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Sale Barn Study | April 2024

Promising Market Continues

contributed article by Kirk Lynch

Lynch Livestock Inc. and Humeston Livestock Exchange, Humeston, Iowa

It is officially spring. Easter has come and gone, and in my country as I am writing this article, there is some field work that has begun. With the weather we have had all winter I can say we are ahead of schedule as far as the workload compared to past years, the same can be said about the cattle markets. I may sound like a broken record every month, but the outlook continues to be very promising and bullish.

Feeder cattle continue to bring record soaring prices. You hear of grass calves, depending on their weight, being in the $3.00 to $4.00 range. It has been a dry winter in most of the Midwest and these prices will only get higher if we get some moisture to ensure that there will be some grass for these calves to go on. All bigger cattle continue to be in the $2.00 to $3.00 range as the futures boards all look impressive as we have the lowest cow herd numbers in 73 years.

The fat cattle market continues to creep up slowly as the packers can move the product and begin to move it for a little profit here and there. The way the numbers and fundamentals are set up we really should have fat cattle bringing $2.00 to $2.10, but the continued cutback in numbered slaughtered (last week it was over 400,000 less than a year ago) and increase in slaughter weights have kept the fat cattle market in check. We are safe at around this here for the next year or so, especially in the short term as we start to get into grilling season and demand should pick up again.

We are in unprecedented times as far as the cull cow and bull markets go. I received a picture of a slaughter cow that brought over $2,800. Fed cows have really taken a jump over the last month. As there continues to be a shortage of cows - I look for this to continue. Several cows pushing and breaking the $1.30 mark and bulls bringing in the $1.40 to $1.50 range.

The breeding stock market is beginning to fire up and catch up with the rest of the markets as we start to get closer to grass and warmer weather. I personally sold several bred heifers that I sure thought I would have gotten a couple hundred dollars more a head for, but the demand just was not what I thought it should be in January and February with the way this whole cattle market is set up. I couldn’t keep all of them, but I talked Mary into keeping about half of them. We are calving them out and going to sell them as pairs at about grass time. I think that is sure going to payout as I think not only young cows and heifers will be worth something, but even running age and older cows will be bringing a lot especially if we get some moisture. Seedstock bull sales continue to be excellent.

Hope everyone had a great Easter and wishing you a safe and productive spring, until next month!

Kirk Lynch, Lynch Livestock Inc., Waucoma, Iowa

Kirk is the Beef Division manager for Lynch Livestock Inc. and oversees all aspects of their backgrounding and cattle feeding operations throughout Iowa and Kan. He is also deeply involved in the newly re-opened Humeston Livestock Exchange in Humeston, Iowa. In addition, Kirk and his wife Mary own and operate Heartland Simmentals in Northeast Iowa, which is a seedstock operation that consists of 500 registered Simmental and Angus cows. They have four children: Gabrielle (9), Brayden (8), Vivian (6), and Bianca (2).

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