Texas Side of Things

Jim Banner, Southern Livestock Standard

September 18, 2023

Hopefully, it looks like we have finally made it through the summer of 2023. This past week, a cool front, not acold front, made it into Texas and dropped the temperatures down from 108 into the high

90’s which is a welcome relief for most of us. In fact, we received anywhere from a half inch to over an inch of rainin the Hill Country but it’s still not the measurable rainfall we desperately need before our first killing freeze, which hopefully won’t occur until the end of November. I’m 65-years-old and I can honestly say, I’ve never seen a year likethis! In Llano and Mason counties, we were green and lush at the beginning of July and in 60 days without anyrainfall, no cloudy days whatsoever and over 100 degrees every day…it dried out faster than I’ve ever seen it. The Llano River, which is three miles from

from our ranch in Castell, actually stopped running by the end of August and it never even did that in the drought of 2011.

So, what can we expect from now until the end of the year? It’s anyone’s guess but if you read Brian Bledsoe’s last column, our favorite meteorologist, he thinks it’s looking like rainfall chances will finally be increasing by lateOctober and but more likely in November. Now, most of you would agree that sooner would be much appreciatedbut then again, we are dealing with mother nature, and she decides when it will begin. So, if we were lucky enough to start getting moisture in the next three weeks, we can still grow some grass before the days get shorter and thenights get cooler, and the grass grows slower.

Enough about the weather and the drought of 2023. Let’s look into the future of the cattle business. In the lastfew weeks, I’ve received numerous phone calls asking about the replacement female and bull sales scheduled forthis fall and winter. People have asked what they are going to cost and if there is going to be a big demand andwhere they can find them. In my opinion, good bulls are still going to cost you $5,000-$10,000 just like they have for the last six or seven years. Quality bulls backed by quality registered producers can make a huge difference in your next set of calves and eventually, you will be the one that will reap the reward. Let’s face it, you get better heifer andsteer calves which in turn will top the market and of course, will you make more profit. I understand the idea that you can buy some cheaper bulls to breed your cows, but do you really know what you are getting? Here is my question, “Do you want to top the market or are you satisfied producing just average quality calves?” Personally, Itake great pride when I drop off my calves and people take notice and say something like, “Wow! What a set ofcalves.” It makes me feel proud of what I’ve produced and when they complement them, I know I’m doing a goodjob. But let me tell you a little secret… I’m not starting out with a $1,500 bull that has a bad case of No-Ass-At-All!

Same advice with the replacement female sales. I think the replacement market is going to be going up and up as we start to get the rainfall we are expecting this winter. Let’s face it, green grass and weeds will make the replacement market jump and the demand is there. Producers are just waiting for something green to show up in their pastures and when it does, the replacement prices, I think, will rise 20%-30% overnight and in some cases,even more. Most producers by now have sold their 2023 calf crop and they will now attempt to replace their depleted herds as quickly as possible. So, do you buy now and feed them hay or wait for the green grass and pay alot later? That’s a tough question to answer but what I do know is there are some outstanding bull and female sales coming up in the next six to eight weeks and I encourage you to plan for the future because good times are justaround the corner and if you wait too long, you will be left out.

Southern Livestock

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