Recent precipitation in the Plains States has greatly improved pasture conditions and could solidify grazing plans over the next several months. Improved pasture conditions will provide forages for the low cow inventory. As a result, fewer cows are likely to be slaughtered until fall. Improved pasture conditions will also provide a longer grazing season, allowing feeder cattle to gain weight prior to placement in feedlots. The longer pasture time will leave fewer cattle for placement in feedlots until the fall end of the grazing season. Despite issues with planting, recent precipitation will likely have a positive effect on corn and soybean yields, which could keep feed prices low through the latter part of 2015 and most of 2016.
Recent storms and flooding have impacted both Texas and Oklahoma. The ground in many regions is reported to be completely saturated; with lakes and reservoirs having reached their capacities. The weekly summary of the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s State Crop Progress and Condition report for May 25-31, (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/State_Crop_Progress_and_Condition/) reported that Texas received upwards of 10 inches of rain and Oklahoma chalked up the wettest May since 1921. The June 2, 2015, U.S. Drought Monitor showed drought intensity in Texas and Oklahoma reduced to D0 (“Abnormally Dry”) compared with earlier weeks showing the same regions with D3 (“Extreme Drought” levels) (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/). As a result of the recent storms, the Southern Plains pasture conditions are improving and plantings have been interrupted or delayed, while hay that has been cut but not yet baled is likely to be of poor quality. California and parts of the West remain in one of their worst droughts.