Following their normal Fall decline, calf prices across the country, including the South have bounced higher. In the last two weeks 5-600 pound calf prices in Georgia have increased from about $139 to $146 per cwt. That calf price increase is roughly in line with the average price increase over the 2015-2019 period. Lighter, 4-500 pound calves in Georgia, have seen little price increase, in contrast to sharply higher prices for lighter calves in Texas. Heavier, 7-800 pound feeder steers have increased about $10 per cwt to $130 over the last two weeks.
A couple of factors are working to increase calf prices. The first is supply related in that the Fall run of calves is over, effectively reducing supplies on the market. The second is rising fed cattle prices. Fed cattle prices crossed $130 per cwt last week after a number of weeks around $124. Higher feed costs are working against these price increasing factors. Corn prices in the Southern Plains have increased from about $5.85 per bushel to $6.11 in the last couple of weeks.
Calf prices do tend to decline by year end, on average, before rallying into the next Spring. The smaller cow herd suggests some tighter supplies of calves next year. Rising fed cattle prices would also pull calf prices higher.
Anderson, David. “Calf Prices on the Rise.” Southern Ag Today 1(46.2). November 9, 2021. Permalink