Bred female prices jumped higher during January, gaining support from a firm fed cattle market and gains in feeder cattle. A light test of bred heifers found average gains of $225 per head, and $77 per head on bred, young and middle-aged cows. Aged, bred cows improved $24 per head.
January represents the first month since September with gains in all classes of bred females. While feeder and fed cattle prices have exceeded expectations, analysts continue to warn that modest expansion will continue, adding more cows and more feeder cattle to supplies over the next 18 months to two years. Feeder cattle supplies are expected to increase 600,000 head in 2018.
With modest gains in the bred female category, both the young- to middle-aged bred cows and the aged bred cows saw January 2018 average prices higher than those of 2017.
Open heiferettes saw a modest decline of $7 per cwt in January on a light test. Young and middle-aged open females sold steady in January. Those open cows finished 2017 $4 per cwt lower than December 2016. The aged, open cows sold $2 per cwt lower in January.
Prices for cow-calf pairs again saw the most pressure during January. Cows with small calves sold $56 per pair less last month than during December, and $180 per pair lower than December 2016. Cows with large calves lost $20 per pair. Aged cows with calves
declined $25 per pair.
Slaughter cow prices traded steady to $3 per cwt higher during December. Utility and commercial cows sold at $55.63 per cwt, down 29¢ per cwt. Canner and cutter cows traded at $52.13 for the month, a gain of $3.27 per cwt.