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MY THOUGHTS ON THE CATTLE MARKET - Steve Moreland - October 10, 2020

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Soapweed

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE CATTLE MARKET - Steve Moreland - October 10, 2020

A young friend gave me a point to ponder on Facebook messenger last evening. He asked me, “What are your thoughts on the cattle market?”

These ideas on the cattle market are roaming in my head. We have in the past two weeks sold four pot-loads of steer calves. On the positive side, our weights are about 25 pounds heavier than last year, and the price received has equated to about 40 dollars per head more than last year. The mothers of these calves have come up with respectable 95 percent pregnancy rates, despite this summer being abnormally dry compared to last summer being abnormally wet. On the negative side, our ranch is about out of grass for this season, and our hay supply is very scant. Getting through the upcoming winter with our cowherd (the geese that lay the golden eggs) will involve a lot of imagination and purchased feed. This will really be a problem if a hard winter with lots of snow happens to come along. Weather prognosticators shoot their bullets in the dark just as cattle market guessers do.

As for the future of the cattle market, and the cattle business in general, it is anybody’s guess. Back in January of 2020, the economies of the United States and the rest of the world were sailing along at an all-time high. My instincts and overall feeling then was that cattle prices would be very good by the fall selling season. Two factors came into play that have completely upended the dynamics. The biggest impact of course was that of the COVID pandemic. The other influencing factor is the drought all across the western United States. Available grass, hay, and other cattle feed is in short supply

Cattle and other ruminant animals have all through the world’s history played a vital part in feeding people. Ruminant animals graze in areas unsuitable for farming. They convert grass and forage into meat, which is a great source of protein for people. Without the animals turning grass into meat, much pasture-type terrain would go completely to waste and deteriorate.

This brings into play other factors that will affect the cattle business. Much of the mountainous areas of the western United States are suffering from mismanagement. Many of the enormous fires that are happening could have been prevented. There is a saying, “Graze it, log it, or watch it burn,” that holds very true. So called “Global Warming,” or “Climate Change,” or whatever other monikers are attached don’t have nearly the impact of fires starting as do the poor management of our forests and grasslands. Proper utilization of our God-given natural resources would prevent fires and provide valuable assets to society.

This invokes yet another consideration. We all hate to introduce politics into general conversation, but there is an important election coming up very soon. Do we want a common sense successful businessman leading our country, or do we want a lifelong failed career politician in charge? Do we want a president who likes to eat beef, even if he is guilty of putting ketchup on a perfectly good steak, or would we be more comfortable with a president who goes along with the liberal ideology of thinking cattle and “cow farts” are bad for the planet? Yes, it is easy to find fault with the personalities of the presidential contenders, but we need to examine the agendas of what their administrations hold in store for the destiny of the country. The upcoming November 3rd election will have a drastic impact on the future of cattle markets, the cattle business, and the well-being of our wonderful nation in general.
 

leanin' H

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Soap for President!!!!!!!!!!
Hope y’all are well and that we all receive some moisture soon. I have a good friend who has what is normally a wonderful winter range for his cattle. It looks exactly like it did when he went to the mountain in April. No rain since late March does that. He will most likely end up culling deep and hard. And buying a lot of hay. Prayers that the Lord will show us the way. Good to see your voice again Soap!!! My regards to you and your family
 

Big Muddy rancher

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We are dry but got a good crop of hay and green feed.
Hope the calves are heavier then last year but not hope full.
I guess Ketchup on steak isn't much worse then Chicken frying one.;)
We do seem to be at the mercy of every little crisis.
 

Faster horses

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Friends in SE Montana are shipping calves now, and they are lighter than normal. 50-80# lighter. That's hard to take. No rain since June, and grasshoppers makes it really tough. The hay crop is short too.
We pray for rain for all the dry areas.
Big fire in southern Wy. The Mullen fire, has burned 175,000 acres and is only 25% contained. :cry:
 

Richardd

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We are dry but got a good crop of hay and green feed.
Hope the calves are heavier then last year but not hope full.
I guess Ketchup on steak isn't much worse then Chicken frying one.;)
We do seem to be at the mercy of every little crisis.
Nothing wrong with a BIG Chicken Fried steak with white gravy and a bake potato with sour cream and butter on it.
 

Evans

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I sold my calves about 2 weeks ago and did better than expected. Its snowing bout everyday. Have grass banked and stackyard is full for the first time in at least 6 years.
I'm feeding barley straw every other day and making them dig for grass the next.
Snow is a good sign of moisture next year. Im going to calve later next year to make it easier on me. Hopefully I'm still in the game.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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You did good to sell 2 weeks ago, the market was a lot softer this week.
We sold a week ago and felt we did pretty good. We have snow here as well. Don't have to go very far north to run out of it.
 

Texan

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Looks pretty gloomy for you guys selling calves. I don't really see anything to change that much until we get through the end of the year and get closer to grass cattle order time. Getting the election behind us might help, but on the other hand, it could make things even worse.
 

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