The Decision to Expand or Sell

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The beef industry has certainly experienced a bit of an economic “roller coaster” over the past few years.  The historically high prices for all classes of beef cattle during 2014 and the first half of 2015 encouraged an expansion phase to begin.  As beef cattle prices have moderated over the past year, expansion has continued but at a slower pace.  The outlook for beef cattle prices for the next several years still remains positive. The current beef economy has created an interesting dynamic where you can hear producers debating the merits of expanding their herds and also merchandising females.

Depending on your situation, the current beef economic climate provides a unique opportunity for both buyers and sellers of breeding cattle.  Both groups can take advantage of this situation by participating in the upcoming Ohio Cattlemen’s Association fourth annual Replacement Female Sale on Friday evening, November 25.  The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will start at 6:00 p.m.

The 2016 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state.  Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers.  Females must be under the age of five as of January 1, 2017 and may be of registered or commercial background.  Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s.  Pregnancy status must be verified by an accredited veterinarian through traditional palpation, ultrasound or by blood testing through a professional laboratory.  Analysis must be performed within 60 days of sale.  Consignments will also be fulfilling specific health and identification requirements.

I have heard much speculation about the price prospects for bred replacement females for the fall sale season.  While I certainly do not possess a crystal ball to give me an insight on future prices, I do believe that we will see solid demand for quality bred heifers and young bred cows.  I do believe that the increase in numbers of the nation’s cow herd will allow buyers to be more discriminating and discount lesser quality females.  The best data I can provide you for planning purposes is from the first three Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s Replacement Female Sales.  The average selling price for females in the sales is as follows: 2013 – $1,812, 2014 – $2,598, and 2015 – $2,374.

Consignments for the sale are due to the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association by October 1, 2016.  Sale information can be obtained by contacting the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association at (614) 873-6736 or at their web site located at .  If you have any questions about the sale, you can call me at my office at (740) 289-2071, Extension #242 or contact me by e-mail at  Please consider this sale as an option for both buyers and sellers to help contribute to the improvement of Ohio’s beef cow herd.