Winter wheat issues in Oklahoma could disrupt the national cattle markets

Oklahoma is the fifth largest cattle producer in the nation. The snow they are getting now is not a drought buster and hopes are fading for a good winter wheat pasture crop.

Oklahoma State University Extension livestock market economist, Dr. Derrell Peel says that poor winter wheat would not just be limited to the local areas affected by the drought, but it would impact the national cattle market.

According to Dr. Peel, “We’re at kind of a critical stage right now. The door is closing pretty rapidly on winter wheat pasture here. We’ve got quite a bit of wheat that’s in, a lot of it’s up, and actually, some of it still looks okay, but it’s beginning to go backwards pretty quickly. So, if we don’t get some significant moisture in just the next few days, then we’re really going to lose possibilities for decent winter forage.”

Peel says that what happens this time of year in the southern plains can disrupt the national cattle price outlook.

“We are home to a lot of cattle from around the country at this time of the year. So, that’s one of the factors that’s kind of weighing on markets right now. Of course, it’s the time of year when we expect some seasonal pressure, but in the central and southern plains, if we have good wheat pasture conditions, that sort of offsets that seasonal low,” he adds. “We’re seeing a little bit more of that pressure right now, partly because of the dry conditions, partly because we’ve got some other things happening in cattle and beef markets that are also weighing in on the market a little bit.”

If there is little or no winter wheat pasture this year, Peel says that it could change the timing for feeder cattle to enter the supply chain.