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Set the Tone

Written by Dennis Sun

While writing this column, I always try to be optimistic. First of all, you the readers deserve it. Second, those of us in agriculture have enough challenges as it is, but we always manage to work our way through them. We’re often reluctant to talk about good weather or good livestock prices for fear they’ll change. What the heck, though, they’re most likely to change anyway so let’s talk about them here.
First the weather, most of us in Wyoming have had a fair winter but Don Day says that the weather is going to change and we were going to have more snow for awhile. That may be good news for those with hay to sell.
We keep hearing dire news about grasshoppers invading us next summer and the need to plan for the worst because of the large egg counts some have been finding in the ground this winter. Last summer the grasshoppers really nailed us, mainly because we had a cold spring with no warm-ups, causing them to hatch in the summer. They tell me we need a warm-up for the eggs to hatch and then a cold, wet spell to get rid of them. We’ll have to order that from the weather guy.
Everyone is talking about the high prices for old ewes these days, which some say are caused by a shortage. Usually Mexico takes most of them, but we are hearing that the price is too high even for them. We hope that demand for lamb, mutton and wool will be high in the coming months.
As you can read in this week’s Roundup, bull sales have been higher than last year and we hope that is a good sign for the coming summer and fall sales. The earlier Herford bull sales were great and sales of other breeds have also been higher. We’ve heard of plenty of reasons why, but no one reason sticks out. Bred cow prices have jumped lately. Some say it’s because those who have surplus hay are buying cows to feed it to. Maybe they’ll sell them as pairs later this year. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
A lot of us are scratching our heads about why cattle prices aren’t higher. In the past, low cattle numbers, low corn prices and room in the feedlots with demand from the consumers was a sure bet for rising prices. With today’s topsy-turvy economics and worldwide markets, it is hard to make sense in any markets.
Wind energy has had lots of movement, with numerous contracts signed by landowners lately. The uranium outlook is gaining momentum and that could be the next boom in the state, as the current administration has approved loan guarantees to build two new nuclear generating plants in the southeast United States. Oil and gas is hurting in Wyoming as the BLM has kind of shut down the release of drilling permits in some areas.
So for this week the good outweighs the bad. Not bad.   
Dennis