Hay Supplies are Short and Likely to Get Worse, Says Cattle Marketer Bob Rodenberger







Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, had the chance to visit with Bob Rodenberger, a partner with Stockman Oklahoma Livestock Marketing. Rodenberger and Greg Griffith have a commission firm at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and operate the Apache Auction market.



Rodenberger says that right now, the problem across their trade territory is dry conditions which are shutting down options for forage, and especially for hay.



“Some of your producers have got grass and water, but no hay,” Rodenberger said. “Our smaller operators depend on hay all the time and they will be probably overstocked when we’ve got good rainfall, but they always get through with buying extra hay and there is no hay available for them.”



Rodenberger said they haven’t seen too many young cows come to town yet and are mostly seeing older cows that should have been culled a few years ago come in to be sold.



“I have had very few just complete dispersals because of the drought, Rodenberger said. “Most of them are holding onto half their cow crop.”





In Texas especially, Rodenberger said producers are out of water, grass, and hay.



“I am seeing some of those completely disperse out,” Rodenberger said. “If you got on the phone, I don’t know where you could find hay right now in the state of Oklahoma.”



Even in the midst of drought, beef demand remains good, and cattle prices have been increasing because of that demand. Much of that can be credited to superior genetics compared to years past.



“We are in a premium-based market,” Rodenberger said. “You have got the CAB (Certified Angus Beef) putting a $100 to $150 premium on a carcass, and there are proven cows in genetics right now where I think the industry is around 5 percent on prime total, and you have got cow herds coming in that are 40 to 50 percent prime- there is a huge premium in those.”



Certified Angus Beef has helped drive much of the change in the beef industry.



“In the last five years, I have seen more change in the business then I have seen in the last 40 years I’ve been in it,” Rodenberger said.



Rodenberger said the premium on black Angus-based steers is tremendous compared to other cattle regardless of other factors.





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