July 15, 2004
July 15, 2004 -- Compared to last year, current national pasture and range conditions are much improved, reports the Denver-based Livestock Marketing Information Center.
Recently, less than 20 percent of U.S. pasture and range was rated Very Poor to Poor, while almost three-quarters was rated Fair or Good. On average, over the last five years, about 18 percent of U.S. pasture and range in early May has been rated as Very Poor or Poor with usually three-quarters to 80 percent considered Fair or Good.
So far this year, the amount of pasture rated in the worst two categories nationwide is on par with the average. Pasture and range conditions in the West are comparable to those of 2003 with about 20 percent being in the worst two categories, Very Poor and Poor, and 70 percent rated as Fair or Good.
Also adding to the good-forage outlook is U.S. hay stocks, which as of May 1, 2004, totaled 25.9 million tons. That's a 17.4-percent increase over the 2003 figure and a 15-percent increase from the 2002 level.
The larger stock of hay is being attributed to improved moisture conditions and reduced demand.