Female prices held firm through late spring, but as the heat and drought withered pastures, prices soon followed those of feeder cattle lower. By late July, the National Drought Monitor revealed over 63 percent of the contiguous United States is in moderate to exceptional drought.

Despite the drought, average auction prices for bred heifers held steady during July. Other classes of females didn’t fare as well. Average prices for young and middle-aged bred cows were $132 per head lower, according to July data analyzed by Drovers/CattleNetwork. Aged, bred females saw prices drop $170 per head.

Cow-calf pairs saw significant declines during July. Cows with small calves were $263 per pair lower, and cows with large calves fell $64 per pair. Small or aged cows with calves declined $9 per pair.

Average prices for open females were down $1 to $2, with aged cows $7 to $8 per hundredweight lower during July. Slaughter cows were $4 to $6 lower, with utility and commercial cows averaging $77.63 per hundredweight. Canner and cutter cows sold for an average of $71.38 per hundredweight during July. Despite the declines, slaughter cows remain $10 to $12 per hundredweight higher than last year.

Female markets trend lower