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The Texas Side Of Things

published: June 12th 2020
by: Jim Banner

With all the recent doom and gloom that has been taking place in the world, I am choosing not to write about it or give my opinion about what’s going on.  Instead, I have decided to write about positive things and…
    Lately, I have had lots of people ask me how the cattle market is doing.  I usually respond to this by telling them it is doing just like it always does…it goes up and it goes down. I never really know if they are asking about the registered or commercial market.  Of course, the two are totally different and one might be very strong and the other could be very weak.   So, this issue I thought I would give you a little summary of how I think the markets have been and maybe where they are going.
    As you well know, all the public auctions came to a screeching halt back in the middle of March.  The last sale I attended before everyone went into the quarantine mode was on March 14th, when I attended the Jones Cattle Co. Production Sale in Hondo, Texas.  At this sale, much of the offering were F-1 commercial replacement fe-males, along with some registered Brahman bulls and commercial Brahman heif-ers.  I think everyone was a little bit nervous about whether the sale prices would be as good as they were the previous year.  Once the sale began, the buyers jumped on board which made the sale very active, and the prices ended up being very good and positive. For the next four weeks though, all the scheduled sales were either postponed or canceled entirely.  Finally, on April 18th I went to the Super American Bull Sale, hosted by Briggs Ranches in Bloomington, Texas.  This was the first auction that I had ever attended where they asked the buyers not to attend in person but buy on-line only.  To my surprise, it was a very successful sale and the prices were equal to the previous year’s sale.  Since then, I have at-tended a sale every weekend and all of them have been very successful.  The prices have been extremely strong, which indicates to me that buyers are expressing complete confidence in our economy and our industry.   
    Meanwhile in the commercial markets, we saw a small dip in the calf market as the virus began to take its toll on our country and uncertainty showed up in the commercial segment.   The bright point for us though was apparently the American family, in desperation, chose to stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, dried beans and red meat.  Eventually the virus infected some workers at various packing houses, so certain facilities either shut down for a cleanup or at least cut back on production which created a backlog of cattle to process and a potential shortage of beef.  Once again, the calf market went down because they could not be pro-cessed, while the retail price went up without us earning any type of bonus.  This week choice calves have picked up another $2-$5 per hundred and hopefully the market will continue to go up a little bit more and then hold at that price so that everyone prospers just a little.
    Things are looking up even though hot and dry conditions are on the horizon, but we’ve dealt with Texas summers before and I’m sure we will come out of this just as successful as the ones in the past.  We will be taking some time off to get some things done, rest a little and get ready for the busy fall season that is just around the corner.  Please mark on your calendar that the next issue of Southern Livestock Stand-ard will be July 10th and do not call the office looking for your missing newspaper…first of all we won’t be here and secondly, we didn’t produce one.

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