Cattle market looking strong in 2014
By Anthony Varriano
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The livestock market seems to be recovering nicely after hiccups to choice boxed beef prices to start the year forced cattle prices down.
“The cattle market is really good,” Glendive Livestock Exchange agent Vaughn Hoffer said. “It’s at an all-time high.”
According to Hoffer, slaughter cows are going for $0.92 to $1.10 per pound, and slaughter bulls are selling for $1.10 to $1.25 in Glendive.
“Slaughter cow and bull run is less than average,” said Hoffer. “There’s just less of them around.”
Ranchers are looking to grow their herds and expand, so demand for bred cattle and replacement heifers is up.
“Grass calves are worth a lot right now because there’s less of them around,” added Hoffer. “People are buying small calves now so they can put them on grass and there’s just not a lot of them around.”
The growing demand for calves indicates ranchers are investing and the market is expanding.
“We’re seeing people expanding and recovering,” said Dawson County Extension agent Bruce Smith.
Despite higher prices for feedstuffs since it is getting late in the season for hay feeding, much of the interest in expansion may be due to a better than average expected yield of alfalfa, hay and grain in the state, forcing future feed prices downward and spreading supply to out of state markets.
The USDA Market News Service reports, “Good moisture conditions across the entire state has growing conditions looking very favorable for when temps warm and spring weather arrives. The local market continues to be fairly quiet with best interest coming from the out of state markets.”
Feed supply shouldn’t be a problem with the amount of precipitation the state has received thus far, and that could be contributing to the growing livestock market and the feed supply is expected to support that growth.
The Glendive Livestock Exchange conducts sales at 10 a.m. every Friday and can be reached at 377-2697.