Dan’s Cow-Calf Corner Winter Wheat Grazing Prospects

Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist — Winter wheat is used for grain-only, forage- only or dual-purpose systems targeting cattle grazing and grain production. In the Southern Plains, stocker producers interested in grazing winter wheat pastures often begin planting wheat in late August or early September. The desire to jump-start wheat forage growth by planting early in the fall must be balanced against frequent seasonal drought and hot soil temperatures that prevent wheat germination. Conditions this year vary across Oklahoma ranging from very dry to adequate moisture with generally favorable soil temperatures. Early planted wheat also faces a bigger likelihood of fall armyworm or other pest invasions, disease pressure and increased weed competition. Dual-purpose wheat producers must navigate both the production tradeoffs between wheat forage and grain production as well as the economic challenges in wheat and cattle markets.

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