Sell/buy is for more than trading cattle

The principles of this approach can be put to use throughout your farm and in your personal life.

Doug Ferguson

August 19, 2022

5 Min Read
artwork of cowboy riding market
Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer and BEEF magazine.vectorbomb-ThinkstockPhotos

This week I am featured on the Working Cows Podcast. Clay Conry, the host of the podcast, and I discuss a wide variety of topics pertaining to sell/buy marketing and the upcoming school in Deadwood South Dakota. A special feature of this school will be a pasture tour with Clay. While you are driving down the road or hauling hay give it a listen. If you have never listened to Clay’s show before go back through the past episodes, there are some real gems there.

I also want to remind everyone I will be speaking all three days at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island Nebraska, September 13-15 in the livestock demonstration area. Come find me afterwards, I’d love to talk cattle and marketing with you all.

This week I received an unusually large number of phone calls. Some people who called are past participants in my marketing school informing me of a successful trade they executed. Some called just to say thank you for being on podcasts in the past and for writing this column. The third bunch wants to know if sell/buy marketing is for them.

The people wondering if sell/buy is for them usually are concerned with their operation being small. There is no fine line to cross where we do sell/buy on one side, and we do something else on the other. I have had people from some of the largest operations in the United States come to my schools this year. I have also had people who haven’t bought their first animal.

The size of the operation does not matter. I spoke to a guy last week that sold a dozen steers off grass and bought back a dozen more. He successfully captured the full value of his grass and made almost $100 per head as well. Some of these large feed yards selling fats and buying back feeder steers are laying in losses of almost $300 per head. It isn’t the size of the operation that matters. It is going about things in a certain way and being intentional about what we are doing that matters.

If we are going to be in any kind of transaction, whether it involves money are some form of bartering we are doing sell/buy trading. All of us do it every day. Where the problem lies is we are not thinking sell/buy, we are thinking something else.

Be aware of sell/buy transactions

The first step to correcting this is raising our level of awareness. This means realizing every transaction we do is a sell/buy and accepting that we are responsible for our results. This is a very basic law of the universe, cause, and effect. If our goal is to do well and prosper ourselves then we must realize money is the effect and we are the cause. If we want more prosperity in our lives we have to work on the cause, or ourselves.

Working on ourselves is the second step, which is learning the philosophy and fundamentals of sell/buy marketing. Once we have done this we can then tell if a certain transaction will be a good one before we do it. Having these skills allows us to trade with confidence.

Another misconception some people have is that sell/buy marketing only pertains to cattle. When we get clear on this, we realize everything we do is a sell/buy. I did several this week that didn’t involve cattle. I did a hay deal, where I sold over valued small square bales and brought more money into my inventory. I sold money to buy some tools into my inventory. I did this because the use value of the tools has more value to me than the money did. I even did some sell/buys with older farm implements. And if you go back a short distance on this blog I mentioned trading money for groceries, diesel and propane.

Everything we do is sell/buy, we just need to learn to be intentional about doing it.

I mentioned the volume of phone calls I’ve been getting. The topic brought up the most is the female market. Almost everyone is extremely bullish on it, and that makes sense given the amount of cows culled. Some people, even some supposed hard core sell/buy traders, have already started buying cows purely as a speculative buy.

I have nothing against buying cows, it can be a wonderful deal if done properly. It’s the last part of that sentence that is critically important. Pay attention to which ones offer the greatest value capture due to appreciation. Pay attention to which ones will take the biggest depreciation hit. Then there is realizing the difference between intrinsic value and actual value and the relationships of both between cows. If done right cows can make a bunch of money, and if not done right they’ll lose you a ton of money.

Cattle market review

In conclusion the market dynamics haven’t changed much. The only buy back against fats is the big feeder heifers. The cattle with the highest Value of Gain (VOG) are the fly weights. For the most part VOG covers Cost of Gain, signaling this is currently a weight gain business, up to a point. Geographical spreads are a factor. Feeder bulls were 20 back and unweaned cattle were up to 15 back. The bigger the bawler the bigger the discount

Heading to Husker Harvest Days? You can catch Doug Ferguson live each day at 12:15 has he offers ways to put more money in your wallet with sell/buy marketing. And it’s your chance to talk with him each day. Husker Harvest Days runs Sept. 13 – 15 near Grand Island, Neb. Make plans to attend.

The opinions of Doug Ferguson are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
BEEF Magazine is the source for beef production, management and market news.

You May Also Like