Marketing Your Cull Cows to Achieve the Best Profit with OSU’s Derrell Peel

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Derrell Peel about culling cows and heifer retention.

At the 2024 LMA Convention and World Livestock Auctioneer Championship in OKC, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, caught up with Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, and talked about marketing cull cows to achieve the highest profit, heifer retention, and more.

Peel emphasized the value of feeding cull cows a little longer to improve their grade, and increase profit on those individual cows. For the average cow-calf operation, Peel said 15 to 20 percent of their total revenue comes from cull animals.

“From a producer standpoint, it is kind of a tradeoff,” Peel said. “Do you have the time, and the resources and the facilities to keep those cows? You are going to have to feed them a little bit.”

Looking at the Cattle Inventory numbers that USDA released on January 31st,  Peel said the numbers in the report made it clear that the beef cow herd would be smaller in 2024.

“Absolutely sure that we are going to get somewhat smaller going into next year,” Peel said. “Even if we start trying to save some heifers and thinking about herd rebuilding, we will probably start with heifer calves that don’t add anything next year. It is going to take two years to get those heifers in production, so there is not a lot of odds of growing the herd in 2025.”

Peel said culling rates for cows peaked in 2022, and came down slightly in 2023. Right now, Peel noted that the number of heifers in feedlots is still above average.

“We would expect to see those culling rates drop significantly more when we are actually trying to rebuild the herd,” Peel said.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR at the top of the story for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

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