January 2020 Cattle Feeding Projections

Posted: January 21, 2020

January 2020 Cattle Feeding Projections

It’s a new year and a new page in the cattle closeout book. We look back at 2019 with lots of lessons learned in the feedlot and a continued faith that a new year will bring trade deals to fruition and an increase in beef demand.

January feedlot values look promising once again. Changes in availability of feedstuffs affecting overall cost of gain (COG) continue to be the biggest drivers on overall profits. If you don’t understand your COG you need to take a moment and add a feedlot closeout tracking program to your list of January resolutions. There are some nice programs available to help track your feedlot inputs. Sitting down with both your Form-A-Feed Nutrition and Production specialist as well as your finance lender is a great way to start learning how COG affects your bottom dollar and what the team can do to help you improve it.

Holstein calves are becoming harder to come by in larger lots due to demand for straight Holstein cattle by some of the major packers. You can see this demand by the increase in price as we continue to battle with the southwest in bringing straight Holsteins to the northern country to finish out. I would suspect these values to perhaps climb higher yet. Be certain you discuss quality of calves as you buy larger lots of Holsteins and know what region they are coming out of so that you can plan accordingly for treats and expected health.

Crossbred Holsteins continue to develop into a larger portion of the dairy influenced fed cattle percentage, but the demand at this point is still uncertain as its effects on the retail side continue to be worked out. Please know where you can market these cattle as they will continue to carry the same basis as a straight Holstein with some packers –  indicating they don’t necessarily want them until they figure out where they will market them.

Lightweight colored calves hit in high demand at the beginning of the month due to the profit in either just backgrounding these calves or looking at what the futures have in them for profits. They garner yet the highest return on colored cattle. The longer one waits with the lighter-weight cattle, typically the more likely for smaller, less uniform groups are to be put together, versus the front end runs so that run may be dried up. Some nice colored backgrounded steers and heifers are hitting the auction block this week. There is great value in these preconditioned, bunk broke cattle to come into slat and pack type facilities and hit the ground running.

Winter weather has set in and has certainly made its presence known thus far in the north. It is our hopes you have your winter weather protocols in place in regards to feeding situations, clearing snow from bunks, bedding and cleaning schedules and working in a safe environment. We all know the value that dry hided, clean cattle, bring to the market for both colored cattle and Holsteins.

The Form-A-Feed beef team looks forward to serving you into 2020. Please let us know how we can better work with you and your team to improve overall cattle value at your operation.