Volume 3, Number 37 - December 11, 2003
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Price difference between bred cows & slaughter cattle
The recent brucellosis case, and the possibility of de-population of cattle herds infected with the disease, brings up questions of the difference in what a rancher would get if he had to sell his breeding herd for slaughter prices.
In the fall after pregnancy testing to cull cows that will not have calves, ranchers sell those cows that are not pregnant or are bred too late. Some are purchased to go on feed to fatten for slaughter (feeder cattle), while others, especially younger pregnant cows that are sold because they don't fit a rancher's calving program, are bought to go to a herd (bred cows). Some go directly to slaughter from the auction yard (slaughter cattle). The difference in the price of slaughter cattle and bred cows is considerable.
The Riverton Livestock Auction report for Nov 24 and 25 shows that difference:
At best, a high-dressing slaughter cow weighing 1,320 (the weight of the top end of the young bred cows) would bring between $633 and $726 as opposed to a young bred cow bringing from about $835. A lean-dressing slaughter cow would only bring from $383 to $493, depending on its weight and how much it brings per hundredweight. Young feeder cattle would bring between $566 and $823, while middle-aged and aged feeders are worth from $525 and $798. Generally, the top end of these prices is not what ranchers receive.
According to information provided by Sublette County Extension Agent Eric Peterson, in 2002 Sublette County had 29,000 head of cattle, a number considerably lower than in the previous seven years and down by15,000 from the high of 44,000 in 1997, mostly due to drought conditions.
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