Strategizing for November calf sale

A nice group of calves coming through the barnyard on the way to a new pasture with their mothers.

We will soon have calves being born to about 100 mommas by Thanksgiving. At the same time we have about 60 teenagers, soon to leave their mommas, sometime before Christmas.

The calf, or “feeder” market is on a downward trend right now, meaning we are waiting for prices to go up around the holidays to sell our calves to stockers or feedyards. We hope to find a buyer that will compensate us for our carefully raised animals — otherwise we will struggle to make ends meet through winter months.

And that’s the story all across the board with cow-calf operations. Calves get sold from here into the larger beef complex, where everyone has to get their slice of the pie — from people who buy from us all the way to your grocery store. That means there’s a distinct effort to compensate marginally at our end of the complex.

We laugh, saying “Well, they have to pay for those big new trucks and big hats somehow…” …as we drive old trucks and harvest hay with equipment the bank owns. And we wear ball caps here in Missouri. OK, that’s all the “wa-wa” for now!

Bottom line is, we have to work the system to get as much as we can when we bid our calves goodby. I’m always a little sad when they leave the front gate, going down the road forever. Someday we hope to know where they go and that they live a healthy life on their way to you.

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