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Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer.

Grass fever greens cow and heifer prices

Turn-out ready stockers and replacement cows lead the price charge.

With warmer weather and no rain this week, spring field work finally made it up to full song. For my area this is a few weeks behind normal.

With grass season drawing near, cattle of all classes that are turn-out ready were in high demand. Normally I don’t consider certain groups of cattle to be selling at a premium, but this week I’m calling weaned, turn-out ready cattle to be doing just that. I saw many groups all week long that had a hard wean and were worked sell for $10 to $15 more per hundredweight than a bawling calf. Feeder bulls carried a big discount. For a buyer looking to add some value, this market is providing the opportunity to do so.

The last couple weeks I haven’t seen much interest in pairs or bred cows. That changed this week. Cows 5 years old and younger cows with a 200-pound calf at side fetched a handsome price this week. And even though the bred cows in the offering would be considered late calvers and normally sell at a discount, they brought a good price this week as well.

Brace yourself, because I am about to break the mold on this one: Four-weights started getting some love this week. While they are still undervalued, their value of gain has shrunk.

Another interesting thing I noticed this week was that heifers of all weights and classes were higher in the Central Plains. Seven-weights posted the highest rise in price. In other parts of the country they were steady to lower. Steer prices seemed to be mixed.

Demand for hay remains strong and is reflected in the prices being paid.

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