Cattlemen should have shied away from retained ownership this summer as prices strengthened. Higher than expected prices for feeder cattle and calves during July changed the market dynamics of retained ownership raising the opportunity cost of your cattle as well as the break-even price if you retained ownership. 

Again, think opportunity cost or the market value of the cattle—higher calf prices equals higher break-even prices equals greater risk.
 
Markets will continue to be volatile through the remainder of the year particularly as the futures market and cash market become increasingly disconnected at times. Consequently, it will be important to analyze your decision for marketing yearlings coming off grass or calves that will be weaned this fall. Simply put, going to the bank is a better decision than owning the cattle in the feedlot.
 
I am expecting lower prices across all classes and weights of cattle going forward. While current sales values decline, this creates the opportunity for enhanced revenue through retained ownership. Again, the dynamics will be constantly changing. It will be worth the time and effort to make those changes work for you.