Kelli Payne at Oklahoma National Stockyards Encourages Cattle Producers to Stay PositiveMon, 25 Jul 2022 14:37:39 CDT
Farm Director, KC Sheperd, had the chance to catch up with the President of Oklahoma National Stockyards, Kelli Payne, during the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Convention last week. With drought on the minds of every producer, Payne talks to KC about the drought’s impact on the cattle business and staying positive during these hard times.
“Of course, everybody right now is hearing all kinds of things about producers having to sell off cattle- we have got the drought going on,” Payne said. “Whether you are in an urban area or a rural area, it is obviously very dry out there. The heat coming in is earlier than usual and these record-setting temps have really started to take a toll, and have taken a toll, on forages and not just people, but livestock as well.”
It is a very dangerous situation that we are in, Payne said, and folks are trying to get very creative in how we are going to move forward.
“We obviously had an increase in numbers last week at Oklahoma National Stockyards selling a little over 13,000 over two days,” Payne said. “Some of that though, we had the July 4th holiday in there too and conditions just continued to worsen.”
We did see an uptick in our cow numbers generally Payne said, which is a pretty good indicator that folks are getting really serious about it. They are looking at what forage they have stockpiled if any, she added.
“Not being able to get hay right now is going to be a problem, or not being able to cut any hay,” Payne said. “Folks are being a little more stringent about getting the open cows out of that herd and the older cows, and I think we are going to continue to see a little more aggressive culling probably in relatively short order.”
A couple of weeks ago when we saw some really high numbers selling, Payne said that it was an interesting situation.
“We did have the holiday mixed in there and a lot of the Monday and Tuesday sales were closed, but the market was really good going into that holiday,” Payne said. “There was some optimism there.”
After the July 4th holiday, the heat situation intensified, Payne said, which really exacerbated the situation.
“It’s kind of a rule of thumb when you get that many cattle coming to town, that market is going to soften,” Payne said. “Of course, we had a cattle on feed report come out.”
There are a lot of different factors, Payne said, that add to the challenging situation we are in. Producers are going to have to get creative, she added.
“As a cattle producer myself, we had turned out quite a few stockers this year,” Payne said. “We are probably going to end up selling two months earlier. We got really aggressive about rotating the pastures, and of course, we’ve lost a creek now.”
Everyone’s situation is going to be a little bit different, Payne said, but overall, there is a trend of large amounts of females going to the market or the feedlot.
“This market can get really good, and this is where my optimism wants to come out, but I think there is some opportunity on the horizon,” Payne said. “Probably got to have some cash reserves and you better have some stockpiled feed.”
There are some opportunities, Payne said, such as partnering with some neighbors, for example, but she recommends keeping a hand on your operation because better days are ahead.
While some are comparing this year to 2011 and 2012, Payne said it is the perfect storm when you add in the high input costs we are experiencing as well.
“Tough times don’t last but tough people do,” Payne said. “There are some really good producers, and I am proud of the producers that we have in our trade area. I am proud to be a cattle producer myself and I think there are better days ahead if we can just hang on and take care of each other.”
Payne said the support of their trade area at Oklahoma National Stockyards has been wonderful. We pride ourselves on having a really strong market, she added.
“We are all in this deal together and it won’t last but we have just got to keep plugging through and pray for rain,” Payne said.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear KC Sheperd’s conversation with Kelli Payne about the current conditions in the cattle industry.
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