Looking back at Drovers’ female market data, replacement-female prices closely followed the lead of the feeder market. For example, pair prices peaked in 2005 and have been moving a little lower each year since. In 2005, the yearly average price for cow-calf pairs with small calves was $1,034.45 per pair. In 2006, the average price for those same females was $948.44.  So far this year, prices have been averaging slightly lower than 2006.

Bred, young and middle-aged female prices also have followed a similar pattern. The average price per head in 2005 was $839.27. In 2006, the average price was $797.55. And like the pair market, bred-female prices have been trending slightly lower than year-ago levels.

These trends indicate that if you’re considering rebuilding or expanding your cowherd, prices for replacements may be more in line, where you can purchase a cow, add her to the herd to produce a calf and have her be profitable. Just keep in mind the type of genetics that you want and find an animal that will work in your environment. A good deal may not be so good if you end up pouring feed into her.

Prices should continue to trend lower compared to last year. Keep in mind that pair prices typically peak in the spring, while bred-female prices usually peak in late summer or early fall. Overall, expect continued softening of prices for all classes of replacement females compared to previous years.

June prices

In the Drovers’ auction market summary, prices for cows with large calves dropped $213 per head, ending June at $1,001. Cows with small calves also decreased $29.38 per head, averaging $955 for the month. Prices for small or aged cows with calves remained steady, ending June at $773.33.

Young and middle-aged, bred-female prices declined $17.08 per head, ending June at $732.50 per head. Aged, bred-cow prices increased $29.16 per head, averaging $632.50 per head during June. While the prices appeared to increase significantly for bred heifers, which averaged $958.75 for June, that may not be a true indication of the market given the light volume reported.

Young and middle-aged, open-female prices decreased $8.61 per hundredweight, averaging $54.71 per hundredweight for the month. Heiferette prices increased $1.69 per hundredweight, averaging $67.85 per hundredweight. Prices for open, aged cows declined by 50 cents per hundredweight to average $48.75 per hundredweight for June.

Prices for utility and commercial cows dropped 97 cents per hundredweight, averaging $49.78 per hundredweight for June. Prices for canner and cutter cows also declined $1.81, averaging $42.42 per hundredweight.