Performance anxiety: It's that flutter in the pit of your stomach, the dry mouth and the rapid heartbeat as the time ticks closer to that big event.
I've felt it plenty of times before I've sung a solo or accompanied a middle school instrumentalist. I've experienced it as a parent when all the practicing was over and I had to sit there and watch Jill or Brent give a 4-H talk or play their piano solos during a recital.
When I've sat in stadium seating as a parent, I've held my breath as Brent hiked the football or Jill ran the third leg of a relay.
But I wasn't expecting to feel it at the Pratt Livestock sale barn last Thursday - even if there was stadium seating.
Maybe it was less performance anxiety than checkbook anxiety. You sit there and watch other people's cattle sell and do well. You don't want to be that wallflower that nobody wants.
But I didn't need to worry.
We sold 68 head of cattle. The average weight of the steers was 748 pounds.
The average price per head was $932.00 or $1.30 per pound. It's the most dollars per head that we've ever received for our cattle. A group of 26 steers brought $1,031.34 per head. Randy said he'd never had cattle bring more than $1,000 a head before.
It appears Randy chose the right week to sell feeder calves. (Of course, time will tell on that. Maybe next Thursday will be even higher.)
So why the good price? Beef cattle prices are up right now. Randy is pleased with the rate of gain for our cattle through the winter months.
Their journey from the County Line corral to Pratt Livestock started last Tuesday, when we sorted the cattle. Then on Wednesday, trucker Donald Harner brought his semi to haul the cattle to Pratt. The semi is divided into different compartments, which can hold anywhere from six head to 25 head of cattle. Each semi can haul about 50,000 pounds of cattle.
Our 49,820 pounds of beef cattle were then offloaded and put into pens at Pratt Livestock, where they were sorted by sex and size. The cattle are put into different pens where they have water and feed until sale time.
After the sale, the buyers arrange for other semis to come and pick up the cattle. They are loaded back onto the semis and taken to feedlots, where they will fattened for five or six months. Then they will be harvested for beef on American consumers' tables.
From pasture to plate ... We're proud to be part of the process bringing quality beef to the dinner table.