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Wheat harvest, graze  has been tough this season

Most farmers right now don't have enough wheat to harvest, much less graze out.

Oklahoma State University Extension small grains specialist David Marburger said the wheat growing season has been extremely tough.

"Trying to get wheat pasture started was hard enough between the armyworm and no rain," he said. "Then on top of that, it hasn't rained much at all across Oklahoma. Many producers have already decided to turn their crop in for insurance or have removed their cattle.

"Ideally, there should be a minimum 60 percent cover canopy left. It looks like the same situation as we had last year, putting even more emphasis on removing cattle at the right time."

After removing cattle from wheat, Marburger gives these recommendations for checking for first hollow stem(FHS), when wheat begins to grow around March 15:

Check for FHS in a non-grazed area of the same variety and planting date and measure the amount of hollow stem present below the developing grain head. If there is about five-eighths of an inch of hollow stem present, it is time to remove cattle.

More detailed information can be on FHS can be found at under "Wheat Management," then "Grazing."

The 2018 cattle and beef markets are off to a good start, Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist, said recently 

"So far, so good as the saying goes, and 2018 could be a repeat of the better-than-expected conditions we saw last year," he said. "But there are market risks to consider and producers should move ahead to take advantage of opportunities currently existing."

All beef prices across the board are up, he said. Cash fed cattle prices are up and Oklahoma feeder prices are above year ago levels, with current auction prices averaging 15-16 percent higher across all feeder steer and heifer weights.

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