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Sale Barn Study | October 2023

Fall Markets Flourish

contributed article by Kirk Lynch

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

Harvest is in full swing, most of the cow chow is or has been put into place for the winter and hopefully the extremely high temperatures are behind us for a little bit. As I write this article while things are dry in several parts of the country, we are getting rain across a large portion of Iowa and the Midwest which is always promising! Now, let’s look at what we have been seeing in the markets.

On the fat cattle side of things, we have been relatively steady and stagnant. We have been stuck in the mid 80’s for most of the past 4 to 6 weeks and this market just doesn’t seem to get much higher. We are already at record prices and packers’ margins are minimal, so one must ask how much higher we can really get. The futures all say we will be around $2.00 in the spring, and I think we will be, but I think it will be a very slow rise to that point. As numbers continue to be tight and get tighter, I would look for some tops in the barns in the low to mid 90’s over the next month, while the cash market continues to be steady and slowly rise.

As the fall calf runs have now fully begun, the feeder market has been on fire. As I stated earlier the futures for 2024 look like we continue to set record prices and the April board is flirting with the $2.00 mark. With this scenario, light calves are bringing in the $3.00 or above range and many of the larger weight cattle bringing in the mid $2’s. I look for this to continue through the fall especially if corn stays in that $5.00 range. On a side note, we have seen some bottle calf prices really soar with some reports of some over the $700 mark.

The cull cow market has taken a little bit of a hit as we have started seeing some cows come in that have either been preg checked open or were cows that just had a calf pulled off them. Seeing several good high yielding cows bringing in that $1.10 to $1.20 range. The bull market has continued to be excellent with several bulls bringing in the $1.30 to $1.40 range. We are seeing several bulls come in off pasture as some producers have decided to sell their older bulls rather than winter them.

We have seen a drastic increase in demand for fall breds and pairs as we got to the fall calving window. That has also seen an increase in price for them. As I have stated over the past several months there appears to be some buys on commercial breeding stock. One would think with the feeder and market prices being where they are that breeding stock would be selling outrageously, but it has been kept in check due to the higher feed prices, especially hay, and people lacking feed for extra cattle over the winter months.

Wishing everyone a safe and bountiful harvest and if there is anything you ever need just let me know! 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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