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Hold cattle and delay marketing, or move them on?

published: July 9th 2020
by: Dr. Andrew Griffith
source: University of Tennessee


Questions continue to be asked about holding on to cattle of all weight classes and delaying marketing of those animals. If calves are lightweight or soon to be weaned then this may still be a good alternative compared to marketing cattle in a soft market.

If the cattle are heavier and ready for the feedlot then keeping them longer may not be an alternative at all. The only alternatives are to market them or to own them in the feedlot.

The issue with any decision is that there always comes a time when the cattle have to be marketed and there is no guarantee prices will improve between now and when the cattle must be moved. The risk-reward relationship appears to be off center at this point with more risk and not enough reward in the calf and feeder cattle market.

The one market producers need to be taking advantage of is the slaughter cow market. Slaughter cows continue to receive strong prices, but these prices will soon start to slip as more and more producers begin sending them to town.


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