High Times in the Cattle Industry - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

High Times in the Cattle Industry


It's high times in the cattle business.
Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin takes you to Napoleon for a look at today's cattle market.

(Sarah Gustin / sgustin@kxnet.com) "Calves are rolling into Napoleon Livestock by the thousands, because when the prices are good, it's time to sell." 
The chants are getting pretty high these days on sale day.
(Ray Erbele / Napoleon Livestock) "All the way around the cattle market is definitely higher, awesome really. A good 6 weight calf is probably bring $1.75-$1.85 depending on health programs, kind and type and flesh. 5 years ago, how much was that calf worth? Maybe a dollar, $1.10."
Ray Erbele is a co-owner of Napoleon Livestock.
Erbele says in his 18 years of being in the sale barn business, he's never seen prices this high.
(Ray Erbele / Napoleon Livestock) "Have you yourself ever seen calf prices at this level? No, absolutely not. Not even close. back early on in my career as a cow-calf man, I sold 5 weight steers for 28 cents a pound, back in the seventies, that was a disaster."
A big push in the cattle market is supply and demand. 
Currently the U.S. cattle herd is the lowest it's been in 55 years.
And the number of cattle lost in South Dakota due to an early October blizzard has also taken a significant hit on a national cattle herd that's been working to rebuild.
(Ray Erbele / Napoleon Livestock) "The losses have been horrendous. Whatever the finally tally is obviously those won't be in the feed yard, and whatever cows did in the storm won't be having babies next spring, and the list goes on and on. The list not only has immediate losses, it has a ripple effect for a long time to come." 
While prices are good, inputs are high and so is the workload.
(Ray Erbele / Napoleon Livestock)"If you have a snow storm, you have cows calving, you got a heifer that can't calf, all the technology in the world doesn't help you that much." 
A hard earned profit many ranchers have waited for years to cash in. 

There were roughly 5500 head sold at today's sale in Napoleon.
Erbele says typically October is their busiest month, but because of the late harvest the biggest sales have been in November.


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