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Montana Ag Network: Higher feed costs affect some cattle producers

Posted at 11:06 AM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 13:06:48-04

Due to spring planting woes in the United States corn belt, Montana cattle producers could receive less money for their calves.

This past week, Superior Livestock Auction and Northern Livestock Video Auction held sales in Billings that featured nearly 50,000 head of cattle. The market was down about $10 compared to a year ago, however.

Danny Jones, president of Superior Livestock Auction, said higher feed costs are to blame.

“The feed costs is really in question right now,” said Jones. “I’ve talked to several feed yard managers and the first thing they all say is they don’t know what the cost of feed is going to be for the next few months depending on how this crop comes along. But they’re still actively participating and it seems that the market is really good. Activity has been good. There’s a lot optimism out there that it might get better. But on the feed side, it’s to be seen for sure.”

Northern Livestock Video Auction’s Joe Goggins agreed, but added he’s optimistic despite the uncertainties surrounding higher feed costs.

“We’re going to grow some feed,” said Goggins. “We’re going to grow some roughage and something a calf can eat and it’s going to be all over. I think the demand will stay fairly good on these calves especially just because we’re going to have an unbelievable amount of feed in this country. The one thing we are seeing early today too that we kind of seen it last year as well is these people that have kind of paid attention to their genetics and paid attention to the kind of bulls they bought these calves that got some consistency and uniformity bred in them and especially some performance bred in them they’re bringing a premium today.”

Cattlemen and cattlewomen are hoping for a successful growing season along with a successful corn harvest in hopes of bringing stability back to the cattle market.

Between the two sales, the average prices paid for a 500-600 pound steer calf was $1.52-$1.72 per pound, about $10 lower than 2018.

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-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News