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Sale Barn Study | December 2023

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Markets Slow Down

contributed article by Kirk Lynch

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

All good things must come to an end, and it appears that has happened in the last month in the cattle markets. While things seem gloom and doom, I think we need to take it all in perspective and realize that we are still in pretty good times with some excellent promising times ahead.

We have seen a dip in all the categories of the cattle business. The most notable is probably on the feeder calf side. While we are seeing calves still bringing pretty solid prices, we have seen them back off anywhere from $20 to $40. And honestly they needed to back off for feeders to make them work in the feedlots. Back in September and the most part of October there was not much of a dock for balling calves. But just like every year as soon as the calendar hits November and if your calves are not long time weaned with a round or two of shots in them, you are going to take a pretty big hit. And that has been never truer than this year.

On the fat cattle side of things, we have seen around a $10 dip in the cash markets in the country but probably more along the lines of $15 to $20 in the barns. We were seeing several bringing $1.90ish a month ago and now we are seeing several cattle bringing in the mid 70’s. Once again it is all relative as last year at this time, we were seeing fat cattle in the low 60’s.

The fed cow and bull market has held together probably as well as anything. Still seeing some cows bringing $1.10 to $1.20 and seeing some bulls up to $1.30. Thinner and leaner cows and bulls are a different story as there are plenty of them coming off pasture and are being discounted pretty substantially.

Before the dip in the market we were seeing some fall breds and pairs selling very well but that narrative has changed as well and that market is now all over the board. We have seen just the start of some bred cows and heifers start to sell. This market has been pretty soft, but that market is nowhere near established as no one is looking for bred stock to feed for the winter compounded with the dip in the market.

Wishing everyone happy holidays - have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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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