Cattle futures can be a puzzle at times

Amy Langvardt minds the cattle at the May Beef Month proclaimation event May 12 near Manhattan, Kansas. Lyons Ranch hosted the event where Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed the proclamation. (Journal photo by Kylene Scott.)
"Just A Scoopful" - Jerry Nine
“Just A Scoopful” – Jerry Nine

I sometimes question how much cattle futures resemble reality in our business. Cattle futures are probably a necessary tool as it takes so much money to operate with no protection.

But with the funds in-out business and a lot of trading going on without a person making the decision and a computer often trading on the speed of trading down to a millisecond, where does it leave an ol’ farmer like myself, trying to use the brain God gave me–or the lack of brain—that I was given?

On most feeder cattle futures we are $20 per hundredweight lower than we were a few weeks ago. Maybe we were too high then, but even at $250 per hundredweight that is a lot higher than I thought we would get several months ago.

We could use another rain, but in our area that is fairly common.

A lot of those grazing cattle that were brought costing $1,800 per head and more had better hit a high market when they sell them as the interest on that calf adds up quite a bit.

Most cattle auctions on Monday quoted their cattle under 700 pounds to be $3 to $7 per hundredweight lower. Our cattle on feed estimates show cattle on feed at 102% with placements at 92.1% and marketings at 88.2%.

A man said at breakfast this morning, ”They just figured my taxes, and I owe the government $1,500. My brother-in-law hasn’t worked in two years, and he is getting a healthy check from the government for $6,000.” He said something is wrong with that picture.

A friend just picked up a sale bill that had lots of vehicles for sale. He said to me, “Here is what you need. Here is a Vesheer car 1957 for sale.” Then he said, “Wait a minute, I guess that says Classic not Vesheer.” I’m guessing his eyesight has gotten worse in those 65 years.

Several years ago, one of my boys came home and said he got a part in the school play. He said, “I will play a man who’s been married 25 years.” I said, “Son, next time maybe you will get a speaking part.”

My older sister sent me several recipes of ways to cook with a Crock Pot. Most all of them were recipes that my other sister had sent her. So I texted her and said, “You should put out a cookbook and title it ‘My sister’s favorite Crock Pot recipes.’” She quickly informed me that several of those were hers.

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.