Farmer Focus: Inflation has made $50 the new $20

Christmas came early for the cattle market in the US. 

We caught the packer (processor) needing to buy cattle to end the year and were able to get $1.42/lb liveweight (231p/kg) for market-ready cattle. 

The processors had been making such a big margin, they were able to jump the market to secure the cattle needed and were still all OK.

Just a few weeks prior the market was at $1.15/lb (187p/kg) so the extra money is more than welcome to fight off all the other exploding input costs. 

See also: Opinion: Inflation will be a big topic for farmers in 2022

About the author

Daniel Mushrush
Livestock Farmer Focus writer
Daniel Mushrush is a third-generation Red Angus breeder in the Flint Hills in Kansas, US. The Mushrush family runs 800 pedigree registered Red Angus Cattle and 600 commercials across 4,856ha, selling 200 bulls a year and beef through Mushrush Family Meats.
Read more articles by Daniel Mushrush

Markets in general here are high and going higher. This is true for wheat, corn, cattle, rent, land sales, tyres, etc. 

I had to work on the front end of my semi-truck in December, and labour and machined parts came to $7,000 (£5,187). I would have guessed $700 (£518). 

We printed enough US dollars during Covid-19 to make the economist John Maynard Keynes blush, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

I am young enough to have never experienced inflation. Now, even personally, I have noticed my spending habits changing as $50 is the new $20. 

My trip to Mexico was really rewarding. Above all, it was invigorating to be in a country that accepts risk.

We experienced a Mexican rodeo where the vaqueros (horse-mounted livestock herders) were tripping mares – not something we can even do in the US. 

To even the contest, the vaquero got extra style points based on his position when he tied his rope to get the horse down.

The most points came from lying backwards with his hands thrown out to the sides at just the right moment to bring the horse down (as he himself went flying). 

I don’t need that much risk in my life, but it was invigorating to see it. I would recommend Mexico to anyone, but don’t stop at the beach. Get inland and see the “real” country. 

I have challenged friends and family that 2020 and 2021 were whatever they made them out to be.

If they were bad years, then it’s maybe time to tie off hard and fast and lean into that stampeding horse – nothing ventured, nothing gained.