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Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer.

Is higher protein priced into the markets?

Cow prices keep living in the basement, while light cattle continue to be undervalued.

This week I listened to a podcast in which the guy was using the example of a yo-yo to illustrate his point. That also sums up what I saw in the feeder sales this week.

Early in the week markets were up, then as the storm approached the markets cooled off a bit, holding steady with the previous week to slightly lower. Some buyers said their orders got pulled in anticipation of the storm.

A lot of the chatter among buyers this week was about the rise in pork exports and dairy sell-offs. It seems the news cycle has people thinking the price of proteins will go up. I even had a customer to whom I sell freezer beef call this week, asking if she could lock in a price now instead of risking what it might cost her this fall.

While pushing my windshield across different parts of Nebraska I saw some farmers out in the field. While this is normal for this time of year, there are still a lot of areas in the state that field work has not started yet. The warm sunny weather early in the week did wonders for our grass. It has really greened up and started growing.

Most people like to be done calving before planting begins. Thing is, for a lot of us it hasn’t begun yet. So I’m wondering why aren’t people helping themselves to some of these good buys in the bred cow market? I got a text from a friend who was at a cow sale this week telling me about the deals he was seeing. If you have an open cow right now, you can’t make her into a 7- to 9-month bred cow for what you can buy one for. To compare and contrast some more, a good wet-bag open cow is worth the same as a four-weight heifer. I see some real opportunity to capture some appreciation in the cow market right now.

I can copy and paste this next line, as I’ve repeated it for weeks on end: Four-weights continue to be undervalued. The big standout this week is in the seven- to eight-weight feeder heifers. Seven weights gained a little this week, and are starting to show an increase in value of gain. The eight-weights have a value of gain that can almost rival a four-weight. But when they weigh near 850 pounds, they step over a cliff.

The discount on a non-weaned calf was greater this week, which was probably weather-related. The premium paid for a replacement heifers was thinner this week.

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