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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381939

Research Project: Adaptive Grazing Management and Decision Support to Enhance Ecosystem Services in the Western Great Plains

Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems Research

Title: The stocker steer quandary: The price slide

item BALDWIN, TEVYN - University Of Wyoming
item RITTEN, JOHN - University Of Wyoming
item Derner, Justin

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2021
Publication Date: 4/19/2021
Citation: Baldwin, T., Ritten, J.P., Derner, J.D. 2021. The stocker steer quandary: The price slide. University of Wyoming Extension Fact Sheets. Article B-1371.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ranch and feedlot enterprises are generally considered separate sectors in the beef industry as they are on different levels of the beef animal production chain. However, it is apparent that supply and demand for both inputs and outputs in each sector influence the prices received for animals or products at these different levels. Financial returns in ranch production are most sensitive to cattle market and corn prices because of the price slide, yet producers have little control over these market dynamics. Therefore, the complexity of cattle market prices and the price slide leads to our quandary and challenge: how can we take this uncertainty and use it advantageously when selling yearling stocker steers as feeder cattle that are grazing forage resources? Paying close attention to the grain (corn) markets and fed (live) cattle futures markets can assist producers in understanding how these two exogenous prices impact the value of gain for their enterprise. Producers can employ adaptive management strategies to influence yearling stocker weights through stocking rate and end date of grazing decisions. This adaptive management has the potential for greater net returns by marketing yearling stockers earlier in some years.