Adequate to surplus stockwater and good to excellent pasture conditions marked the beginning of the Flint Hills grazing season, according to the 2017 Kansas Bluestem Pasture Survey. The survey included responses from ranchers and landowners in the 14-county bluestem pasture area and was jointly conducted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University Department of Ag Economics. Respondents answered questions about grazing conditions, pasture lease rates and fencing costs.
The average lease rate for full summer season contracts was reported to be $42.59 per acre when care is provided and $23.01 per acre without care. For steers and heifers less than 700 pounds, the average price per head is $90.24 for the full season. Partial season contracts averaged $35.43 per acre with care provided and $24.37 without. The price per head, with care, for steers and heifers less than 700 pounds on a partial season contract is $85.44. Without care, the partial season average price is $61.74 per head.
Pasture operators reported charging $177.99 for cow-calf pairs on a full summer season contract. The average full-year lease rate per cow with a fall calf is $198.33. For cows with spring calves, the average full-year lease rate is $198.49 per pair. Full-year lease rates averaged $22.34 per acre for cows.
The rate charged for building a five-wire, all steel post fence, including materials, averaged $27.68 per rod. Average per hour fence construction rates are $66.67 with equipment and $45 without equipment. The additional charge for building in rough or rocky terrain was $62.50 per hour.