May 21, 2024

From the Barns: Beef market softening

As I sit here to pen this column tonight, I find I am quite exhausted after another extremely busy day, which included us doing timed AI breeding on 90 heifers. It took us about three hours to get it done, with David and Stuart James doing the tech work, with myself and brother Brett keeping the heifers to the breeding chutes among other tasks.

It was the culmination of a very busy week, with every day not finishing up until well after dark. We do find ourselves shorthanded on labor these days. Wyatt took a job with UPS as a pre-loader, but with getting off work at 9 a.m. was able to help on the farm at least half a day. Now that UPS is busier, he is riding with a driver delivering packages and working most days until dark, so not getting his help on the farm. Expect it to stay that way until the first of the year.

Spur of the moment this week, we sold and shipped two loads of 800-pound heifers. They went to Colorado. They aren’t going to make a lot of money, but with this market softening and everyone getting a little nervous, we felt it best to move them while we could take some profit. We are going to be able to file a Livestock Risk Protection insurance claim because they sold for less than coverage price, so we will pick up some decent additional dollars there. This is our first LRP claim and glad we utilized that option. May take a look at selling a couple of more loads of feeders and also negotiating to sell a load or two of fats last week of this month.

The steers we bought a month ago got off to a solid start, but we have ended up having to treat quite a few of them. I blame it on a couple of cold rains we had, with changing weather systems. Those were unweaned calves straight off the farm. We brought in another 57 head out of western Kentucky earlier this week and we have another 30 to 40 head coming in first of next week. These are cattle already weaned and hopefully straightened out. Before the end of the month, we are supposed to get another 80 to 90 more.

Turns out we did get a stand up of the ryegrass sown last month. I was a little concerned about it. With these little rains we have been getting and some warm days, I think it will be OK and enough to withstand any hard freezes. We are grazing the cereal rye pretty hard and I think getting the good out of it. Not sure how much longer it will continue to grow before going into dormancy.

Believe it or not, we have been getting some manure hauled out of the feedlot, even way up in November. Hiring a couple of tandem trucks, we are hauling it down to a couple of our hayfields and will spread it as time and weather allows. We have been able to move dozens of loads, so that is going well. This has helped us get a few of the pens in great shape going into winter. Hopefully, we don’t get long stretches of wet conditions and can continue to make progress on pen cleaning.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Jeff Beasley

Jeff Beasley

Creal Springs, Ill.