October cattle futures drop

(Photo by OSU Agriculture.)
"Just A Scoopful" - Jerry Nine
“Just A Scoopful” – Jerry Nine

After the last cattle on feed report, I guess the big boys decided it was time to lower the futures. In five days, October feeder cattle fell $11 per hundredweight.

They are still a good price, but that’s a pretty good adjustment. Nobody must have told the slaughter cow and bull market the futures were lower, or else they didn’t care. For the past three weeks it appears the packers who kill cows and bulls need something to kill. A term you will hear around the sale barn when they get that aggressive is that they “need blood on the kill floor.”

Dairy cows in Texas, New Mexico and Kansas have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza. Laboratories have not found changes to the virus that would make it more transmissible to humans, which indicates the current risk to the public remains low.

Feeder cattle numbers at the sale have fallen off, which indicates the bulk of the wheat pasture run where they intend to harvest it has already hit the market. With bigger numbers already in the feedlots, I still feel there are fewer cattle outside. Starting in the middle of last year, we thought feeder cattle were high and pulled some forward then, and the market just kept getting higher, which continued to pull cattle forward.

Quite a lot of grazing steers were costing $1,800 per head to go back outside either to wheat and then grass or for some just grass. Let’s just say some buyers had more faith in the market than I did or probably had a better banker. Right now I am buying heifers weighing 270 pounds and paying what I was trying to sell my 600-pound heifers for a year ago.

Yesterday I found $20 in the parking lot, and I thought “What would Jesus do?” So I turned it into wine.

One little bit of marriage advice that some of you guys might find handy or good to know is to never ask your wife what time dinner will be ready when she is mowing the lawn.

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the view of High Plains Journal. Jerry Nine, Woodward, Oklahoma, is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Slapout, Oklahoma.