It sure has been a busy summer! The last 3 weeks have been full of all the fairs, schools starting, renovating pens at the sale barn, etc. My youngest son, Colt, has been going to all the high school rodeos and my youngest daughter, Sheridan, has been playing volleyball. It just seems like we are meeting up with ourselves coming and going! You can tell that we are getting close to fall time selling calves and yearlings because my phone does not stop ringing...which is a good thing! The still most asked question is “What do you think the market will be in October, November, December, etc. Well, I dusted off my crystal ball again and got it out to answer that question! It tells me… people have a short memory. Most people are trying to compare this year to last year. It’s altogether different this year compared to last year. Last year it rained in the spring and early summer and grew good grass. Everyone’s attitude was positive. This year we had NO rain and some people still haven’t seen much until July, August, and September. The point being is that we had no wheat pasture last year and people’s calves were bigger, so they went to feedlots instead of wheat pastures. This year the calves might be a little lighter, but from talking to the wheat pasture guys in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, they are starting to drill wheat as we speak.
Last year’s calves that went into the feedlot are already fat and butchered or are getting ready to butcher. Sunday, I took Colt to look at a junior college in Leveland, TX (west of Lubbock). On the way down, I saw roughly 10 or so feedlots. There are lots of big cattle ready to go to the packing house. There are empty pens starting to show up in these feedlots. That is the first time in maybe 8 months that we’ve seen this. One thing caught my eye as we drove by… numerous feedlots in the last few years have a lot of holstein steers in them. I saw very few holsteins, period. So, with the combination of empty pens and no holsteins, I can see the fat cattle market getting better further into the year. The point I’m trying to make is this, the cattle will go to wheat and not the feedlots. The feedlots don’t make money if they don’t have cattle in them. Bottom line… I think the fat cattle market will get higher, the yearling market will get higher, and the calves will also get higher. In my opinion, this year will be more of a “normal year.” Last year was not a “normal” year due to the abundant moisture, etc. In a “normal year” we will see the market getting higher towards November, higher again after Thanksgiving, then higher again (a little “spurt”) after the first of the year and then another “spurt” in early spring, depending on the moisture. But, basically this really does go back to when people have to sell due to bank payments, taxes, feed, moisture, and life in general. Dad and grandpa always said when everyone is running, you walk; when everyone is walking, you run! When everyone is selling, you buy; when everyone is buying, you sell. That’s why the market seems better just after thanksgiving and after the first of the year, etc…
This week’s market was very active and that’s why the lighter calves are selling very good. They fit the wheat pasture’s need. The stocker cattle are lagging behind a little since they will be too big for the wheat when the wheat is ready and corporate feedlots will not buy a big unweaned calf when there are yearlings still available.
We (La Junta Livestock Commission) had almost 2200 cattle this week. The first part of October we should start getting very busy with the fall calf runs. We should have about 1000 cattle for next week. Please feel free to contact any of our representatives to discuss your cattle needs or to come take a look at your cattle. We are already getting lots of consignments for thecoming weeks. See you Wednesday at the sale!