Stakeholders throughout the cattle industry are prudently pondering implications of deteriorating pasture conditions, weather impacts on grain markets, etc. as they attempt to assess the current cattle market complex. As producers increasingly consider decisions such as selling calves early, culling additional breeding stock, etc. a host of short- and longer-term considerations must be made. To further facilitate sound deliberations here I highlight the fact that weather is far from the only driver of variation in returns experienced by cattle producers and that more persistent patterns in profitability drivers are important to recognize.

First, recognition that even in “good years” many cow-calf producers lose money while in “bad years” there are cow-calf producers who likely make money is critical.