It doesn’t matter if the markets are trending up or trending down, the market still has peaks and valleys, whether it goes uphill or downhill.

Right now, I’m really not sure that it’s headed up or down, but I can tell you this, the peaks and valleys that we are going through right now are in a big valley. I will try to explain why - we are just a “blip” on the map.

Most ranchers are home working and don’t get the chance to go outside of their little circles. I’ll try to explain what I believe is going on outside of our little circle with what’s going on with the market.

This is a typical January as far as people holding their cattle over into the new year. Some of it’s for tax purposes, some of it is to get the cattle weaned, and some of it is due to the holidays.

But, what’s not typical for January is our weather. Example: if there are 100 feed yards in America, 70 of them will not take cattle due to their pens being under water, muddy, and/or snow - all weather-related.

That means the other 30 have to take the cattle being sold. Now they have run out of pens. Where are the cattle going? Where do we put them? I’ve had some order buyers tell me that if the cattle were free, they still couldn’t take them!

This was the market for this week. We had customers selling their cattle and their 475lb steer calves brought $10.00 per head less than their 575lb steers.

The 650lb steers brought the same dollars per head as their 575lb steers. Dollars and cents, this makes absolutely no sense.

Farmers & ranchers can turn out their lite calves. But the heavier cattle have no homes. With the storm coming through this week, some buyers say they (again) won’t be able to buy the cattle they need.

What is the solution? Some drier weather and some patience on the seller’s side.

My prediction over the next couple of weeks:  we could see fat cattle bring $1.28 to $1.32. We could see feeder cattle bring less per 100 than the fat cattle.

I’m still getting asked if I believe the government shut down is affecting the market. My answer is still absolutely not. The only federally employed government workers in the agricultural industry are the meat inspectors.
The meat is still getting federally inspected.

As I said, the fat cattle prices are climbing. If the shut down was affecting the market we would be seeing a decline in the fat cattle prices.

The other effect is that the federal workers on furlough may not be able to afford the better cuts of meat.

The one thing that the weather has helped is increasing the butcher cow market. It’s because the ranchers are not bringing their butcher cows in due to the muddy pastures which cause a reduction in the availability.

 To date, we have sold so many there are now less available to sell. So, hang in there, be patient. I see better days coming in the near future. Time will tell.

See you Wednesday, at the sale!