Native bluestem pasture in Kansas has fallen in price the last two years for many producers renting grass, but the rates are still significantly higher than six years ago.
Results have been released from the 2015 Bluestem Pasture Report, a survey conducted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University Department of Ag Economics. Responses are generated from a 14-county region in the Flint Hills. The survey was conducted from July through November.
While lease rates to graze cattle were down when comparing 2015 to 2013, rates are still up historically. In 2006, the average lease price per head was $67.90 for stocker cattle under 700 lb. Three years later it was just $69.10/head. By 2013 the rate had climbed to $87.50/head. Prices have softened and were at $83.80/head last year.
The average lease rate for full summer season contracts when combining with care and without care contracts was $85/head on stocker cattle under 700 lb., down $2.50/head from 2013. Cow-calf pairs saw a drop of $3.24/pair compared to 2013. In 2015, leases averaged $147.96/pair.
Leased ground on an acreage basis saw a slight drop from 2013 when the last survey was conducted. Combined lease rates in the 14-county area averaged $21.06 in 2015, compared to $21.10 two years ago.
One area where lease rates increased was for producers who graze cows and calves year-round. On average, it cost $21.21/acre for a full year pasture lease in 2015. Two-years before it budgeted at $19.30/acre to graze cows and calves.
To dive deeper into the lease rates and cost of grazing in the Flint Hills go to the 2015 Kansas Pasture Survey.