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Rebuilding Your Herd, At What Cost?

Rebuilding Your Herd, At What Cost?

My husband Tyler and I were at a fellow Limousin breeder’s place a few weeks ago, helping them clip and prep their cattle for the upcoming state fair. As typical when cattlemen get together, the topics of genetics, sires and this year’s breeding decisions dominated the conversation.

Sadly, parts of cattle country in the U.S. are still suffering from drought [3], and liquidation of beef herds is continuing in 2013. However, many folks are more fortunate regarding the weather and feed situation this year, and are keen to grow their beef herds, myself included. However, a complicating factor is that this is a time when high-quality replacement and bred heifers are tough commodities to come by, and afford.

Our friend, the Limousin producer, asked us if we had any bred females [4] for sale. Of course, we wanted to say yes. After all, the goal of any purebred breeder should be to have bulls and females available at all times. However, we were hesitant to make any sales, despite the high price we could have gotten for females. If last winter’s cattle sales are any indication, bred heifers will be worth a pretty penny again this year.

With record-high prices for females [5] at many production sales across the country, there weren’t many bred heifers that I wanted to take home for the price they were going for.

However, as the nation’s cattle producers [6] start to rebuild, this could be our reality. I believe bred heifers will be much like gold for cow-calf producers in the next couple of years.

The current situation prompts a couple of questions. Does the incentive exist this year to begin rebuilding our national cowherd [7]? I think it does, but at what price?

Are you buying any females this year? Are you retaining all of your replacement heifers? What are you paying for females? Share your reports in the comments section below.

 

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