Cattle outlook promising in 2014
By Jerry Nine
(Jan. 8)—We are starting off the year with a good cattle market. And the outlook is good for quite sometime. West of Woodward most of the wheat never got a real good start. Like most years we simply needed one more good rain. Now in several areas the wheat is frozen down and short. It looks like for two or three weeks we might see a good run of weaned calves and yearlings.
These cattle off wheat always feed good with some of them showing a lot of condition. And the health from this point on should be very good. Keeping a calf healthy in the fall is always challenging. Medicines that seem to work get a lot of money in a calf very quick. I hear several ranchers say that their calves won’t get sick as they hardly ever have a sick one. I think shots and long weaned will get more important every year. I have noticed this year, more than usual, that most feed yards are requiring at least 60 days weaned before they are willing to give that extremely high figures. And I don’t blame them with the cost of cattle and medicine—it’s not worth the risk.
At least at my sale, if you are bringing cattle in to sell, always write down on the bill if they are weaned and for how long. Do not just simply put they have had their shots. The word shots can vary from simply a blackleg to two rounds of modified live. Particularly in the fall a 60-day weaned calf can still carry a bawling calf look to the head, making buyers skeptical and can cost you $10 per hundredweight or more.
The other day there was a funeral for an older cowboy. All of the pallbearers were middle-aged and older cowboy friends. They went to the cemetery for the final service. As they laid the casket on the ropes that held the casket above the hole in the ground, one of the ropes broke letting the casket fall at an angle partially in the grave. One of his buddies, a pallbearer, hollered out, “Whoops. He’s going the wrong way.”
At the cafÃ© this morning one cowboy said sarcastically to another cowboy, “You must have been a beautiful baby”—meaning very ugly. Another cowboy said, “Keep in mind—pigs are cute when they are little.”
Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.