12/14/17 - NOTE FROM JACE:
Long time no talk!... it’s been a busy fall! Since dad died, there has been so many things needing to get done with the transition of mom moving to town, selling the farm, not to mention the busy fall time at the sale barn, as well as having 3 cow sales this fall. First off, I’d like to thank all my help! The majority of the help here at La Junta Livestock has never seen the cattle numbers like we’ve had this year, week after week. Some of that is due to people increasing their cow herds the last few years, and a lot of it goes to my new field reps. I would like to thank John, Punk, Buddy, and Robert for all they’ve done for the Honey family and La Junta Livestock. I think dad would be proud of us for keeping up the traditions with quality and reputation. I know my mom tells me every week how proud she is of us boys. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think “how would dad do this…” or “what would my dad say” in any particular situation. Lesli and the office staff tell me about the incredible new number of consignors bringing their cattle to La Junta Livestock. We’ve been seeing an increase of at least 5-10 new people a week to market their cattle. Almost everyone raises good cattle any more. The only difference in price adjustment is the flesh on the cattle and if they are weaned or not.
Now… on to the market! What an unusual fall… It seems like the more cattle we sold, the higher the prices got every week. I know that this is due to a shorter supply of fat cattle. I said thru the summer that the market should be higher after Thanksgiving. It was basically steady, and I think that is because with all the big numbers, the feed lots have filled up with new cattle. I still think that sometime in January or February there will be a shorter supply of fat cattle. When this happens, the calf and yearling market will increase. The 500# cattle and lighter have gotten higher every week. We sold some 500# steers at 2.00/lb last week. Ranchers are already buying lite cattle for summer grazing. Winter wheat pasture really has never materialized this year. Most of the 550# and up cattle have gone to grow yards instead of the wheat pastures this fall. Same amount of cattle no matter which direction they go, but this means the cattle will finish sooner and more than likely be lighter than normal. Bottom line… less tonnage. As far as the bred cow market, there is probably an oversupply of bred heifers throughout the U.S. and an oversupply of bred cows. This is because of the drought stricken states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and some of Nebraska. The reason I bring this up is because it has saturated the bred cow market in our trade area. In my opinion, this year or next (depending on moisture in the drought areas) they are going to need bred stock to replace what they have had to sell in the past. I read that there was a half percent more cattle in 2016 than there was in 2015. There is 2.5 percent more in 2017 than there was in 2016. My thought is that this has a lot to do with those drought areas having to sell the majority of their cattle. Time will tell…. See you at the sale!