Over the last couple of years, beef producers have had to deal with low prices for calves, and drought conditions that dramatically impacted production levels. That, in turn, has lead to the shrinkage of the national cow herd. While there’s been a smaller supply of beef, demand has remained strong, and that has driven up prices for cow/calf producers. Bob French has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.
“From a cow/calf standpoint, we’re in good shape for numbers. The cow herd is down, which, supply and demand rules our market, and our market’s up, strictly because of that, because the supply is down, and the demand is till surprisingly strong with the economy like it is, and with the unemployment rate like it is, we’re still selling beef pretty high.”
Bobby Kurten is a cow/calf producer and says a few years ago the feed lot industry had over built.
“And I think the feed lot people suffered pretty bad, the people that were feeding cattle had a pretty bad year last year too, because of the way the numbers all lined up and because of the feed prices.”
Fortunately, 2010 has been a different story.
“This year the cattle feeders have come back, they’ve made a lot of money, which puts them back into the market for more cattle going into the feed lot, which helps, by extension helps the cow/calf man.”
Fall is the time when most ranchers in our area sell their calves.
“Some people have already sold their calves, some are in the process of selling them, some will sell them in the next couple of months, but it’s been real good so far.”
Hamburger meat comes from culled cows and bulls.
“That market has been real good. Personally, I cull for age and for lack of productivity, not just for the market. Whatever the market it at the time I cull, that’s what I get.”
“A lot of us were already down to kind of our bare minimum. If the cow is still productive, even though there’s a good market for a culled cow, a lot of us aren’t going to cull those cows, if she is productive, we’re probably going to keep her.”
I’m Bob French, tracing the journey our food makes from the ranch to our plates, From The Ground Up.