We Can Almost See Cattle Market Normalcy Again

By Jeff Rose
Remember the last time you took your kid on a trip and they asked: Are we there yet? That’s the question cattle producers have been asking about markets, and the answer is: Not quite, but we’re getting closer every day.

So, from the perspective of a child, let’s take a look out the car window at the livestock landscape. The first thing you will notice on our trip, record numbers of cattle on feed for this time of year. Not totally due to the backup of cattle from plant shutdowns in the spring. Although, carcass weights are still running high, it is more a function of not being able to empty pens and refill, as would normally happen.

As slaughter pace slowly picked up through the summer and early fall, pens emptied and feedlots aggressively filled. You should notice a lot of trucks, too. More than normal on weekends as a lot of packers are running six days a week to work through the backlog. I ‘m being generous; they are also running on Saturdays because they are making at least $180.00/head. They would run Sundays, too, if they could.

Depending on where you are in your car trip, you might see increased restaurant activity. My family dined out recently and experienced a 45-minute wait for a table. Restaurant trade is huge for the cattle industry, but it seems that the pandemic may have taught more than a few people to cook. Long-term, this could be a very good thing, we’ll have to see if it is a trend that continues.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests a lot of people are investing in freezers and purchasing sides of beef locally. It looks like we may not have quite the upside potential that we usually have for the first quarter marketing period, but things may be closer to normal by next summer.

Call 814.720.0549 for marketing advice. 

 

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