The weather has been a frequently cussed topic for months. Thing is, I guess it’s no longer a factor to some people, because this week I witnessed bred cows that were close to calving sell very strong. On the other hand cows that were bred to calve in May/June were sold at a discount. I understand there will be some extra carry cost on the later calving cow, but why pay more for the privilege of thawing a frozen calf?
Another female that caught my attention was the party girl (a bred feeder heifer). While she still sold at a discount compared to an open feeder heifer, I thought the discount was slight. Most of these heifers still have a few months to grow and will calve when the weather is warmer.
The last surprise I encountered this week was in the hay market. I sell some hay every year so I am accustomed to getting calls looking for hay. The shocker was the volume of calls looking for poor quality hay and the prices they were offering. This is the first time I didn’t have to price my hay.
In the feeder market some regions were sharply higher, especially in the lighter cattle. While other regions were mostly steady to slightly lower. This week was one of those times where regions that typically are lower than Nebraska were higher. Fly-weight heifers have no fans, selling $25-40 back from their steer brothers. The heavy feeder heifers sold $1 -- yes $1 -- to $8 back from their steer brothers. Light eight-weights are still strong, but as they weigh closer to 900 pounds the value drops off quickly, with the value of gain not even coming close to covering the cost of gain. Some weights of steers find themselves struggling to have enough value of gain to cover the cost of gain. On the other side of the spectrum every weight class of heifer under 850 pounds easily adds more value to the gain than it costs.
Fleshy cattle carried a $10 discount. With nearly the entire run being weaned buyers didn’t have any interest in non-weaned calves.