Softer December prices for fed and feeder cattle didn’t prevent an upward trend in the female markets. Demand for breeding-age females rose another $50 to $100 per head last month at auctions across the country.
According to Drovers/CattleNetwork’s monthly analysis of female prices, bred heifers sold at auction last month for an average of $1,157 per head, down just $4 per head. Young and middle-aged bred cows, however, increased $77 per head to $1,022. Prices for aged cows jumped $139 per head higher to average $777.
Prices for cow-calf pairs ranged from $59 to $77 per pair higher during December, except for the small and aged cows with calves, which were steady. Slaughter cows sold at auction saw bids $1.70 to $2.29 per hundredweight higher. Utility and commercial cows saw an average price of $64.46 per hundredweight during December. Canner and cutter cows averaged $56.27 per hundredweight. Looking toward mid- and late-winter, cull cow buyers are likely to be aggressive, pushing prices up significantly.
Demand for bred cows and breeding-age females should remain strong but may find regions of weak demand due to residual effects of drought and the lack of forage.