2021 Fall Market Predictions

There has been a lot of talk about what we can expect in the cattle market this fall.  A number of cattle producers have reached out recently, wondering what might be in store for us this year…

Good question. There’s no doubt that the weather is a large determining factor in what lies ahead, and the rainfall this year – or rather, the lack of rainfall – is undoubtably going to play a big role the market this fall.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are all short of moisture, with parts of Manitoba’s Interlake region facing severe shortage conditions.  As well, many of the upper Midwest regions in the United States are also having moisture problems that are expected to have an impact on crops in the fall.

There have been reports of prices reaching $8.00 a bushel for barley. (While these prices do vary between areas, these are the prices being reported as of this date.)  At this price, one has to consider shipping barley to the elevator as opposed to processing the barley through cattle.

We have seen similar conditions over the years, giving us a pretty good idea of what lies ahead.  We are making the same recommendations as we have in past years with similar climate conditions – to make roughage source the key component of the feeding program.  Use low moisture tubs (Agassiz Tubs) and make sure there is plenty of salt and clean water available for your livestock.  The trick is to keeping cattle healthy, is to make sure their rumen is working as efficiently as possible.

The rumen is host to a microbial community that play an important role in the health of your cattle.  These rumen “bugs’ like a consistent intake of the same nutrients, and tubs offer a reliable source of those nutrients.  The metaphor we like to use, is that “the bugs like meat and potatoes all the time” – the “meat” being the tubs, and the “potatoes” the forage source available.

TIP: Increase the number of tubs available to the herd.  This increases the surface area available for the licking action, and hence an increase in the “meat.”

When evaluating the different tubs on the market, don’t just buy the tub at the cheapest in unit price.  Instead, factor the price cost on an individual animal intake basis. An easy way to figure out this cost, is to convert the price to a 100% dry matter basis for all the tubs being evaluated.

For instance, many of the chemical (cold pour) tubs must lower their prices to remain comparison due to many having a moisture content of 10% or higher. Our tubs are developed with improved mineral technology and manufactured using low cooking temperatures that reduce water weight and produce higher vitamin and mineral levels in each tub.  Don’t just take our word for it though…  The proof is in the label.  When looking for the right tubs for your business, check out the individual animal intake recommendations the manufacturer has supplied on the label and consider the total nutrient profile in the tubs.  It’s easy to get more bang for your buck when you breakdown exactly what you are paying for.

The bottom line is that barley at $8.00 a bushel calls for a little cowboy arithmetic.  Always remember that the golden rule is to keep the rumen functioning – and to do this in the most efficient and easy that it can.  The rumen is “the meat of the machine” and it might just be the most important factor in maintaining healthy livestock.

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