Nebraska cattle producer says rising feed, average market hurt profitability

A Nebraska cattle producer says he’s fighting narrow margins with rising feed costs and a struggling market.   

Dale Svehla of Clarkson tells Brownfield they don’t have many options to make a profit. “The terms we’re dealt right now isn’t good,” Svehla says. “I mean the grocery store has got the meat up pretty high, our boxed beef up. The packer just doesn’t want to share any of that with the cattle feeder right now. We’re against the high cost of feed yet and that makes everything so much worse.”

He says an alternative to keep their feed bill manageable is by locking in corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade. “I know from our standpoint, when we buy our cattle, we usually lock in the corn right way or the livestock or the cattle themselves. If that doesn’t get done or if you want to wait a little bit, it just got out of control and there was no chance to get them locked in,” Svehla says.

In some cases, Svehla says cattle producers might not be that lucky. “The bigger cattle as of now if you’re buying them and if you’re trying to lock in the feed need and trying to sell the cattle there’s no profit to do it,” Svehla says.

He says he expects the cattle market to rebound in the coming months.

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