Today was the day to haul some calves to the stockyards. The weekly stocker and feeder sales are on Mondays, but I (and a whole lot of other people) like to haul them to the stockyards on Sunday so they can settle down a little, hopefully fill up overnight on some water and feed, etc. I've heard different opinions about whether that way of thinking is right (some say to haul them on the morning of the sale because they aren't going to eat anything while they're waiting overnight anyway) but my gut tells me that it's better to haul them on the day before the sale, plus the traffic on a Monday morning in Oklahoma City would be a nightmare to deal with while pulling a stock trailer.
I wanted to haul two loads today, so I got up a little earlier and made sure to eat a big breakfast because even if everything went smoothly, I'd be looking at eating a late lunch. If everything went sideways, it would be even later in the day before I could get something to eat, and a growling stomach doesn't help my mood at all when everything seems to be going wrong.
For a change, everything went just the way it should go, the calves all walked right into the pens without any trouble, I was able to sort the heifers from the steers about as fast as I've ever been able to do it, and the steers all loaded onto the trailer without a fight. An hour later, I was unloading them at the Oklahoma National Stock Yards (the World's Largest Stocker and Feeder Cattle Market according the big sign when you drive in). Two hours later, I was back at the stockyards unloading the heifers.
I might just be me, but I always feel a sense of relief after I've unloaded cattle at the stockyards. I'm always a little apprehensive when I'm weaning them, then I'm even more apprehensive when I'm hauling a trailer-full of calves down the highway worrying about every little thing that could go wrong from a flat tire to a back gate coming open on the trailer to a calf going down in the trailer to a car accident. (I've never really had any problems, so I'm not sure why I'm that way). But as soon as the last calf walks off the trailer, I stop worrying about everything.
I just need to go home, maybe take an afternoon nap, and wait until tomorrow to see how the market was. With the record cattle prices we've been seeing lately, I'm betting I'll see the highest prices I've ever gotten for any of my cattle and I also wouldn't be surprised if those record prices start to disappear next year. For all I know, ten or twenty years from now, I might be talking about the unbelievable prices I got back in 2014. It would be great if I'm wrong and the cattle market stays up for a while longer.
|Steers waiting to be loaded|
|Heifers waiting to be loaded|
|Same steers as above|