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Rising Cull cow prices in 2024: Trends and implications

Rising Cull cow prices in 2024: Trends and implications


By Andi Anderson

In 2024, cull cow prices are experiencing a notable upswing, with weekly prices for 85-90% lean cows in the Southern Plains reaching $1.22 per pound, marking a staggering 73 percent increase from the previous year. On average, cull cow prices for the year are at $1.03 per pound, up by 53 percent compared to last year.

Impact of Ground Beef Market: Cull cow prices are intricately linked to the ground beef market. As cull beef and dairy cows contribute to 90 percent lean trimmings, which blend with trimmings from fed cattle for ground beef, strong ground beef prices buoy cull cow markets. The recent data reveals wholesale boneless beef prices for 90 percent lean averaging $3.47 per pound, marking a 25 percent increase year over year.

Supply Dynamics: Cull cow prices also reflect short-run and long-run supply dynamics. During the liquidation phase of a cattle cycle, higher volumes of beef cow slaughter lead to lower cull cow prices. Conversely, as the cattle cycle transitions into an expansion phase, cull cow prices tend to increase as the supply of beef cows becomes tighter.

Strategies for Producers: Research indicates that cull cows contribute significantly to cow-calf producers' revenue, representing 15-30 percent of gross revenue. To optimize cull cow value, producers can implement various marketing and management strategies. Improving body condition score and cow health can enhance total pounds and cull cow quality, thus impacting their overall value. Additionally, considering price seasonality, with lower prices typically observed in the fall, can inform producers' marketing plans.

As cull cow prices continue to rise in 2024, understanding market dynamics and implementing effective strategies can help producers maximize their returns from cull cow sales.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-r-j-seymour

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