My View From The Country

Some Rain -- Finally!

It doesn't change anything for cow-calf operations that shipped cows months ago, but the rain that fell in some of the most parched states -- the first measurable precipitation in months -- sure has some folks thinking about the prospects of fall grazing.

According to the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), pasture conditions actually improved in some of the driest states for the first time since last year. That doesn't mean it's not horrible, just that it's heading in the right direction.

In part due to remnants of tropical storms Ernesto and John, the folks at NASS explain, "Light to moderate rainfall across much of the Corn Belt and Great Plains helped to improve soil-moisture levels and crop conditions."

At the risk of being a spoilsport, last summer ended on a wet note, too. Moisture conditions were more favorable then before the rain set in then stopped.

According to NASS, for the week ending Sept. 3:

  • Corn -- 97% is at or beyond the Dough Stage, compared to 96% last year and 92% for the five-year average. Doughing was at or ahead of normal in all states. 81% has entered the Dent Stage, which is 4% ahead of last year and 14% ahead of average. 59% is rated Good or better, compared to 51% last year.
  • Soybeans -- 13% of the acreage was dropping leaves, the same as last year but 1% ahead of normal. 59% is rated Good or better; 54% was at the same time last year.
  • Spring Wheat -- 97% of the crop is in the bin, which is 9% ahead of last year and 17% ahead of the five-year average.
  • Barley -- Harvest advanced to 93% complete, compared to 87% at this time last year and 83% for normal.
  • Sorghum -- 94% of the acreage is in the heading stage, which is 1% behind last year but 2% ahead of normal. 62% was at or beyond turning color, 2% ahead of last year but the same as average. 30% is ranked Good or better, compared to 47% last year.
  • Pasture -- 24% is rated Good or Excellent, compared to 34 last year. 24% is rated Poor and 23% is ranked Very Poor, compared to 22% and 12% respectively at the same time last year.
States with the worst pasture conditions -- at least 40% of the acreage rated poor or worse -- include: Alabama (67%); Arizona (67%); Arkansas (49%); California (65%); Colorado (42%); Georgia (46%); Kansas (50%); Louisiana (45%) ; Mississippi (49%); Missouri (64%); Montana (48%); Nebraska (65%); Nevada (58%); North Dakota (61%); Oklahoma (74%); OR (49%); South Dakota (56%); Texas (78%); and Wyoming (73%).

States with the lushest pasture conditions -- at least 40% rated good or better -- include: Florida (40%); Idaho (41%); Illinois (58%); Indiana (59%); Iowa (50%); Kentucky (60%); Maine (89%); Michigan (52%); New Mexico (66%); New York (66%); North Carolina (54%); Ohio (53%); South Carolina (51%); Utah (47%); Washington (46%); West Virginia (48%); and Wisconsin (44%).

What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contribur Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

Contributors

Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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