Poor Wheat Grazing not Expected to Impact Calf Placements

10:51AM Nov 15, 2012
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The 2012-13 hard red winter (HRW) wheat crop is off to a rough start.

The market is paying closest attention to crop conditions in Kansas where 92% of the crop had emerged as of Nov. 11. That compares to a five-year average emergence of 87%. USDA rates the Kansas winter wheat crop 4% very poor; 17% poor; 46% fair; 32% good; and just 1% of the Kansas HRW crop is rated excellent.

Overall, the Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index (CCI) is at 295 (0 to 500 scale), compared to 336 last year at this time.

Cow-calf producers and feeder cattle backgrounders in the Plains tell us very few acres of HRW wheat are being used for fall grazing and won’t be unless some rain falls in the very near-term. So far, that has not forced a "flush" of lighter-weight calves into feedlots, and ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report traders still didn’t expect rapid movement of calves into feedlots.

Feeder cattle producers, however, warn us a flush is coming — if it doesn’t rain. If it does rain (not in the forecast), feeder cattle producers are prepared to background calves to provide feedlots with the heavyweight calves they want the most.