Calf Prices Start the New Year Higher

Maybe we’re starting the new year on a high note with calf prices higher.  Lighter weight steer calves in the Southern Plains topped $200 per cwt at the end of 2021.  5-600 pound steers were over $180 and heavier feeders were over $160.  All of those prices were at least 10 percent higher than at the end of 2020.  Markets across the country were above a year ago along with those in the Southern Plains.

Expectations are for higher calf prices in 2022 than in 2021.  The continuing contraction in beef cow numbers means fewer calves for sale later in the year.  Tighter supplies combined with good demand means higher prices.

High feed costs will create some management choices this year.  Fine tuning fertilizer needs this year may pay off.  Targeting hay quality to cow needs could cut costs.  The area of the country in drought has been expanding across the South.  Some planning ahead for drought management strategies might include culling earlier, reviewing stocking rates, reserving some pasture for later needs, or even buying some feed ahead.  

On balance, the new year brings a bunch of reasons for optimism, in spite of higher costs.  The higher prices to start the year promises more to come later.  Best wishes to you in the new year!  

Anderson, David. “Calf Prices Start the New Year Higher“. Southern Ag Today 2(2.2). January 4, 2022. Permalink