We got some calves shipped. Hate to say sold, at these prices! They are a lot of lighter than normal weight calves moving right now.Most ranchers are selling way earlier because of no feed left on pastures and very hard to find and expensive feed to keep them. Calves are being sent to areas south, east and some even west , of this area, where they have had adequate rainfall this year.
A few years ago, when it was so dry down south, many of those cattle came up here. Now the worm has turned. And the cost of trucking is high, so the buyers pay less for the livestock and it also helps raise the cost of feed hauled in. Trucking is high because of higher fuel prices and federal mandates that cost truckers more then they used to pay. And of course, a shortage of people who can and will do the trucking.
Costs are a spiral. When one part of an industry raises it’s prices, those who have to pay them, raise theirs to compensate. With the lower amount of people who are willing to work at many jobs, the businesses have to pay more to get the help they need. Unfortunately, Ag can not raise our prices as we are price takers, not price makers. It is terribly frustrating. But also part of the game. Many talk of ways to avoid it, but what it boils down to, most Ag products are a perishable commodity.
When you don’t have feed, you can’t just keep cattle around as they will starve. Well, duh, you say. You would be surprised how many don’t think of that, tho’. Animals need feed. You can raise it or you can buy it, but one way or another, you have to have it. And in a wide spread drought like we are seeing, there are so many who want and need the feed and so little that was raised, that the prices shoot up from all the competition for it. And as soon as those selling see what people are willing to pay, they charge more, in most cases. You really can’t blame them, as they suffer in years when there is more feed than is needed, so sell at below cost of production in those years. They have to make living too.
Yes farming and ranching is a wonderful way to live. But a poor way to make a living! People in Ag are the biggest gamblers in the world. And as everyone around here will tell you, this is the best, “next year” country around. Eternal pessimistic optimists or optimistic pessimist! Take your pick.
Heres hoping we all get more rain soon!