Thursday, May 9, 2013

High Prices Everywhere!

May 7th marked beef prices hitting an all time high.  They peaked in late 2003 due to Mad Cow issues but this month they surpassed those prices. 

So it's a good time to be a cattle farmer, right?

To that I answer... meh.

Corn prices are still riding high and with late planting across the Midwest it looks like they are going to stay that way, at least for a little while longer. When inputs are high, your final output product has to reflect that high price.  Luckily, here at Green Acres, we have a deal worked out with a close family friend for a corn source.  But when that runs out, our feeder cattle have to be sold.  It's a lot of keeping track of supply and monitoring how long it will last us.

The severe drought last year caused a lot of small and mid-sized operations to have to sell off their herds.  No summer or fall rain meant low crop yields and burnt up pasture ground.  We struck gold last year in the form of corn stalk bales, otherwise we would have been in the same boat.

The price of calves has risen with the price of fats.  We use to be able to buy 5-10 feeder calves a year for our feedlot.  But this past year we have bought a total of 0, zilch, nodda... Again luckily we've been able to increase the size of our own heard.  So basically the 11-14 babies we raise every year go from Momma to feed lot to hamburger.  Heartless, I know, but keeps our costs down substantially.  We are a small farm and unique in the fact that we feed out our own calves.  We see our calves hit the ground as babies and then haul them off a year and a half later to sadly meet their certain demise.  Most large operations will raise calves and then sell them off to others to be finished on grain.

With all these negatives there are of course positives...

Like I said the price of fat cattle is high.  Next Monday we will be taking 5 Green Acre grown premium shorthorn beefs to the sale barn.  Prices are extremely high compared to just 5 years ago.  We still get excited when we see how much each calf brings per pound.  But to any other operation this is just normal business.

I would never want to be forced to sell off our whole cattle heard.  It's our hobby.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing a green pasture full of red, white and roan cattle with adorable babies running around.  It's a lot of work, way more than the pay off, but we don't mind it at all.  It's how I grew up and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

With being on the verge of summer start looking for more posts.  This weekend should be busy.  We are hopefully taking half the heard to their summer time pasture but before we do that we've got to walk and fix fence.  This weeks rain will put a damper on our ability to get the pasture ready.  But like my dad said if we don't get it this weekend, there is always the next.

Plus Sunday is Mother's Day so go home, hug your mom and take her somewhere nice!

And because I can't just type up a post with no pics, here is one for your viewing pleasure.

Yes he's sticking his tongue out at me... he's a cheeky calf!

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