Heavy rains that swept through the Midwest as a result of Hurricane Ike did some damage to the corn crop which showed up in Monday's crop condition report. However the rains gave a boost to pastures and forage acres, which according to USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam will be important for cow-calf producers.
"Indications that I'm hearing are that the prospects for seeding winter wheat, which is an important component of the winter wheat pasture are looking good," Shagam says. "That could benefit the ability of cattle to stay on winter pasture as opposed to having to move to the feedlot earlier. So to the extent that the rain has improved the forage conditions obviously is beneficial."
Forage is especially important to beef producers this year in light of the high grain prices. The better the forage the more likely beef producers will be able to make a profit.
"If you have a lot of grass, one you can keep your cow herd," Shagam says. "And two you have grass that you can keep the feeders on longer before they have to go into the feedlot, which would help moderate the relatively high grain prices."