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Sale Barn Study | December 2022

Market Holds Steady Into Winter

contributed article by Kirk Lynch

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



As I write my monthly article my computer says it is 32 degrees outside. Mary and I have decided it is time to pull out the snowpants and boots for the kids and get the winter clothing around for us to do chores. It will only be six weeks before we are taking shifts at night checking on the heifers that are due to calve the first of the year. It is hard to believe we are at that point of the year again and it seems a little early to be bundling up! Well, hopefully it is just a little cold spell and not a sign of things to come. Anyway, let’s look at what we are seeing in the barns.


On the fat cattle side of things, we have seen a steady increase every week in the market over the past couple of months, it also appears that we have hit a bit of a plateau. The cash market in the country hovers in the low $1.50s. We have been seeing some hard, long time fed, high probability of being prime cattle, bringing in the high 50s and low 60s through the barns. With the bullish fat cattle market over the past couple of years, look for the slow and steady rise to continue throughout the winter into the spring.


With the forementioned promising fat cattle market, the feeder cattle market continues to be strong. The surprising thing that we have noticed is that calves coming right off the cow are bringing more or closer to long time weaned calves than previous years. This is more than likely due to the lack of available numbers of feeder cattle out there. Seeing lighter steer calves (500 to 600 pounds) bringing in that $2.00 range and bigger yearling cattle in that $1.80 range with heifers being mostly $15 to $20 back.


The cull cow and bull market has slipped some with the increase in numbers coming through the barn. These both generally jump back after the first of the year when the culls from the fall are cleaned up.


The breeding stock market is starting to pick up some steam as it usually does as winter approaches. I would expect the bred cows and heifers to lag as most producers will buy them as close to calving as possible this year, rather than stick high price feed into them over the winter. With that said, once again we are seeing some buys out there in the commercial bred cow and heifer markets.


I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, cheers to 2023!


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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