Despite the nation's deteriorating pasture conditions and hot temperatures, last week at Superior's Video Royale sale in Winnemucca, Nevada, feeder cattle sold phenomenally well, but the market tested both open cows and pairs for higher prices than most assumed. Pairs sold for $1,700 to $2,000 and cows for $1,150 to $1,350.
One would have assumed that, with the unanswered questions plaguing the industry and with hay prices already on the rise, cow prices would have been a little weaker. But just as the strength in the feeder cattle market cannot be completely fundamentally understood, it appears as though the support in the cow market is much the same.
When I first began tracking the cattle market, I quickly found that the truest, most reliable insight came from cattlemen who had wrinkles lining their faces, hunched-over backs and most often could be found around a sale barn coffee pot. One gentleman I had the pleasure of knowing and learning from was a life-long feeder from South Dakota who could talk for hours and had answers to nearly every situation the industry faced. Out of the many hours we chatted, I remember him distinctly telling me, "Whatever the majority thinks the cattle market is going to do, I promise you it's going to do the opposite."
Trying to find a technical or fundamental reason as to why feeder cattle prices have been as strong as they are is tough. No one would have thought that cow prices would have tested the market that well last week. But the cattle market has a way of keeping us all humble and eager to see what's around the next bend.
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ShayLe Stewart can be reached at ShayLe.Stewart@dtn.com
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