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Grass-fever buyers want "ready" cattle

vectorbomb-ThinkstockPhotos artwork of cowboy riding market
Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer.
Buyers are picking through the markets for cattle they want.

It is my opinion that prices paid last week for turn-out ready cattle were high. This week buyers added more fuel to that fire. Between the sales I attended this week and the market reports I looked at I found only one that was lower compared to the previous week. Non-weaned cattle and feeder bulls continued to carry a significant discount.

Cattle under 650 pounds carry the highest value of gain. The lightweight calves have left the door wide open to capture some value, especially if they are non-weaned!

I got an email from a friend this week containing a market report from a female sale in Oklahoma. It shocked me simply because bred stock and pairs look cheap there compared to what they are bringing in my local area. This kind of geographical spread should get a buyer’s attention. One could save a ton of money even after paying shipping expenses, and even if it’s only half a load.

Easter weekend limited the amount of hay sold at hay auctions. The limited supply spurred the law of supply and demand to kick in and prices paid for hay were higher.

May 1 is the official start of pasture season here. After fighting the weather for months here, both the producer and the cattle are eager to go to grass. I fully expect to see cattle turned out this weekend. With the cooler temps and flooding the pastures seemed to be a little behind. The bright side is, as I’ve been working on some new fences I’ve noticed the sun and warm weather in the past couple weeks has really spurred some good growth. This will provide some much-needed relief to cheapen costs associated with the hay prices.

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