click image to zoom A drier-than-normal spring across large portions of the Central Plains tempered much of the optimism ranchers developed as feeder-cattle prices hit record highs during March. By mid-June, the National Drought Monitor revealed an ever-widening swath of drought. That brought cows to market during what normally is peak grazing time for most ranches.
Average auction prices for bred heifers were more than $100 per head lower during May than in April, while average prices for young and middle-aged bred cows were $38 per head lower, according to monthly data analyzed by Drovers/CattleNetwork. Aged, bred females saw prices $54 higher for the month.
Cow-calf pairs saw mixed price results during May. Cows with small calves were $12 per pair higher, and cows with large calves posted declines of $49 per pair. Small or aged cows with calves dropped $22 per pair.
Average prices for open females were $1 to $2 lower, with heiferettes down $6 per hundredweight during May. Young and middle-aged open females averaged $92.75 per hundredweight for the month, while heiferettes sold at $90.84 per hundredweight.
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