Pasture and range conditions ending on slightly sour note

U.S. will close out the grazing season with mixed results.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

October 17, 2023

2 Min Read

Pasture and condition ratings for the U.S. are ending the year on a slightly sour note, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). USDA’s weekly “Crop Progress” report over the last several weeks has shown U.S. pasture and range in poor to very poor condition anywhere from 32%-39%.

LMIC explains that typically range and pasture conditions rated poor and very poor this time of year are around 30%. Range and pasture conditions for the western region of the U.S. are tracking similar to last year with ratings just above 30% rated as poor and very poor while condition ratings for the Great Plains region have been doing better than a year ago and the five-year average. The last several weeks have ranged from about 16%-26% rated as poor and very poor, compared to over 50% at this time last year.

The southern U.S. has also seen range and pasture conditions improved in recent weeks. The Southern Plains region hit 60% rated poor and very poor in early-September but ratings are now below 50%. The southeast region of the U.S. reached 29% rated poor and very poor during the week ending Oct. 8. Ratings have been trending higher each week since August with ratings easily above last year and the five-year average. The rating for the Corn Belt region for the week ending Oct. 8 was 39% rated as poor and very poor, which is above the five-year average of the mid-20% area.

“The U.S. will close out the grazing season with mixed results with some pastures much better off than a year ago and others far worse,” says LMIC. “Hay supplies across the U.S. have improved though, with the national yield and production numbers increasing. Stocks may still be tight by historical standards, but for the most part it seems the U.S. was able to have not only a better grazing year, but also was able to rebuild hay inventory.”

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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