Texas Crop and Weather Report – Nov. 15

Texas consumers should see good prices on poultry meat, eggs for the holidays

Writer: Adam Russell, 903-834-6191, adam.russell@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Craig Coufal, 979-845-4319, cdcoufal@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – Consumers are likely to find better prices on holiday turkeys, other poultry and eggs this year compared to previous years, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife expert and market data.

Dr. Craig Coufal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service poultry specialist, College Station, said reasonable feed prices have helped keep egg and poultry prices lower than last year. The industry has also rebounded from outbreaks of avian flu that led to millions of chicken and other poultry losses, especially in egg production houses.

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As the holiday season approaches, consumers can expect lower prices on turkeys, other poultry and eggs compared to last year. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photograph)

Coufal said demand for whole turkeys and eggs for baking typically peak around the holidays.

“Avian flu outbreaks in spring 2015 really tightened supplies, but this year has been good,” Coufal said. “Turkey was tight. Eggs were tight. But there’s plenty of poultry meat and eggs in the market as people begin to look for whole birds and eggs for pies, desserts and other traditional holiday cooking.”

Maro Ibarbaru, Egg Industry Center’s business analyst, Ames, Iowa, said a dozen large white eggs in the southern region cost $1.52 this September compared to $3.02 in September 2015. Avian influenza was the main reason for high prices in 2015, but he said prices have dipped even further due to other market conditions, such as lower costs for producers, more eggs in storage and a decline in exports.

“We haven’t seen prices this low since 2009,” he said.

Coufal said whole turkeys cooked in the oven are typically in low supply and demand until November and December. Most turkeys throughout the year are grown to 25-30 pounds and deboned to make deli meats, including pepperoni and salami. During the holidays, birds are typically grown to around 14 pounds to provide consumers with 9-10 pound birds for the oven.

“They don’t have a lot of smaller birds around,” he said. “They only do that once or twice a year.”

The Nov. 10 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Retail Report on turkey showed prices were steady between $1.59-$1.99 per pound for fresh whole hens and toms in the South Central Region, which includes Texas. By contrast, the Nov. 13, 2015 report showed whole fresh hens and toms were 10 cents higher per pound on average, $1.69-$1.99 per pound.

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

CENTRAL: Winter grasses covered pastures and wheat fields looked good. Small grains responded well to good rains. Cattle producers were running cattle on small grain fields. Bermuda grass slowed down tremendously with cool nights but still looked good across the district. Ryegrass  started to emerge. Pecan harvests were slowed due to wet weather. Cattle remained in good body condition and stock tanks were full. Nearly all counties reported good soil moisture. Overall crop and livestock conditions were mostly good.

ROLLING PLAINS: Conditions were beneficial for ranchers due to cooler temperatures and rain. Winter wheat looked promising, and winter forages and wild rye began to green up in pastures. Farmers were delayed a little due to the recent moisture and cooler weather. Rainfall made fields too wet for harvesting. Cotton and peanut harvests were hampered by heavy dews in  the morning. Wheat and canola looked good. Stocker cattle were being turned out on wheat and oats. Livestock were in good condition, although ranchers would like a freeze to help the fly problem.

COASTAL BEND: Rainfall stopped field work until conditions dry enough to reenter fields. Temperatures continued to be above normal for this time of year. Rain slowed the second rice harvest, but most producers were happy to sacrifice some harvest days for much needed moisture. Livestock and pastures were in good condition. Markets were beginning to improve. A few cattle producers began to feed hay.

EAST: Drought conditions around the region continued to worsen. Pasture and range conditions were mostly fair. Some counties received small amounts of rain and slow mists. Pond and creek water levels were low. Winter cover crops were not looking good in Cherokee County. Shelby County was under a burn ban. Pastures were dry and not in good shape. Subsoil and topsoil was reported as short to very short. The winter pastures planted by producers in Wood County were starting to grow, as they were late to plant this year. Most producers were supplemental feeding and beginning to feed hay. Livestock conditions remained mostly fair to good. Some fall calving was still in progress in Polk County. Most spring calves were sold. Culling and selling of cull cows continued.

SOUTH PLAINS: Harvests resumed after fields dried out following recent rains in some areas, while topsoil and subsoil remained saturated in other areas. The rainfall will help with pastures, rangeland and winter wheat. A few areas received 3-6 inches of rainfall. Some producers also received hail that destroyed around 3,000 acres of cotton. Peanut harvests were good until the rains came. Cotton harvests were still in full swing in drier areas with most producers nearing completion. Area wheat and oat field conditions improved with recent moisture. Scurry County experienced cooler weather, but there was still no official freeze recorded in the district.

