April 2020 04/07/20 5:29:00 PM
The first week of April has arrived with very pleasant weather. We have been in the 60’s a couple of times and clouds have given way to sunshine for more than half of the week. We were expected to get some rain a couple of times this week and missed everything that you could measure. The forecast this week is for warmer temperatures up into the upper 70’s and late in the week a slight chance of rain. We are drying out enough there is some manure hauling, fertilizer spreading, seeding and some anhydrous all going on this week. I heard there may be some corn planted pretty close to us also! If it continues to be dry this week there will be a lot of field work started!
Saturday’s sale came at the end of a very uncomfortable week in the market. Hog and cattle futures crashed lower faster than the Titanic went down. Cash market had been very resilient to futures up until this week and cash headed more towards the futures rather than vis versa!
The hog sale lead off the day’s sale with fat hogs bringing $39 to 43.50. Sows fell into the very low $20’s for over 5 weight sows and into the teens on light sows Big boars fell to only 2 cents a lb. and we were lucky to find someone to take them! The pigs sold mostly at 60 to 70 cents with a couple of packages bringing over $70 for some 85-pound pigs. The hog sale had 375 head.
This sale is our traditional week for an Easter lamb special. With the market moving lower several lambs were held back by producers hoping to hang on until the market gains some strength again. The feature consignment was the bred ewes due to lamb here in April. The large group of them sold for $310 per head as several people bid on them hoping to add to their flocks. The 50 to 60-pound lamb market was pretty much from $1.65 to 2.05 with most at $1.75 to 1.85. Fat kid goats weighing 40 to 60 pounds brought $80 to 125 or about $2 a lb. Nannies and billies were lower but seemed to bring from a $1 to 1.25 a lb. for nearly all weights. Baby kid goats were $178 to 35 for dairy billies.
The outside sale was loaded with over 800 big bales and 1250 small square bales. The demand for small squares was good. The better quality hay sold from $5 to 7 and the lower end was at $3 to 3.50. We didn’t have any straw. Big round bales were $30 to 55 with a large quantity in the $40 to 45 range. Big squares sold from $40 to 75 and corn stalk round bales brought $20 to 32.50. It takes 45 minutes to sell that amount of hay and with nothing else outside to work on we were ready to sell cattle before the sheep and goat sale was over.
We had a 1000 plus cattle this week with most customers deciding to let their calves go rather than try to outrun the market in the coming weeks. It was really a very active sale as people were active on grass cattle and big yearlings going to the feed yards. Five weight steers were solid from $1.60 to 1.70 and six weight steers topped at $1.49. A fancy group of 755-pound steers brought $1.23. Light heifers averaging in the 400’s were from $1.45 to 1.55 and some low 5 weight heifers would get into the $1.40’s. Six and seven weight heifers sold from $1.15 to 1.30. Weigh cows took a direct hit with some packers out of the market and the balance backing off the numbers they can process per day. The majority of the cows sold from $45 to 50. We had a $57 top. Bulls were in the $60 and 70’s with an $80 top.
As plants slow down because of a labor shortage, cash markets will stay soft over the next couple of weeks. As chain speed starts up again, cash will move up as well. It is hard to be patient in times like this when the market is moving so violently. We may not see a recovery this week, but we are going to a recovery in the market over the next few weeks. Keep taking care of your stock and yourselves and we will get thru this challenge.
Have A Dandy Week!!