Early September rains across a wide swath of the central United States improved the prospects for fall grazing, but most female markets remained under pressure.

Bred-female prices last month reveal just how picky ranchers have become. Bred heifers saw bids $70 per head lower than August and bred, aged cows were $33 lower. But demand for prime, young and middle-aged cows remained strong with bids $70 per head higher.

Prices paid for pairs showed a similar trend. Cows with small calves and cows with large calves increased $15 to $22 per pair, but the average for aged or small cows with calves was off $150 per pair.

Average prices for young and middle-aged open females gained $4 per hundredweight during September, with aged cows showing a $2.50-per-hundredweight gain. Open heiferettes, however, lost $6 per hundredweight on average.

Slaughter cows were mixed at $2 higher to $3 lower. Utility and commercial cows averaged $74.94 per hundredweight. Canner and cutter cows sold for an average of $63.10 per hundredweight during September.

Female prices mixed on forage supplies