The Texas Side Of Things

Jim Banner, Southern Livestock Standard

December 11, 2023

As we come to the end of the year, I’m trying to think of the best song title I’ve ever known that is appropriate for how 2023 turned out. The best one I can think of, and hopefully you will agree, would be, “Looks Like We Made It,” to describe our experience this past year. Many of you east of Interstate 35 started out wet while the rest of Texas continued to be dry. I remember a few of our consignors at the San Antonio All Breed Sale back in February were commenting that they were having a difficult time feeding their round bales due to mud in the pastures. But then, everything seemed to flip-flop, and as we got to April, May, and June, if you were east of I-35 it started to get dry and those to the west and south started to receive rainfall. But, when we got to July and August, everyone in the state went to heck and the whole state started to bake. Most of the abundant moisture soon dried up and we were left with tall, dry grass in the pastures which posed a potential fire hazard. Luckily once again, mother nature was good to us and provided much needed fall moisture, and hopefully we will get more before the end of the year. 

In the cattle markets, the year began good and continued to grow stronger. Comparing the first six months of 2023, 600-700 pound choice steer calves went from $1.94 in January to $2.61 in June. That’s a significant change in a short span and more importantly, the market got better as we got closer to summer and new crop calves started coming to town. The replacement female market was good, but we really didn’t see the jump or bounce that many expected. Possibly, the unpredictable weather prevented cattle producers from getting aggressive with their restocking plans or maybe, because interest rates are higher, they decided to pay off some loans instead of increasing their herds. Either way, I think we will see an increase in prices this spring, especially if producers get the rainfall they desperately need. All in all, the cattle business seems to be in good shape and just like all of you, I’m hoping our calf market stays at the level it is and allows producers to get another profitable year under our belt. 

So, all in all, 2023 has been a good year for all of us in agriculture. The farmers made a bumper crop and from what I’ve been told at a good price. Cattle producers sold their calves for a profitable price and hopefully, will continue to do so for many more years. Let’s face it…we have a lot to be thankful for as we close out 2023. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, especially for young children. But, as we get older, Christmas is a time of reflection. This year will be very sentimental for me because this is the first time that my mom won’t be with me for Christmas, and I know that I’m not the only one that will be missing family or friends. But as I prepare for this year’s event, I will have wonderful, fond memories of past Christmases when both my parents and grandparents were still alive. I will remember all the kindness and caring love that they provided me for so many years. Because when it comes down to it, only the memories will remain because that’s what a good life is…a collection of happy memories. 

As we prepare for the Christmas season, may you find peace and hope every day, and may you and your family stay safe and secure. May you share many of those stored up memories with others and build new ones for years to come. As in years past, we will be taking a few weeks off to spend with our families. Our first issue for 2024 is scheduled for January 5th. From the staff at Southern Livestock Standard, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Y’all!

Southern Livestock

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