Here in the Northeast there is less “White Stuff” (more commonly known as SNOW) falling, than the price of the other white stuff, MILK! So far this season here in North Central PA we haven’t had a measurable amount of snow, meaning we haven’t had more than a half inch! Milk supplies on the other hand are pilling up faster than the worst storm that’s ever blown through here. Unfortunately the abundant supply of milk and the falling prices are more widespread across this country and the world than frozen precipitation from the most recent blizzard that shut down the mid-Atlantic region.
A 1,200-dairy cooperative in New England that had $1.1 billion of sales last year, started pouring skim milk last month into holding tanks used for livestock manure. So far farmers have unloaded 12 truckloads, or 600,000 pounds (272 metric tons). Dairies here in the Northeast dumped 31% more in 2015 through May than the same period in 2014.
Prior to making the switch to raising only 100% Grass-fed Beefalo, we were dairy farmers. We went through the seemingly bottomless pit of milk prices in 2005-2006 when producers such as ourselves were only getting $11cwt. in our milk checks when fertilizer, feed and fuel prices were skyrocketing. Those of you that are still pulling teats today after making it through that era, have had the opportunity to thankfully experience some rewarding periods of prices in the mid $20’s per hundred weight for your milk. The one thing that never made sense to us was how “The Bank” always thought that “You need to make more milk to increase your profits, so you need to buy more cows to make more milk…..” I guess some where in a galaxy far, far away to some pencil pusher sitting behind a desk that makes sense? Not taking into account every input cost that needs to be undertaken to support in some cases doubling the size of your herd. When we “retired” from dairy farming in 2006, we were on a 300 acre dairy farm where we were milking 364 cow’s and feeding 450 head not including the bottle and bucket fed calves that totaled more than 100 at any given time.
Thankfully today, by no other means than by the grace and guidance of GOD, we are raising a modest herd of 100% Grass-fed Beefalo cattle on a substantially smaller sized acreage, and way better off financially! The reason is because we trust GOD to provide and guide our farming operation rather than THE BANK, Chicago Mercantile Exchange and global markets.
Compared to last week, feeder cattle ended the week on a high note as many auctions throughout the trade area closed mostly 5.00-10.00 higher as the cattle futures had sharp gains to end last week. These gains carried into this week with most markets ranging from 3.00-10.00 higher on feeder cattle and calves with spots 12.00-15.00 higher. Many mid-west sale-barns are seeing heavy receipts with many impressive sales of hardened winter feeders around the circuit. This past Thursday, a sale-barn in Valentine, NE sold over 4,000 head of beef cattle with near 265 head of 600-650 lb steers averaging 619/lbs. sold with a weighted average price of $190.67, and 150 head of what they refer to as “fancy” steers averaging 734/lbs. dropped the gavel at $180.00. Overall demand was very good last week with many lightweight calves under 500/lbs. seeing some of the most impressive gains. Demand for these lightweight stockers gets better as more grass grazers enter the market each week with the understanding that supplies will be dwindling down by spring.
HELLO FOLKS! This means that just like with the over abundance of milk that was produced in 2015, the flooding of the sale-barns that are keeping beef sale prices high now WILL CRASH. And for some reason this is a recurring trend in both the milk and beef markets. So why are most producers are always caught off guard when the markets and prices crash.
Sorry for this latest rant of mine, I have them from time to time and this one is just about wrapped up. It just upsets me when I see producers in our local area as well as across the country that we know, who continually accept to “follow the herd”. Its time to break away from that way of thinking. Be the crazy “out there” thinker, and start thinking for your self! Do what’s best for your family, your farm and above all your animals. If your livestock are just a commodity, a number, a machine in a factory, your doing this for the wrong reasons. Trust GOD ya’ll, he’s been doing this a lot longer than we have.