southern Plains pastures rated poor or very poor in July that went from 5 percent to 11 percent over the course of the month.

States with 40 percent of pasture and range rated good or excellent account for 95 percent of the beef cow herd, as of the end of July. A year ago, only half of the beef cows were in states with pastures in a similar condition to this year. At the other end of the spectrum, only 2 percent of the beef cow herd is in states with pastures rated poor or very poor (California), compared to 31 percent a year ago.

Changing pasture conditions did not seem to have a big impact on feeder cattle trade volumes during July. Auction receipts during the four weeks of the month were down 9 percent from a year earlier. Weekly beef cow slaughter, which was up 3 percent from a year earlier during June, ran below a year earlier during the first two weeks of July. Price impacts in the feeder cattle market were also minimal with the relationship between calf and yearling prices holding steady (basis the Oklahoma City auction).


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