More to the story for Missouri cattle producers than higher prices

The program manager for market news at the Missouri Department of Agriculture says all segments of the cattle market continue to see some strength.

Tony Hancock tells Brownfield prices remain well above average.  “Boy, the markets are good,” he says.  “They are good and most of our feeder prices are $60.00 cwt above where we were last year.” Hancock says cull cow prices have also been strong.  “We’re about $20 cwt higher than where we were this time last year on call cows,” he says. 

Prices received might be higher, but Hancock says that doesn’t tell the full story for Missouri’s cattle producers. “Most of the guys this year when they look back at what they considered a normal year, generally I’m hearing about half,” he says.  “It’s not a good situation when you throw in the fact that we’re setting in a drought which resulted in that half a hay crop so pastures are short as well.”

He says hay demand has been through the roof.  “Even in a dry year, we don’t see people as active in the market this early,” he says.  “Farmers are just being proactive because they know that there are no supplies out there to be found and they’re worried what prices might do.”

With the ongoing drought conditions combined with higher production costs, he’s not surprised at the uptick in cull cows.

“We’re up about 12,000 head at the auction barns that we report,” he says.  “For a herd size of 2,000,000 mama cows, that’s not super significant, but we’re running about 20% a week of our total receipts being cull cows when we typically think that average should be 7 to 10%.”

While a slow-moving front will bring daily chances of active weather throughout this week, Hancock says it will take a lot of precipitation to bring drought relief and improve conditions for cattle producers.

Brownfield meteorologist Greg Soulje says there is heightened concern mounting around multiple rounds of severe weather and flash flooding across the central & southern plains (centered on Missouri) and midwestern Corn Belt over the next few days.  
A major pattern shift is ahead in the next couple of days that will generate significant drought relief, but with additional problems mounting due to the intensity and rate of rainfall, and strength and severity of associated t-storm activity.

Flash flooding chances may also accompany storms with 1 to 3-inch rainfall rates per hour, with local 3-to-6-inch totals where storms progress along a slow-moving frontal boundary or repeat across a given area.  

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