Beef Market Advisor

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


At this time last year, many cattle producers were faced with difficult
decisions due to drought as pasture and range conditions were considered
poor to very poor in many parts of the country. Even though it is the
beginning of the summer grazing period, there is some good news as early
season pasture and range conditions in the U.S. are reported as being better
than a year ago. The key factor for pasture conditions this year will be
adequate and timely summer moisture.

USDA's national weekly pasture and range condition report (published as
part of the Weekly Weather and Crop Progress Bulletin) resumed in early May.
In the report, state and national conditions are reported in percentages by
five categories (Very Poor, Poor, Fair, Good and Excellent). Data for the
report come from weekly state surveys of Extension staff and other local

Current national pasture and range conditions are better than last
year. About three-quarters of the U.S. pasture and range is rated Fair or
Good, while less than a quarter is rated Very Poor or Poor. Normally, at the
beginning of May, about 77 percent of the U.S. pasture and range is rated
Fair or Good with 14 percent reported in the worst two categories. Although
the amount of pasture and range rated Very Poor or Poor is slightly higher
than the normal average, overall national conditions are much improved from

On a regional basis, the West is in a much better position than last
year with about 23 percent of range and pasture being Very Poor or Poor
compared to 35 percent a year ago. The Great Plains and Southern Plains are
similar to last year with the majority of pasture and range land reported as
Fair to Good with improvements in the excellent category over last year.
However, the U.S. Drought Monitor released May 1st, by the National Climatic
Data Center showed many areas of the West and Central and Northern Plains
are still suffering from moderate to extreme drought conditions while some
areas in Texas are abnormally dry for this time of the year.

posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 2:05 PM [edit]

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