February 17, 2023
Earlier this week some little guy named Cupid was flying around shooting arrows at people.This year Valentine’s Day was a little more special at my house because my wife and I met on Valentine’s Day 25 years ago. Of course, this caused us to reflect on our journey together.
One of the things that is clear to me is I would not have had the success I have without her. So many times it was just her emotional support and her being the only one that believed in me that got me over some tough hurdles.
If I had not overcome those challenges, then I would not be doing some things today that I am doing. She takes care of the behind-the-scenes tasks for our marketing schools, and it is her touch that elevates them. She also volunteers at church, school, is a mom and gotten promoted at her career.
My wife is special to me. Thing is there is a lot of ranch wives that are just as amazing. I will admit my bias, but I feel ranch wives are the elite.
In the movie Rocky, there is a line where Rocky explains his relationship with Adrian in a way that she completes him by filling his gaps. I have got to witness this with some of the couples that have attended my marketing schools.
I may say something and the wife doesn’t understand what I just said. I see her husband lean over and explain it to her and she is no longer lost in the weeds. Later I see the opposite, she is helping explain something to him.
I see this as a sign of a good team. They help balance each other out. They fill each other’s gaps which I see as strengthening the other’s weaknesses. A couple that works together like that in life can’t lose.
I read somewhere, and I am going from memory here, that 35% of the workforce in agriculture is women. If I were to figure an average of women that have attended my schools I would say it would be slightly under that.
The thing is, judging from the handwriting on the registration forms we receive, the vast majority of those were filled out and mailed in by a woman.
I have written on here before that some people are over-valued or over-rated. While others are under-rated. Some people can’t deliver and match the hype that surrounds them, while others over deliver with ease. If I were building a team this would be easy, bring on the person who over delivers, and swap out the one who fails to meet expectations.
The special someone
Then my wife said something this week that really made me think. She said “We are the only critters around her that don’t get traded. ”When you look at the divorce rate there is a lot of trading that takes place. I always tell young single people to be careful about who you marry. Find someone who supports and believes in you and your dreams. Find someone who fills your gaps and is so valuable to you, that you can’t afford to swap them out.
Getting into the things we ought to be trading. The market is mixing up its signals, which is seasonal. This time of year we really need to pay attention to what we are doing. There is something about spring and green grass fever that makes things just different this time of year.
In December not many people had any interest in bred females. Sales would clear out after the bred heifers were sold. People thought interest rates were too high to buy them. All through December and January stockyards sold a lot of breeding stock. Some even added extra special sales those two months.
Full of buyers; not cattle
The January sales were a full house.
I have never seen so many people at those sales. Thing is there is a new issue in February. We now have a full house of willing buyers, and there is a lack of consignors. Some stockyards are back to one monthly breeding stock special and some had to cancel the monthly sale.
Currently the only females I have seen sell below their Intrinsic Value (IV) are the broken mouth cows and the females that won’t calve until after the corn planter starts rolling. I have even seen fall calving cows headed off for less money than they would bring on the scale. Buy what nobody else wants to buy, that’s a simple way to make money.
Another thing that happens this time of year if the Value of Gain gets squished like an accordion. It can be huge on flyweights, get squished in that 5 to 6 weight range, widen out again on 7 to 8 weights then disappear.
Earlier this week I had a card that I swore no one would touch on five weights. I was stunned when the only five weights I bought were the bawlers. I really thought I’d buy cattle weighing 5 and under all day. Opportunity to prosper presented itself to me with six weights. My point is someone else wanted what I thought I was going to buy much worse than I wanted it. So, I just bought the cattle no one else seemed to want.
All the chatter about tight supplies and returning to record level prices has some people feeling pretty good. Couple that with the tiny bit of moisture we received, locally, and some folks are willing to gamble. No one knows what this market will do.
In 2014 and early 15 many thought we were on a new plateau. I am updating material for my upcoming marketing school and I brought up the 10 year chart for feeder cattle. What a sharp drop 2015 was!
Those high prices didn’t last long. I was not alive in 1973 but when I examine numbers from then we had record high prices and record high cattle numbers. That seems to thumb its nose at what we think we know about supply and demand. My point here is to be careful about the decisions being made right now. There are people still working to get out of the financial mess they got into from the crash of ’15.It is not absolute price that matters it is understanding costs and price relationships that will prosper us.
Cattle Market Update
This week feeder bulls were up to 30 back, unweaned cattle were up to 10 back. Heavy feeders remain a great buy back against fats, and replacement quality females could be under-valued if they landed in the wrong weight class.
The opinions of Doug Ferguson are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.
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