Last week we went to Shawnee, Oklahoma for the IYFR (International Youth Finals Rodeo) and to Guthrie, Oklahoma for the NLBRA (National Little Britches Rodeo Association) for Colt.
In our travels, we traveled down Highway 109 to Kim and got on Highway 160. From there and all the way through Baca County and throughout Oklahoma, it was green, water standing, dirt ponds full, etc. It was very hot and very humid down there. It was sure nice to see all the cattle turned out, farmers farming, etc.
Coming home, we took Highway 287 north of Springfield and on to Lamar. It got progressively drier with every mile we drove! The reason I’m telling you this, is because it IS raining all around us. Our turn is coming! (Fingers crossed!)
This is my biggest daily conversation with ranchers and farmers at home. Next out of their mouths is “what do you think I should do with my cattle?” I know everyone’s situation is a little different depending on when they calve, how much rain they had last year, how much feed they have, when their bank note is due, etc.
I think the biggest thing from the 2002 drought was that it happened in April & May. Calves were smaller with no rain or snow for over a year. One thing we learned was you can’t feed yourself out of a drought. If you do liquidate, you are selling at wholesale and restocking at retail. The next thing I get asked is “What do you think the market is going to do?” If Texas, Oklahoma, & Kansas keeps getting rain and they get their wheat planted, we’ll have some wheat pasture this fall. This will make the calf market stronger.
11,500,000 cattle are on feed as of July 1st. The packers are killing 650,000 cattle per week. Out of the 650,000, around 25% of that kill is butcher cows. In the short term, it’s hurting the price of the fat cattle and butcher cows. In the longer term, its taking the cow out of production for producing a future calf. In other words, if we could get some rain, it will slow down the sale of the butcher cows and increase the kill of the fat cattle. It will make a higher price on both butcher cows and the fat cattle.
Here’s another question I get asked frequently… “How is the tariff with China going to effect the cattle market?” In the short term it may put some negative towards the cattle market, but in the longer term, I think it will benefit us. China needs us more than we need them.
But…. Nothing in Ag is ever predictable! Hindsight is always 20/20… Don’t forget to support your local county fair coming up!