Cattle prices appear to be coming off of a record high in 2014, but that still doesn't put a damper on a profitable year for many Montezuma County ranchers.
"It's been a great year for ranchers," said Cortez Livestock Auction auctioneer Rowdy Suckla at the final sale barn of the year on Dec. 17. "Cattle has been in a crash the last two weeks, along with oil prices, but every market has to have a correction."
According to recent analyst reports, cattle on a national scale traded roughly $4 lower on a live basis last week compared with the week before.
"It appears the industry may find it difficult to push feeder cattle prices back to record levels in the near term, but it also seems unlikely that feeder cattle futures will continue declining at such a rapid pace," wrote University of Tennessee agriculture analyst Andrew Griffith in a Dec. 18 market report.
Suckla says that locally, steer prices have averaged about $240 and heifers about $230, compared with peak prices of $260 earlier this year.
"The market may not get as high (as it has been in 2014), but I think it will steady off by the first of the year," Suckla noted.
"I think they (ranchers) should use their money wisely, just in case the market does fall again," he said.