Senior Contributor
Posts: 335
Registered: ‎12-07-2014

When to Buy?

The recent increase in cattle prices has made me wonder when to start stocking up for spring grazing. In hindsight, December seems like the perfect time. However, had we purchased the cattle that we wanted for spring grazing in December, we would have had to feed them hay through all of winter. So, while we will probably not be able to equal or undercut December’s prices, after adding in the cost of feed and treating for health problems; we were probably wise to not do our spring buying last month.


January shares many of the same negatives as December. I am currently trying to discern if the current price increase is “New Year Optimism” or the start of a bullish trend. Right now, I lean toward the “New Year Optimism.” If my guess is wrong, as I have seemed to be recently, and this price increase ends up being a market trend, then now will have been the time to buy.


February is a bad mix that just might bake perfectly. Hay has to be fed, health problems are likely, the weather will have its up and down temperature days, quantity of green grass is still unknown. However, February is probably the last chance for purchasing before spring grass fever starts to increase the market.


I see March as the month where an increased price is paid in exchange for a little predictability. Winter ends, temperatures and optimism improve, grass starts to grow. Prices will probably be higher than February, but knowing how much green grass one is likely to have and being thru most of the cold weather are positives.


From past experience, I have learned that April is a terrible time to buy. In April, it seems like everyone has grass, wants cattle, and is willing to pay a premium price for them. The advantage to purchasing cattle in April is that the spring grass is available then and one has a very good idea of how many cattle they will need to consume it. So, purchasing when the amount of feed on hand is known eliminates the guesswork. However, does eliminating the grass quantity guesswork overcome the grass fever price increase?


I believe that picking the best time to buy stockers is challenging and can only truly be correctly analyzed in hindsight, but decisions cannot be made in hindsight.


So, in your opinion, when is the best time to buy stockers for spring grazing?




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