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Sale Barn Study | May/June 2024

Market Volatility

contributed article by Kirk Lynch

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



Spring has sprung. As I am sitting here writing my monthly article in the middle of April there is starting to be a substantial amount of corn put in the ground; and even this past weekend I went with a set of cows to pasture. We have been lucky enough to get a little moisture on the way and things are starting to shape up for a nice spring. Not sure that can be said for the cattle markets the last 30 days, but here is what I have been seeing.


The fat cattle market has taken a bit of hit as packers try to break the market because they are still having a tough go of it lately paying record prices for fat cattle and then seeing some resistance at the meat counter with the extraordinary soaring prices there as well. Other outside factors have played into this equation, such as the avian flu in dairy cows and issues on the Dow Jones. In all, generally we have seen about an $8 to $10 decline in the futures, but the cash market has been about $5 ahead of the futures board. We are still seeing a lot of cattle bringing well into the $1.80’s and still seeing some tops getting close to that $1.90 mark.


With all the volatility that has gone on over the past month or so it has affected the feeder market more than any other market. You would expect that when futures take a dive like they have because of the uncertainty of what we are going to sell these things at. Feeders are still strong with the front-end cattle not being much off, maybe $5 off to even steady but in general most feeder cattle have fallen off about $10 to $12.


The weigh up cow and bull market has been the shining light. Several slaughter cows bringing $1.30 to $1.40, and the bull market $1.40-plus. I have personally seen several weigh up bulls bring over $4,000!


As projected, as we get closer to grass the bred market and especially the pair market has caught fire as well. If you are looking for quality pairs, they are bringing well into the $3,000 to $4,000 range. Even with a dip in the feeder market these calves are still going to bring in the high teens as feeders this fall. The bred market is fueled by the high weigh up market as most weigh up cows are worth $2,000 or more to go to slaughter.


Wishing everyone a safe planting season and breeding season. If you ever need anything, do not be afraid to give me a call! 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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