The cattle business is booming like never before. Cattle are selling for record prices and the future is looking even better. Cattlemen are getting more bang for their buck and the price of beef at stores is rising too. A feeder cattle report Newschannel 6 looked at shows that prices have steadily increased over the past few years, but these past few weeks in particular are breaking records.
Every day is a big day for Billy Easter, he owns and operates Wichita County Livestock Sales. During the summer he saw a record number of cattle coming in, now that has settled back to normal, but lately there's been a new trend -- record selling prices.
"Feeder cattle are up to the low 40's from $1.40 to $1.50 a pound," said Easter. Last year feeder cattle were selling from $1.10 to $1.20.
And it's all cattle from steer to calves that are bringing good money.
"We're seeing some calves now bringing $2 to $2.25 a pound, that's a lot for a 400 pound calf."
In the past calves were selling from a $1.25 to $1.30. Fat cattle are also selling good up from $1.05 to $1.20, and considering those fat cows come in weighing more than 1,000 pounds it adds up. There are many reasons for the uptick in prices.
"We have record exports they're up 27 percent this last year and tight supplies coming out of the feed yards, there is tight meat supplies," said Easter.
And while all this is good there is a downside, production levels are at its highest cost in years.
"Fertilizer costs have doubled, you know what fuel is doing, cost of seed is higher."
But even with the profit margin slimmer people are excited to come in and see an extra few hundred dollars on a check that they weren't expecting.
"For instance one guy said 'I thought my check would be $6,500' but it was $8,000, he was tickled."
The recent rains we've seen having certainly helped to keep cattle grazing, a trend many ranchers hope will continue.
During the summer and up until the fall nearly 100 percent of the buyers from the Wichita County Livestock Sales were from out of the area and out of state. Recent rain in Texoma have local buyers looking to begin stocking again.
Other livestock sale companies we spoke with in Bowie and in Graham report the same finding, cattle selling for record prices.