What are purchased replacement females worth?
By Troy Smith
Green grass isn’t the only thing sprouting since significant precipitation came to previously parched regions of cow country. If demand for replacement females is any indicator, optimism is growing too. Early spring saw bred heifer prices increase by as much as $200 per head.
In areas where herd-rebuilding was delayed by prolonged drought, more cow-calf producers are encouraged enough to pursue expansion or, at least, herd rebuilding. But a desire to increase herd numbers is not the only factor that affects the cost of replacement females. Even though calf prices remain respectable, they are trending lower. Time-worn rules of economics suggest that when calf prices are low and feed costs are high, purchasing bred replacements may be a better option than heifer retention.