Texas farmers battle Ogallala pumping limits

Water is a contentious issue across Texas, but tensions have been especially high in a 16-county groundwater conservation district stretching from south of Lubbock into the Panhandle, an area considered part of America’s “breadbasket.” There, farmers reliant on the slowly diminishing Ogallala are fighting to maintain their right to pump unrestricted amounts of water. The issue gained urgency last month when a landmark Texas Supreme Court opinion confirmed that landowners own the water beneath their property, in the same way they own the oil and gas. Click here to read  more at the TexasTribune.org…

CME: Sharply higher carcass weights pressure beef values, cattle

A warm winter and cattle backing up in feedlots have dramatically increased the weight of steers coming to market. In addition to bringing to market heavier cattle, slaughter in the last three weeks also appears to have increased, further adding to the supply of beef coming to market, pressuring prices lower. Click here to download the CME Daily Livestock Report  for 3-20-12… (pdf)

TDA Market Recap, March 19, 2012

Source: Texas Department of Agriculture

For the week ending March 17, feeder cattle prices at Texas auctions covered by USDA Market News were steady to $2 higher per hundredweight (cwt), with heifers over 700 pounds steady to $2 lower at one location. Texas feeder cattle sales direct to feedlots were mostly steady to $2 lower on cattle weighing more than 800 pounds and firm on lighter weights. Oklahoma City was mostly lower early in the session before turning higher later in the day. Fed cattle cash prices were down by about 50 cents per cwt from the previous week following continued declines in beef values.

Cotton cash prices declined after India rescinded its ban on cotton exports, though considerable uncertainty remained about when actual shipments would resume. Corn and grain sorghum prices were higher due to speculation about corn sales to China and continued tight domestic supplies. There were also concerns that higher soybean prices relative to corn would pull additional acreage from corn into soybeans and thus further restrict supplies.

Wheat prices were higher amid worries that warm temperatures on the U.S. southern plains are causing winter wheat to break dormancy early, leaving the crop vulnerable to moisture stress and a late freeze.

As for futures markets, wheat and corn were higher, but feeder cattle, fed cattle, cotton and lumber were lower. Parts of the Trans-Pecos region and an area east of a line from Brazoria to La Grange to Paris recorded a half-inch or more of rain while little or no rainfall was recorded elsewhere in the state. Winter wheat remained in mostly good to poor condition as rainfall and warmer temperatures helped boost the crop in many areas, though wheat on the High Plains needs additional moisture.

Corn and grain sorghum planting continued with wet weather causing some interruptions in the Blacklands region. Corn was 33 percent planted, compared to 37 percent on average for this date. Grain sorghum was 22 percent planted, compared to 29 percent on average. Cotton planting is underway in the Lower Valley.

Pastures have benefitted from recent rains and warmer temperatures, but many still need additional moisture. Overall, pastures statewide remain in good to very poor condition.

   

Week Ending

Previous

Previous

Texas Cash Markets:  

   March 17, 2012

              Week            Year
         
Feeder Steers ($/cwt)

187.49

187.63

157.97

Fed Cattle ($/cwt)

126.07

126.63

113.56

Slaughter Lambs ($/cwt)

176.00

182.00

205.75

Slaughter Goats ($/cwt)

246.00

229.00

237.00

Cotton (¢/lb)

83.15

84.75

193.88

Grain Sorghum ($/cwt)

11.75

11.25

 11.19

Wheat ($/bu)

6.44

6.23

7.21

Corn ($/bu)

6.99

6.69

6.77

Oranges ($/box)

12.30

12.80

11.28

Grapefruit ($/box)

13.05

13.05

13.40

Cabbage ($/50 lbs)

4.50

4.75

 7.25

   

Futures Markets:  

   

Feeder Cattle ($/cwt)

153.40

153.92

128.00

Fed Cattle ($/cwt)

125.30

126.02

111.65

Cotton (¢/lb)

87.48

87.96

199.12

Wheat ($/bu)

7.06

6.80

8.45

Corn ($/bu)

6.73

6.54

6.84

Lumber ($/1000 bd ft)

272.20

276.00

319.40

All cash prices above are market averages for locations covered by the USDA Market News program and do not reflect any particular sale at any specific location. Feeder cattle prices are for 500-600 pound medium and large No.1 steers at the Oklahoma City National Stockyards. Futures prices are quoted for the nearest month contract on the last trading day of the week.

For additional information, contact TDA at 800-835-5832 or visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov.