Fat cattle making money
By Jerry Nine
(Jan. 15)—Fat cattle are finally making money. The cattle being sold now are bringing a lot per head.
Last week our 1,000-pound steers brought a little over $1,500 per head. We sold some weaned steers weighing 418 pounds that brought $240 a hundredweight, which figures to a little over $1,000 per head.
The selection for good young bred cows and pairs is limited. And a lot of the 3- to 5-year-old open cows are going back to the ranch to be bred. It looks like we are going to breed a lot of heifers. As long as we can get some moisture the prospect for cattle looks good.
Normally the first two or three sales after the first of the year are larger with some cattle being held for tax purposes as far as feeder cattle and cows. This year I expect that to be true on feeders, but our cow numbers are small with most holding on to get another calf. Some ranchers who normally sell that 9- and 10-year-old bred cow perhaps might keep them another year rather than give what it takes to buy a young one.
Most cattlemen have had to try to get a bigger line of credit to keep their numbers the same. A year ago most feedlots that carried the feed bill for their customers had to increase their notes a lot in order to keep their customers’ business. It’s a good business but all our expenses like repairs, fuel and everything else costs so much that it is challenging. Most every business looks better from the outside. I have had several say, “this is your day off.” We sort cattle all day Wednesday and Thursday in order to run a speedy sale on Friday.
At the cafÃ© this morning a quail hunter was in town. He asked the ranchers how everything was going. One rancher said, “Fine, but it is drier than a popcorn fart.” Then another said, “I wonder how that comment started.” And then another rancher said, “I never heard anyone say ‘that is a terrible smell—you must have had popcorn last night.’” You are right—we cover a lot of topics.
One of our fellow ranchers was on his deathbed. He called for his wife to come over as he wanted to tell her something. He said, “Honey, you know when I fell off the ladder you were there with me.” He said, “When I had my heart attack you were right by my side.” He said, “Come to think of it—you must be bad luck.”
Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.