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The Market: Revisited

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From the Barnyard | Mike Graves

The cattle business isn’t as sexy as it was a year ago. In fact, to quote Ricky Westfall, the cattle business is showing some of us how cruel it can be. Thank goodness we’re experiencing a mild winter, or else insult would be added to injury.
Years ago, a veteran cattle feeder told me up in Nebraska, that most of the volatility in the cattle market was human emotion. I still believe reactions to news items cause fluctuations in the market, and most especially, the calf market. Many of us in southwest Arkansas take their calves to the market when they are big enough, or we run out of grass, or money. If we happen to take our calf crop to town on the day the Chinese announce new tariffs on beef, Oprah bad mouths us, or a mad cow shows up in Egypt, cow/calf operators suffer the consequences.
Today, we have recovered somewhat from the bloodbath of fourth quarter 2015; we’re not where we were a year ago, lots of capitol has been lost, and with it, enthusiasm about the cattle business.
All of which are reasons for me to buy cattle now, while we are in the “don’ts.” If I may, I’ll let y’all in on my market strategy:
When you see ranchers smiling, and bragging about their checks, it’s raining, and diesel is under $3, resist the urge to expand. When you see ranchers with a worried look on their face, avoiding their loan officers, hay is short and dust is flying, then gather some capitol, and buy some cattle.
All this is lost, of course, on the lucky folks who work for the federal gov’t – who are, more often than not, overpaid, underworked nincompoops who don’t know “come here from sic um!!”
“Oh happy day!!, Oh happy day. When Jesus washed my sin away!” Written by Phillip Doddridge mid 18th century, and based on Acts 8;35
“Cause causeth.” John Heywood 16th century
Acts 8;35 “Then Phillip, opening his mouth, began to teach, and preach Jesus unto them.”