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By Jerry Nine

(Jan. 2)--We have started another year. The expectations for a good cattle market seem to be good with cattle futures and present day cattle prices being very strong. Most individual cattle feeders have struggled for quite some time to find something to put in the feedlot that looked like it had a chance of making any money. In fact, a lot of individually owned feedlots were willing to buy what they thought was a breakeven and let the feedlot make a profit on the markup but still found it hard to do that. Bred cows have been very strong in demand, particularly for being still in a drought. The last few sales we had showed that, along with possibly some year-end money needing to be spent. However, I think most ranchers simply wanted to replace some numbers on their cow herd with a lot of talk that if we do have moisture to start off with in the spring, then bred cows and pairs could set all-time highs as far as price.

Our numbers as far as feeders and calves to sell in the next several months will be limited. I had two cattlemen tell me they think our numbers at the sale would be large for a couple of weeks and then taper off. But I do not even see that to be the case. I simply think our numbers are low enough that we will only have moderate numbers early and then taper off to less. We have seen several feeders that have had some growing ration outside or possible some being locked up, but there has not been enough wheat pasture to be otherwise.

I better have good cattle numbers at the sale with the appetite my four boys have. We just stopped for breakfast. My 13-year-old said, "Dad, can I have three breakfast burritos?" I said absolutely not. We settled at two and a hashbrown, and he was still hungry so I gave in to the third. Oh, well. Somebody has got to keep the economy going.

I got a call last night. When I answered the phone, the lady on the other end said, "This doesn't sound like Clara to me." I said, "Well, I hope it doesn't." At the coffee shop this morning they were asking one guy at the table if he had bought any more chickens lately. The story there was his coyote-hunting dogs that he let out of the dog box on the back of his pickup made a mad dash over the hill after a coyote. The dogs were soon out of sight. So he drove around the section to see if they had caught the coyote or not. It took him quite a while to find them. He finally drove up toward the farmhouse not far away. He said, "I knew it was not a good sign when Rambo (the dog's name) came back with a chicken feather in his mouth." That day he learned those white leghorns had just become prize show chickens. And the value of the show chickens was $500.

Editor's note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family's ranch near Laverne, Okla.

Date: 1/7/2013


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