Rain makes even the poorest land look good
By Jerry Nine
(June 19)—For quite some time we have had a dry line close to Woodward. Going east we were getting moisture but going west the farther you went the drier it got. Fifty miles west of Woodward at the start of the Oklahoma Panhandle we thought we were getting terribly dry, but ranchers from the western part of the Panhandle plus New Mexico and Colorado would remind us that we didn’t know what dry really was.
Thankfully, in the last 10 days west of that dry line we have received 2 or 3 inches of rain. I have heard several ranchers say that the grass is not growing like it normally would with this new moisture, but most of it has been abused from lack of moisture and overstocked. However, rain can make even the poorest of land look good, so time will tell. I hope they get rain out west as you can tell by the sound of their voice that a lot of them are losing hope of keeping that cow herd that they have spent many years building up.
I think a drought is probably as challenging a way to make money as any other obstacle. Feed is always high in a drought and hay soon becomes nonexistent.
The feeder cattle market has picked up a lot in these past three or four weeks. I kept thinking maybe it would, however, most cattle feeders were so beat down that most could not get very excited. Now the buyers are at least bidding aggressively and act like they want to keep their numbers up. It’s an interesting business but in the past two years it has been more frustrating than interesting.
The bred cow market has picked back up $100 per head in these past few weeks but are still not too high if you have grass for them. Also pairs are higher too. Our killing cows were $2 to $3 higher this past week with a very large run two weeks ago and only half as many this past week. Remember to pray for rain for New Mexico and Colorado. We are selling some of their pairs and bred cows each week but I hate to see anyone have to sell because of a drought. We are still selling cattle with OKC West sale barn until they get back in operation from the tornado. That has worked very well, allowing them to help merchandise their customers’ cattle.
Congratulations to our auctioneer Dustin Focht for winning the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship held in Montgomery, Ala., this past week. An auctioneer can make or break your auction. I am very blessed to have three of the best auctioneers in the country. Smile a little more if you got rain and tell God thank you.
Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.