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Agricultural News

Cull Market Weaker than Anticipated, Yet Small Uptick Gives Producers Short Window to Sell Higher

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:32:11 CST

Cull Market Weaker than Anticipated, Yet Small Uptick Gives Producers Short Window to Sell Higher

According to market watcher Jim Robb of the Livestock Market Information Center, several factors are currently at play which have driven cull cow prices lower. He explained the situation to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays.

“We’ve seen a cull cow market that’s been weaker than anticipated,” he said, pointing out that January prices were even more depressed than those seen the month before in December across the Southern Plains. “What we think has happened here is we have an increased number of beef cows coming to slaughter and that’s been up year to date 12 percent year-over-year.”

Robb says it is obvious that producers had intended to probably keep those cows a little longer this year on wheat pasture to add some more pounds before taking them to market. However, drought has choked the progress of wheat pasture and forages have become scarce and rather expensive - making producers’ initial plans less attractive. Adding to this pressure, dairy cow slaughter is also up by about three percent due to low milk prices. Overall, cow slaughter is up year to date seven percent. Robb says that rate may slow down marginally over the next few weeks and perhaps give producers a limited opportunity to see slightly higher prices for the cows. But he says that increase is from a very low base. This uptick that is starting to form could be part of a seasonal pattern driven by strengthening fed cattle markets that help pull up that cull cow price. In the long-term, though, he says it is likely the cull cow slaughter rate will stay above a year ago.

“You probably have to put a sharp pencil to that, and especially given our forage supplies, looking at selling those animals early rather than later,” Robb advised. “So, we’re going to get an opportunity here in the next few weeks to see these cull cow prices maybe work a little bit higher, but again not much higher as we often do; due to the larger supplies coming into the marketing system.”

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Listen to Jim Robb report on the current cull cow market and how producers can make the most of it
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