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Sale reaches new highs on prices

By Jerry Nine

(Nov. 13)—The Northwest Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association had its fall all-breed heifer cow and bull sale last Tuesday (Nov. 5) at the Woodward Livestock Auction. They had very nice quality and made some new highs as far as prices. Their bred heifers brought mostly $1,800 to $2,250 with some smaller ones bringing $1,675. The 3- to 6-year-old pairs brought $2,900 to $3,000 and 4- to 6-year-old pairs brought $2,700. These are prices we have not seen before but we are also seeing prices on our stocker and feeder sale that we have not experienced before either. One set of steers right off the cow two weeks ago weighing a little over 700 pounds brought $1,140 per head. That pays off that pair pretty fast.

I consider myself very aggressive and my banker would tell you that is true if you do not believe it. Any time cattle get high, I still want to stay in the market but I still want to use my head as far as reality. I try not to get too excited when everyone is excited and not too depressed when everyone is negative. For me that is a good rule of thumb. It appears we are on very solid ground and should stay there barring any outside fluke. But I would also say it always looks that way when things are going good. I am not saying these pairs and bred cows were too high on Tuesday because a rancher could have bought a set of these high-quality cattle and saved replacements out of them for years and built up an excellent herd. And with that they might have been cheap. A high-quality gentle herd bred right puts a lot of dollars in the bank.

On Friday we sold some mixed colored steers weighing 454 pounds that were long weaned and had two rounds of shots and were thin that brought $220 per hundredweight, which figures almost $1,000 per head. Vaccine and death loss can add up. I love to buy the hard-weaned cattle.

This past week the Oklahoma Department of Employment Labor contacted me. They said they did not want to talk to me about the sale barn but they wanted to ask me some questions about my employees on the ranch. They said, “We need a list of all your employees and how much you pay them.” I said, “Well, there are only two hired hands. The one hired hand makes $200 per week plus free room and board. Then there’s the mentally challenged guy. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90 percent of the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night so he can cope with life.” The government worker said, “That is the guy I want to talk to—the mentally challenged one.” I said, “You are looking at him.”

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

Date: 11/18/2013



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