The Record’s Ag Report
Nearly 1,000 head of cattle ran through the Linton Livestock Market on Mon., Feb. 18.
Although the market has been down some in the past two weeks, cattle buyers believe it will rebound.
“The drop in fat cattle market prices was not expected,” cattle buyer Brian Gader of Napoleon said. “Producers are selling their finished fat cattle for less than planned.”
Brian and his son, Paul, purchase approximately 65,000 cattle per year for several feedlots. Brian attends livestock sales nearly every day of the week. Gaders purchase for feedlots mostly in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.
“Those buyers in the south like the cattle we purchase here in North Dakota as they know they are well fed, well cared for and of good quality,” Gaders said.
Even though the prices have been down a bit, Gaders say producers are still getting pretty good money for their livestock. Weigh-up or harvest cows weighing 1,280 pounds sold Feb. 18 for about $780 per head.
Feeder cattle prices have been down more so than cow prices.
“Fat cattle are losing some money right now,” buyer and Co-Manager of Herreid Livestock J.R. Scott said. “That is partly due to the high price of corn.”
Scott believes cattle should be higher though as the demand is there.
The first week in January of 2013, the feeder contract market for fall 2013 was at $163 to $165 and now is around $157. The live cattle contract for April 2013 was at $137 to $138, and that has dropped to about $125.
Auctioneer and cattle buyer Herman Schumacher of Herreid agrees that prices should be higher and that there is not a demand problem.
“We do have a limited supply of cattle in the U.S., and, fundamentally, the market should be better,” Schumacher said.
Schumacher attributes the packers’ alignment with the retail industry for the market prices.
“It is packer controlled, and the packers control the feedlots,” he said.
Linton Livestock Co- Manager Clyde Bosch said in the past couple weeks heavier cattle have dropped $7 to $10 per hundredweight and lighter cattle $5 to $8.
“Feed costs are very high,” Bosch said. “In addition to that, everyone is concerned about their feed supply for this coming season with the moisture situation we are in.”
Bosch has a positive outlook for the livestock industry.
“I think in the near future, we will see the market prices improving again,” Bosch said.