Cattle Update

(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again here at the Wichita Farm and Ranch Expo during the Market Shootout. Four analysts from KFRM had the opportunity to talk to growers and producers here in the central plains. We pulled them aside, talking specifically about one commodity. Tom, I’m not sure how we ended up with the short straw, but you got to talk about cattle. And talk about a market in the last couple of months here that’s taken a beating, the cattle market certainly has had its downs and its even worse downs. (Tom) That’s even putting it mildly. We have seen a cattle market that has went from just a year ago, having record highs be it the cash market, be it the live cattle, feeder cattle futures market, even box beef prices. Then you look at where we are now. We have seen quite a pull back. And it’s a situation where producers have a hard time actually understanding what’s happened to ’em. The worst thing is last year when we had those record high prices we were seeing producers selling the board, buying put options and then very unhappy because they were making margin calls. And they were seeing their puts expire worthless. This year they decided we’re not gonna make that mistake again. A lot of producers went naked this year and they’re paying the price as we continue to see this market collapse to the down side. Technically and fundamentally. (Duane) We’ve heard anecdotal reports of five, six, even seven hundred dollar losses on some of these fed cattle that came out this fall. It doesn’t take long to burn up a lot of equity and kind of test your mettle if you want to jump back in with another pen. (Tom) That’s exactly right Duane. What we’re gonna see is we’re gonna see some old faces disappear feeding cattle. We’re gonna see some new faces appear. Like we’ve seen quite often in cattle cycles. Because just what you said, we’re seeing big losses out there in equity. We’re seeing banks start to back off trying to finance cattle. We’re seeing some feed yards that are suffering a little bit too, cause when prices get lower we start to see the feedyards starting to partner more with customers to get them to come in, then they’re sharing the large losses too. And now this whole cattle situation, even when things were great, the people that were struggling the most were the people that were finishing cattle. Cow/calf producer done great. Stockers done great. The feeders out there done great. It was the feedyard that has suffered the most. They did have small periods of great gains, but overall they were losing money more times than not. (Duane) Obviously we talked a lot of times about the highs too high, the lows too low. That may be a case again this time around. (Tom) That’s a very good ideal there, because last year’s highs were extremely too high. They got a lot of help from speculators, managed money pushing them up. Now we’re seeing these lows where I would agree, they’re too low. But that’s what happens. We have a tendency to push things too far. One thing you might want to think about if you’re buying cattle down the road, think about purchasing call options or buying the board as a way to protect yourself if markets do go higher and you’re paying more for those cash cattle down the road. (Duane) Final thought about the cattle market Tom? (Tom) Everything comes back. Keep in mind when we’re down on the lows people start to think there’s no way it’s gonna come back. You might remember that most of the bad news comes out in the bottom of the market. Most of the good news comes out in the top of the market. About the time you give up on it is when it turns around. So, stay optimistic. Things will change. Just give it time. Be patient. And when you do have a chance to lock in break evens or lock in profits, take advantage of it. Don’t pass it up. (Duane) Tom Leffler, Leffler Commodities, one of the market analysts that joined us at the Market Shootout IX, at the Wichita Farm and Ranch Show. Jamie back to you.

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