Two weeks ago a major winter storm extended across the middle of the country. Heavy snow hit parts of the feedlot country across eastern Colorado, Kansas, southeastern Nebraska, and southern Iowa. Much of Nebraska was spared the worst of the snow but rain has created wet, sloppy conditions in many places. This will impact cattle performance in feedlots and in the country. Cattle standing in mud up to their stomachs is less than ideal for optimal performance. Moving mud around can even be more complicated.
Winter weather often impacts feedlot performance and efficiency. Feedlots experience poorer feeding efficiency with winter’s higher feed to gain ratios. Not surprisingly, feedlots post the highest animal morbidity and mortality rates for cattle fed through the winter. Due to these conditions, buyers have hesitancy moving forward.
Cold weather increases animal maintenance requirements and boosts feed needs. Rain or wet conditions produce a coat of wet hair on cattle. In these conditions, cattle producers need to increase the quantity, and often the quality, of feed for cattle. This is necessary to avoid production losses and the impact on pregnant or lactating cows or for stockers.
Here in Arkansas, we can see the demand for cattle decrease when the feedlots have bad weather conditions. The cattle industry is influenced by several variables and can give you a sense of confusion when choosing which week to market your cattle. At our livestock auction, we want your cattle to bring their full potential, and we want to be transparent about the market and current flocculation. In doing this, it helps to understand the “why” following current cattle market prices and trends.
Overall, the cattle market has been good and hasn’t had to take many hard hits. This week weigh cows were up 6 to 8, even with the lighter run due to the bitter cold. Bull calves traded 4 to 7 higher and heifers were 3 to 7.
As always, we appreciate your business and look forward to working with you in the future.