Cattle market good for now
By Jerry Nine
(Sept. 11)—It is amazing how much our grass grew in that month-long period of rain where we were basically dry before and now dry for a month since. We have a small chance of rain in the next few days. I hate to be a pessimist, but it looks like a very small chance. There still is a big demand for bred cows and pairs and also very good for calves and feeders. I am just holding my breath that grain stays at a cheap level this winter, allowing the cattle market to stay good. And I’m guessing there are a lot of cattle feeders betting on cheap gain that might not have it locked up in price. If grain got a lot higher, it might finish off several cattlemen. Most of my life we have been one rain away from doing very well. For the calf market to stay as good as it is, we will have to get rain soon. I like the market situation we are in now for calves and feeder cattle. My feeder heifers last week weighed 798 pounds and brought $1,144 per head. There were a few steer calves that weighed 364 pounds and brought $226 per hundredweight, which figures to $815 per head. Our killing cows were a little cheaper but still a very good price. Normally, September and October cows will get a lot cheaper, but with the drought we have had for the two or three years prior, the heavy culling has stopped. Some are adding back to their herd but most seem to be staying the same. Hay is a lot more plentiful and cheaper than the past two or three years.
Calf and feeder numbers are about half of normal. As far as the video auction compared to the sale barn, the video will charge 2 percent to sell them plus shrink them 2 or 3 percent. The auction charges close to 1 percent with no shrink plus a feed cost unless they come in the day of the sale. If we can gain you 20 pounds on your feeder cattle, that alone is $30 per head. Selling them in the country or video and shrinking them, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table. Some will sell their cattle to buyers who can hardly pay for coffee, let alone a load of cattle. That is way too risky, and I have no sympathy for anyone who is that stupid.
One of my buyers knew that I jogged some. He said, “Did you know that too much exercise is actually bad for you?” I couldn’t help it so I said, “Looks like you ought to live forever.”
Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.
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