Dip in Cattle Prices Not Deterring Texas Ranchers' Optimism

April 9, 2016 09:32 AM

By: Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Hundreds of Texas cattle producers gathered at the 2016 Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Convention in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday to learn more about current industry issues and with optimism despite  a dip in high prices, according to organizers.

Calf market prices have fallen from historic highs a year ago, but the event proved there’s still big interest in cattle across the state, they said.

“You know the bloom is a little off the rose in terms of cattle prices, but it’s not stopping folks from restocking,” said Joe Paschal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service livestock specialist, Corpus Christi. “The feeder cattle market may be off a little bit, but the breeding female market is pretty strong.”

The three-day convention, which continues through Sunday, includes cattle handling demonstrations and presentations from industry leaders on a variety of issues. Though the market is not  as robust as in 2015 or 2014, Paschal said good prices are being paid for replacement cattle.

“Folks are asking a lot of questions about restocking, what to stock with, should they buy pairs, open female and what types of bulls they should use. We are also getting questions about stocking rates, particularly if they are old or returning to the land.”

Paschal was one of several AgriLife Extension specialists who gave presentations throughout the event, as well as giving a demonstration on assisting with calf delivery.

“Calving difficulty is not as big of issue as it used to be, but we still lose 8 to 10 percent of calves within 24 hours and about three-quarters of those are due to calving difficulty,” he said. “It sets that heifer or cow back, makes them a little bit more harder to breed.”

Regardless, Paschal said a calf on the ground is money in the producer’spocket.

“Even a 500-pound calf is worth 1,000 dollars now days,” Paschal said. “The number of calves on the ground has the biggest economic impact on a farm or ranch. Weaning weight is important, the price you get for them is important, but the number of live calves you deliver to the sale barn on market day, that’s what’s going to make your profitability.”

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