Before the conclusion of July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the Cattle Inventory report that revealed a lower head count in the national cattle herd, and that is leading to higher prices.

Northern Livestock Video Auction held their annual Summertime Classic sale July 24th through the 27th, just before the inventory report was released. This sale was a record breaker in many ways. Northern Livestock Video Auction sold more than 160,000 head of cattle during this sale. That is the largest numbers of cows and calves to cross their screens in the 20 year history of the company. On top of record head count, some of the prices received were sale records as well.

Ty Thompson is the co-owner, manager, and auctioneer for the video auction business. He said the most exciting part of the sale was the second day full of yearlings enrolled in specialty programs and commodity yearlings along with an impressive number of light-weight calves reaching three dollars to three dollars and twenty cents per pound and some over four dollars.

"We saw some prices we haven't seen in a long long time and a lot of prices we have never seen," Thompson said. "Demand was really strong from Canada, the Midwest, and the South. this feed base is building back up and everyone has bought into this low cow inventory. Just made for a great event with historic prices and the best thing about it was the sale staying strong and steady through all three and half days."

Check the USDA Market Report here.

Check the Northern Livestock Video Auction detailed report here.

Many have started comparing this market swing to the market prices of 2014/15, and Thompson believes we have a year to a year and a half of good prices to look forward to based on the inventory report and expectations of delayed herd rebuilding. He credits the cost of inputs, older producers not building their herd up, and ranch land being taken out of production as factors for the slow down in cattle inventory. Thompson does offer caution in that beef demand needs to stay high for prices to remain at these levels.

Sources: USDA NASS, Northern Livestock Video Auction, & PNW Ag Network

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