Packer margins should be discussed more

Packer margins on fat cattle were $200 per head and some say now it is $300 per head. Is this supposed to be the norm and we just sit back and be satisfied with what they give us?

I don’t know about you but to me it is ridiculous. The truth of the matter is a lot of cattlemen feared that we would end up like the chicken and hog industry and owned by corporations. They probably like it better this way! They do not need to own all aspects of the industry when they can make that much in a very short time. And that’s the reason you have seen several corporations sell the feedlots but retain the packing part of it.

You don’t have to be a genius to figure that one out. It’s a joke and not a very funny one. Simply keep the pressures on the futures market and buy fat cattle cheap and sell the beef as high as they can. Where are these cattle organizations that should be raising heck about this situation? There is no reason to talk to an organization that is representing the packer or retailer also or you are wasting your time.

On a better note the countryside looks very green. Our cow numbers picked up some this week but not large. Most will start culling old cows when they wean, particularly those calving in the spring. I like to wean calves off an old cow early as normally you hit a better cow market and cows with no teeth get pretty thin raising a calf and the grass losing its strength.

The Cattle on Feed report came out Friday. Futures were down big ahead of the report. But to my surprise futures went up sharply Monday after a supposedly negative report. It was down some on Tuesday. I love roller-coasters but not always in the cattle business.

Apparently 37 empty bottles of shampoo are fine but just one empty can of beer left in the shower is a big problem.

An older cowboy friend that talks extremely slow with a very dry sense of humor said the other day, “You know I don’t know much about doctoring but I have noticed those that linger on live longer than those who don’t.”

He was an ex-high school ag teacher. He said, “You know how to make a good ag teacher out of a young man who is just getting started?” He said, “You take a 2×4 and hit them right between the eyes. Works every time.”

Editor’s note: Jerry Nine, Woodward, Oklahoma, is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Slapout, Oklahoma.