What a market we have! Stockers and feeders continue to stay strong, even where grass appears to be short and feeding one looks like a sure loss. Butcher cows and bulls are at or above all time highs, with some bulls bringing more than fat cattle!
Slaughter levels have been decreasing this year in hopes of keeping the market up, but the carcass weights more than make up for it. The feed yards have been doing a great job of continuing to sell cattle, which is sure better than trying to get them bigger than they already are.
Much of the central United States looks to be in fairly good condition! Many pastures that were brown or just dirt last year are sure green at the moment, although very short. Water levels could sure be better. It looks like many rivers and streams are pretty low, especially considering the time of year it is. Hopefully, we will continue to get some rains through the summer!
It sure looks like everyone is building up their hay supplies! There appears to be quite a few wheat fields put up in bales, and not just a little bit either! Many places have been getting more than four bales to the acre. Let’s just hope that we won’t need all that hay!
Wheat harvest is steadily moving north. Texas and southern Oklahoma have already started with the big chunk of it not very far away. The wheat certainly looks like it will be a great crop, although most folks are somewhat leery of the heat and moisture problems we’ve had. It will be interesting to see just how it turns out.
Even though many places look very green, and heifer numbers in the feed yards have actually declined lately, a herd buildup is still very slow in the making! Most of the pastures coming out of the drought will need another year or two before they are capable of handling much, and with calves as high as they are it’s pretty simple to keep selling them. It’s also pretty hard to convince everybody that a drought can’t happen again.
The basics of the cattle industry seem to be in place. Low supply, good demand, strong exports and good fundamentals have made for a very good market! With the dollar strengthening our exports may suffer some, but local demand should be coming around for the grilling season as maybe seen by the strong butcher market.
One thing is for sure, $2,000.00 pairs don’t look near as high as they used to! $500.00 baby calves and $1200.00 for a yearling sure make those cows look worth the money! Some of the older, solid mouth cows could probably make better use as a stocker rather than a butcher.
Any way you look at it, it still takes a cow to have a calf to make a fat to sell the beef! Possession is the only way to participate!