PANHANDLE: Above-average temperatures continued for the district and a few areas reported their first freeze. Dallam and Hartley counties were mostly warm and dry with a few mornings below freezing. Cotton harvests made good progress. Yields were mostly very good, around 2-3 bales per acre. A few fields of corn and sorghum remained. Wheat responded to recent rainfall and made good growth. Rain was badly needed in some areas. Stocker cattle were turned out on wheat pastures while other pastures were nearly ready for grazing. Cows and calves were placed on corn stalks. Mild fall weather delayed supplemental feeding of cattle. Deaf Smith County producers were still harvesting some late corn, but most were trying to concentrate on harvesting the remaining sorghum. Some producers were waiting for a “killing freeze” to harvest sorghum where problems with the sugarcane aphid continue. Many producers were focusing on cotton close to harvest. Harvest aids were applied to get the cotton harvest underway since a hard freeze was not in the forecast. Cows and calves on grass were being fed supplements or hay. Cattle were in good condition.

NORTH: Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels varied from adequate to short. Very warm and dry conditions kept pond levels low. A little rain helped, but soil conditions remained very dry for this time of year. Warm-season forages were dormant with no cool-season forages coming on. Wheat received enough moisture for it to germinate, but more rain was needed. Cotton harvests were still underway. Soybeans averaged 26 bushels per acre in Cooke County, which was about average. Cattle looked great, and weaning weights were heavy. Prices were not good, but the calf market was a little stronger. Livestock were supplemented. Dust was beginning to cause respiratory problems. Fall-calving cows were looking good. Wild pig activity was very high.

FAR WEST: High temperatures were in the 70s and lows in the 40s. Rain totals were up to 4 inches. Field activities shut down as rain continued to keep producers out of fields. Cotton was stringing out but most of it remained on the plant. Wheat greened up and began growing nicely. Pastures continued to benefit from rain. Producers continued to feed livestock and wildlife. Hunters were in the area to hunt deer and quail.

WEST CENTRAL: Some showers were received with reports of 2 inches on average. Farmers were at a standstill due to wet conditions. Stock tank levels were good heading into winter, and livestock remained in good condition. No rain was forecast, so the fields should dry out and allow for work to continue. Some producers applied a second round of defoliants on cotton because wet conditions caused regrowth. Winter wheat was in good to excellent condition. No frost or freeze was reported. Hunting season was in full swing. Fall cattle work continued.

SOUTHEAST: Mornings were cool, in the low 50s, with highs in the 80s. Recent rains halted row crop field work, but some producers made good progress applying dry fertilizer. More than 3 inches of rain fell in some areas. Some areas needed additional moisture. In Waller County, the burn ban was lifted due to the recent rains. In Brazos County, there was water standing in fields. Livestock were in good condition with plenty of pasture grasses.

SOUTHWEST: The area received some rain, which will help pastures and range conditions. Farmland and row crops received much needed moisture as well. Cooler weather helped vegetables progress. Winter pastures were starting to emerge. Livestock were in good condition.

SOUTH: Conditions were good throughout for the district. Most every county reported cooler weather and scattered showers, which resulted in adequate soil moisture and improvement of range and pastures. Temperatures were mild but cooled in some areas with scattered rainfall in some areas. Rain totals were up to 6 inches, but most areas reported 1-2.5 inches. Topsoil moisture levels improved as a result of the rainfall. Temperatures also helped subsoil moisture percentages remain in good condition. Peanut harvesting slowed throughout the district. Wheat and oat planting was completed with most fields emerging. Pastures and rangeland conditions continued to decline in some areas while other areas benefitted from rain. Some dormant perennial grasses greened up and improved forage quality. Most fall roundup and calf weaning was complete. Body condition scores on cattle remained good throughout the district. Cattle prices were on a positive trend for the past couple of weeks in Brooks County. Wildlife populations remained in great shape, and large groups of deer hunters were in the area. Hay was fairly abundant. Scattered rainfall halted cabbage harvesting in Zavala County. The fresh market spinach harvest was also delayed four days. Cotton ginning continued in both gin facilities in the county and were expected to continue through the first week of December. Fall vegetable crops progressed well, and hay baling continued in some areas.

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