Relax and Enjoy These High Prices

Nothing is going to cause cattle prices to collapse in the near future, so relax, enjoy and maximise returns, Kentucky producers are being told.
calendar icon 28 October 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

At times, people have been guilty of 'panic selling' recently, afraid that the good times wont last, explained Beef Professor Roy Burris, University of Kentucky. 

He has likened the current market situation to a time when the older generation would 'saucer' their coffee. 

"They didn't use a mug like I do. They poured some of their "piping hot" coffee from the cup into a saucer, swirled it around, savored the aroma and drank it down," said Dr Burris. 

"That practice later became symbolic of "good times" or of "counting your blessings" when someone coined the phrase, 'I'm drinking from my saucer 'cause my cup has overflowed'."

Professor Burris says it is time to 'saucer' the coffee and enjoy where the cattle markets are at this point in time. 

His message is that money can be made selling weaned calves or preconditioned calves, keeping ownership or selling. Calf mortality is costing more during times of strong livestock prices. 

"Go ahead and maximize your returns," said Professor Burris.

"Folks that are buying expensive calves will want some assurance that calves have been properly immunized and managed - so that they have an edge on survival."

Investing in Reproduction

He writes that some other considerations to maximize income involve reproductive performance.

We need to get the cows pregnant and try to save every calf. This is no time to come up short on your feeding and management programs.

There is too much at stake. Feed costs might even be falling a little - at least it seems that corn will be cheaper this fall. Keep those cows in proper condition for good breeding efficiency.

Provide a watchful eye during your calving season - be there and save those calves, insists Professor Burris.

Having a live calf is the most important thing that the cows will do. So what does that tell you about the bulls? Select those that are reasonable calving ease prospects for the cows/heifers on which they will be used. Be sure that heifers are properly developed and bred to calving-ease bulls. This is no time for a "train wreck".

This coming winter will be a very important time for your cattle operation. There's no excuse for "roughing" cattle through and hoping that the next calving and breeding seasons will work out okay.

Take good care of your animals to ensure that your cow herd performs at the optimum level. Losing a cow or calf is not only painful but represents a huge loss.

This is also a good time to cull some cows. Prices are good and if a cow isn't going to raise a calf, sell it. However, if you have open cows at weaning, you might consider holding them a while after weaning, and feeding them to put on extra weight before you move them. They can gain a lot of weight in a short period of time.

Markets Ahead

Cattle numbers are down and it will take some time for them to recover. Don't keep waiting for someone to pull the proverbial rug from under your feet.

Capitalize on what we have now. It is a good time to make some needed capital improvements on your farm. And remember, provide good care for your cows - and take time to smell the coffee!

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