A program specialist with the Missouri Department of Agriculture says there are still a lot of heifers moving through sale barns. Tony Hancock says producers in his state haven’t started holding back females.  “I was looking at some of the individual data and out of the 15 biggest drafts, 13 of them were drafts of big heifers that all should have been kept home to be replacements,” he says.

He tells Brownfield between drought conditions, higher input costs, and the cattle market it doesn’t make sense for a lot of producers to expand their operations.  “The prices are just too lucrative right now,” he says. “Those guys aren’t willing to keep those heifers and wait a year or two to make cows out of them. They’re just keeping their cows that they have left.”

Hancock says any herd expansion will largely depend on the weather.  “If we get the rains,” he says.  “It will be interesting to see if those guys rebuild because everybody expects supplies to be even higher. That’s likely to push prices even higher. So, it’ll be interesting to see when or if we do start expanding again.”

He says he wouldn’t expect to see any herd growth until next spring at the earliest.