Historically Poor Pasture Conditions to Hit Beef Supplies Ahead


Oklahoma Farm Report

11 May 2022


As we enter May, the latest national crop progress report shows over 50% of pasture and range conditions are rated poor to very poor. Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays talks about how these conditions are impacting cattle producers with Oklahoma State University’s Extension Specialist for Livestock Marketing, Derrell Peel.


“This is by far the worst conditions we have started on in terms of this particular day in this series,” Peel said. “Only once before have we ever started the May reporting of these pasture and range conditions with more than 40% poor to very poor.”


The last time was actually last year, Peel said, and only one time before that, in 2013, have we ever started with more than 30% in the poor to very poor category.


“We started the very first week with, I think, 56% of the country in poor to very poor conditions,” Peel said. “So obviously, we are starting in a really big hole in terms of the drought conditions that we have and where we go from here.”


When you start the spring with drought conditions, Peel said you typically do not have a lot of carryover hay supplies, particularly since we had so much drought last year in a lot of regions.


“So, you really have nothing to work with and if you don’t get any forage production at all at the beginning of the year,” Peel said.


Peel said in this case it could be an entire year before things improve.


“You have very little flexibility,” Peel said. “You have nothing to work with, to begin with.”


Peel said we face considerable prospects for a significant reduction in the herd this year in relative terms because of the widespread conditions.


“Now, obviously in parts of Oklahoma, we got some rain last week,” Peel said. “That is going to help in some regions.”


There will be sporadic improvements in some areas, Peel said, so it will be a continuum...


more, including audio [6:19 min.]