Is It Time to Pull Stocker Cattle Off Wheat Pasture?

February 26, 2016 11:33 AM

Warm weather is coming and that means cattle producers grazing wheat in the Southern Plains have a decision to make: should they stay or should they go?

Temperatures already started heating up late last week in areas of western Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma reaching 80°F and higher. There are reports of fields with hollow stems, meaning cattle need to be pulled off.

Low wheat prices may mean some people will decide to graze their wheat instead of harvesting, says Derrell Peel, livestock marketing specialist with Oklahoma State Extension.

“If they’ve set it up right in terms of the way they got to this point then they have that flexibility to make that judgment,” Peel adds. “They’ll have to make that call in the next few days.”

Stocker cattle prices in the Southern Plains have been on the rise. On Wednesday, Oklahoma National Stockyards reported feeder and stocker steers under 800 lb. averaged $5.00-10.00/cwt. higher.

The USDA report went on to say, “Demand is especially good for lighter fleshed cattle to turn back out on graze-out wheat.”

Peel echoes those thoughts expecting demand for stocker calves to pick up as the spring temperatures and favorable grazing weather continues in the region. 

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