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franklin county times

High cattle prices bring opportunities

By By Lance Bruce / 4-H livestock agent
November 10, 2004
Cattle prices are at a high that most people would have never dreamed of. I am asked all the time how long it is going to last. I wish I knew how to predict the markets. If I could do that, I would be the wealthiest cattleman around.
There is one thing I do know. With this high market, producers have the opportunity to cull poor producers and replenish their herds with some quality animals without a great deal of expense.
Now, most people are looking at what they just read and saying to themselves, "He is crazy, replacement females are sky-high."
Quality replacements may be high, but they are not out of reach if you position yourself to make a move on them. The following is an example of how to position yourself.
First, you must have an idea of what animals you want to cull. The culls could be old cows, cows that skipped a calf, or cows that just wean small calves. Whatever your criteria for culling is, it must be done before you can get replacements.
You sell at cull at the stockyards, say a short mouth cow that is 6-8 months bred. If she is in good condition, she will bring you about $650. You can take this money and add about $200 to it and get a top-quality replacement female to replace your cull. By using the salvage value of the cull animal, you have purchased a good replacement for $200.
I wish I could predict how long this market will last. I have my own personal thoughts on it, but all of it is still speculation. One thing I do know is that while prices are high, producers need to position themselves to take full advantage of the market.
For more information on culling or purchasing cattle, contact the Lauderdale County Extension Service at 482-9764.

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