Drought persists in much of the West and the Southern Plains, after a respite earlier in the year (Oct. 6, 2015 U.S. Drought Monitor). The October 6, 2015, U.S. Drought Monitor projected dry conditions to continue for the near term in Oklahoma and Eastern Texas. Through the week ending October 11, 2015, USDA Crop Progress reported that 23 percent of pasture and range conditions in the Lower 48 were rated as poor or very poor, slightly worse than the same time the previous year. California, Oregon, and Washington each reported roughly 60 percent of their pasture and range conditions as poor or very poor. Ongoing drought could continue to adversely impact grazing in this region.

Despite abundant rainfall early in 2015, the recent lack of precipitation in the Southern Plains area may have an adverse impact on potential wheat pasture. For the first week of October, Oklahoma made the least progress in its winter wheat plantings but has caught up, according to the Crop Progress report for the week ending October 11, 2015. It was reported that 65 percent of winter wheat was planted in Oklahoma, down 12 percent compared with the same time last year and 1 percent below the 2010-2014 average. Texas reported 48 percent of its winter wheat planted, down 14 percent year over year and down 10 percent compared with the 4- year average. Many stocker operations depend on winter wheat grazing, but the current lack of rain has significantly delayed winter wheat emergence in the Southern Plains.