We received a few showers to a half inch of rain over parts of the county last week. Temperatures dropped when the front blew in on Thursday night and the temp Saturday morning was right around 32 degrees in parts of the county and from what I hear a few low-lying areas a degree or two colder than that! The grass is headed south anyway this time of year and growth, if any, will be very slow from now on. We didn’t get as much moisture with the front as we had hoped for as many wheat farmers had to replant many of their fields and a little more rain would have been nice to insure good germination. It just depends on where you’re at as some fields had some moisture at re-planting, hopefully enough to get it up, and some could use more moisture. I was in the western and southern half of the county last Friday and the majority of fields were a do over because of poor stands. Some tried to spot plant but as one farmer said by the time he was finished he had went over the majority of the field anyway. Another said he just gave up trying to spot plant and just did the entire field all over again. I did see a few wheat fields here and there that had a decent stand but it was pale and didn’t look all that great. Some were sprayed for Fall Armyworms and some of those fields the worms really hurt it. So a decision had to be made as to whether it would recover or to just re-plant, and most replanted. Grazing wheat is nonexistent right now so stocker operators that have calves have them on warm season grass pastures and they look pretty good for the most part, with a lot more grass in pastures than most years. The stocker numbers are low and will be for a good while until we get some winter pastures ready. There have been a few Cow calf operators that have weaned their calves but most of those folks that did so are going to hold and background them for 45-60 days and add some value to them and hope for a better price. Others have weaning on their minds but with this extra grass are holding them a little longer this time. Most of the time the market numbers are picking up this time of year as calves come to town, but that’s not the case so far. The low prices are just one reason, and with no winter pastures ready, there is not much demand for them. The other reasons being we have ample grass and over supply of hay this year so ranchers feel they can hold their calves a little longer and the majority are doing just that. An increase in market prices would sure be nice, but don’t hold your breath!
In the markets as of October 12- The cattle future market was up $2 on fats and feeders. Slaughter cattle traded steady at $107, Oct live cattle up $2 at $109.50 while Oct feeder steers were up $2 at $144. Feedyard closeouts didn’t bleed as much red ink this week at <$156>. Steer and heifer calves were too lightly tested for an accurate trend. That said, most 600lb #1 steer calves remained steady at $1.52(unweaned $1.42) and same weight #1 heifers averaged from $1.35-1.42(unweaned $1.22-1.32). Slaughter cows up a couple dollars on more attractive cows but lower on boner and lean cows. Good average yielding 1300 lb cows going for $57-66 and 1800 lb bulls up a couple dollars at $78-86. Good Coastal Bermuda Hay is hanging around $60-70 per roll and $6-10 for squares.
Marty Morgan is Cooke County Ag Agent for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Reach him at 940-668-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.