Livestock is indeed a live industry
Demand and prices are strong at livestock auctions as another good year could be in store for exports, say National Auctioneers Association members.
In fact, commodities such as cattle, pork, soybeans, corn and cotton all have performed well in about the past six months, says Doak Lambert of Lambert Auction Co., Coppell, Texas. Lower supplies have increased demand.
The cattle industry has experienced a gradual decline in herd numbers for three to four years, says Lambert, who sells mostly breeding cattle.
“We’re at the lowest cow herd numbers since the late 1950s,” he says. “And our population has grown, so, obviously there are more people wanting to consume the product.”
In early March 2010, auctions for breeding cattle brought $3,000 to $3,500, Lambert says, and at about the same time this year, those auctions were in the high $3,000s to low $4,000s.
Lambert says he has a positive outlook for 2011. The business is good for Auctioneers who work on commission.
“On the commercial side of things, 2010 was the best export year we’ve ever seen for beef,” he says. “We finally exported more than we imported. I don’t know if that trend will continue in 2011, but that has a huge impact, as well, on demand.”
Lane Varner of Varner Livestock, Delta, Colo., works as an Auctioneer for his father’s livestock business. He says his family’s sales yard is seeing strong demand for horses, cattle, pigs and sheep.
“This is about the best that the livestock market has been in a long, long time,” he says. “Even if you look at sheep and goats right now, they’re at an all-time high.
“There are so few of them and the demand’s so high for them that it’s out of control — people are willing to pay that much to get them.”