The price keeps climbing
By Jerry Nine
(Feb. 26)—Last week’s fat cattle price for our area was from $144 to $145 per hundredweight with higher prices in the north. I am told this week’s price should be $147 cwt. I asked one feedlot manager if he thought we had topped out the fat cattle market and he said he thought it would go higher for the next 30 days.
It is hard to know what to do and almost impossible to out guess. One customer who partners with his grandpa said when grazing cattle got to $700 per head his grandpa said to his grandson, “You are going to go broke giving $700 for grazing cattle” and he reminded his grandpa that now some cattle going back out to graze are costing $1,200 per head. I remember in the 1970s when these nice 500-pound steers were costing 50 cents per pound, which is $250 per head and was a lot higher than they had been. They lost a lot of money on grass. I remember my dad saying, “I don’t know why they thought that would ever work anyway giving that much.”
In our area that snow we received two weeks ago did green the wheat back to a prettier color but we will need more moisture soon to get much growth.
I heard a man from CattleFax saying if we didn’t rebuild our cow herd in the next several years it would change the U.S. from being a major factor to a specialty supplier.
Most of us would like to rebuild our herds but some of my grass looks like I need to cull instead. I do know a drought like we have had makes it almost impossible to make money unless you have several oil wells across it. Those oil wells would improve my IQ by quite a bit.
One man that works at the sale barn is a single dad raising a boy and girl—both in their teens. His son, just like his father, likes to have a gun handy just in case they see a coyote or some other animal bothering their cattle. And sometimes they might simply stop the pickup and get out their guns to make sure they could still hit their target just in case the need arises.
The daughter said at the sale barn the other day, “I just wish one time we could go all the way home without having to stop and shoot something.” Like father like son.
Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Okla., is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Laverne, Okla.