Temperatures in Oklahoma have been unseasonably cool in the first half of the month. Temperatures are forecast to be higher late in the month but will still likely remain at or below seasonal levels. Most of Oklahoma has gotten significant rain in the past 10 days, generally ranging from 1.5 inches to over 7 inches. More rain is likely in the next week or two.

Peel derrell
Livestock Marketing Specialist / Oklahoma State University Extension

This type of late-summer moisture provides several opportunities for enhanced fall grazing. Warm-season introduced pastures, such as bermuda, will get a boost from this moisture. Producers should consider a late-summer/fall fertilizer application to enhance forage growth and quality. This will allow a stockpile of grazing for the fall and early winter. This forage, perhaps combined with cool-season introduced pasture, such as fescue, can significantly extend grazing, thereby reducing hay use and reducing feed cost. Native ranges should also get a boost from recent rains to add to forage stocks for the fall.

Producers thinking about grazing wheat will no doubt be anticipating the enhanced fall potential that comes with the current weather. Good moisture conditions and cool soil temperatures may allow wheat planting about as early as producers might desire. With other forage already available, producers may already be thinking about when to purchase fall stockers. An early start implies the potential for a longer than usual fall/winter grazing period. This may impact several stocker considerations including purchase weight, quality of animal, gender and the potential for two sets of stockers between now and next March or May.

Enhanced fall forage may provide some additional marketing alternatives for cow-calf producers.

Good forage may allow the possibility of pushing weaning a bit later than usual or retaining calves post-weaning to add weight. At the current time, the value of additional weight tends to be about $1 per pound of gain or higher. The value of gain depends on the beginning weight and the amount of weight added. For example, average Oklahoma prices for the last three weeks result in a value of gain for 475-pound steers of 91 cents per pound for 100 pounds of gain based on beginning price of $175.18 per hundredweight (cwt) and a price of $160.45 per cwt for 575-pound steers.


However, starting with the 575-pound steers and adding 100 pounds results in a value of gain of $1.33 per pound based on a price of $156.29 for 675-pound steers. Calf prices will likely decline seasonally into the fall and prices by weight may adjust, so producers should reevaluate the value of adding weight to calves closer to weaning time.  end mark

Derrell S. Peel is an Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist. This originally appeared in the Aug. 14, 2017, OSU Cow/Calf Corner newsletter.