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.

Female prices higher, feeders slip

Female prices higher, feeders slip

Female prices higher, feeders slip

Female prices higher, feeders slip