Pasture conditions are awesome. Look for longer grazing this year.
There’s a silver lining to all the dark clouds that have dumped too much rain and snow on beef producers this winter and spring. And it’s this: If your pastures aren’t under water, they’re in remarkably good shape. The unusual weather this spring has produced one of the best pasture conditions of the last 25 years, according to the Daily Livestock Report.
As part of its weekly Crop Conditions report, USDA-NASS publishes conditions across pastures and ranges. For the week ending June 16, 56% of the pastures and ranges across the country were in good condition and another 15% were in excellent condition. Last year, only 48% of pastures and ranges were in good/excellent condition, 23 points lower than this year. Alternatively, just 1% of pastures, mostly in California, were rated to be in poor condition this year.
However, the spring weather could potentially affect the amount of corn produced this year. High forward feed costs directly impact the price feedlots are willing/able to pay for calves during the summer and fall. Higher cost of gain in the feedlot and plentiful grass make it economically desirable to add as much weight on calves as possible outside the feedlot. That could potentially result in a slowdown of placements in the short term and calves placed at heavier weights down the road. The net effect could be a slowdown in the cattle flow and lower slaughter rate.
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