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Ag News - Cattle prices not buying what they used to
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The other day we had a discussion here in the Extension office that centered around the changing face of agriculture and how different it is now versus several years ago. 

Enterprises such as tobacco, feeder pigs, and dairy have disappeared. The reasons why and how vary, and their merits can be debated at a future time. However, I would like to share the following article from the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association’s recent Monday morning memo. I would just like to mention the article didn’t share who the author was, and some of the numbers might be questionable. It is also worth remembering the figures cited do not reflect the cost of production. With that being said, please enjoy the following: 

In 1965, the average settle-price of 850-lb steer was 25.5 cents, so its sale barn value was about $216. A gallon of gas was 31 cents. A new home cost $20,000 and a new F-150 cost $2,200. If a farmer sold 11  850-lb steers he could buy a new F-150 with money left over. If he sold 95 steers, he could buy a new house. And one steer could buy about 690 gallons of gas. 

In 1975, an 850-lb steer averaged 43.5 cents or $369. Gas was 57 cents, a new home was $32,000 and an F-150 was $4,500. A farmer had to sell slightly over 12 steers to buy his basic model F-150 truck but only 87 to buy an average-priced new home. A steer was worth 650 gallons of gas.

In 1985, an 850-lb steer averaged 65.8 cents or $560. Gas was $1.12 (one steer bought 500 gallons). A basic model F-150 was $7,965 (worth 14 steers) and a new house was $68,500 (worth 122 steers). 

In 1995, an 850-lb steer was worth 66.5 cents or $565. Gas was $1.15 (one steer bought 491 gallons). A basic model F-150 cost $14,500 (worth over 25 steers). A new home cost $106,000 (worth 187 steers). 

 In 2005, an 850-lb steer was worth 86.7 cents or $737. Gas was $2.30 (one steer bought 320 gallons). A basic model F-150 cost $28,000 (worth 38 steers). A new house was $191,000 (worth 259 steers). 

In 2015, an 850-lb steer was worth $1.45 or $1,232. Gas was $2.43 (one steer bought 506 gallons). A basic model F-150 cost $28,400 (worth 23 steers) and a new house was $201,000 (worth 163 steers.) This was during that two-year period of historical price increases for cattle. 

In 2021, an 850-lb steer has averaged $1.22 or $1,037. Gas is about $3 gallon (one steer can buy 345 gallons). A new basic model F-150 costs $29,000 (worth about 28 steers). A new house costs $408,000 (worth 393 steers). Housing prices are a separate topic, but I pray for young folks going out trying to buy a new home today. 

Today, March 2022, $4.20/gallon gas- one 850-lb steer (valued at $1,266) equals 301 gallons of gas.


Contact Heath Nokes, UT-TSU Extension Warren County, (931) 473-8484, hnokes@utk.edu.