Cattle prices on the rise - KOTA Territory News

Cattle prices on the rise

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Many ranchers brought their cattle to the Buffalo Livestock Auction Wednesday looking to cash in.

Leo Woodbury came by just to watch.  He sold some cattle back in June.

"We sold 30 head of pairs.  We got $2,000 a pair.  They might be a couple hundred dollars a pair higher today than when we sold them," said Woodbury, who owns a ranch about 15 miles southeast of Buffalo.

The reason for the uptick in cattle prices is simple supply and demand.

"We're short of cattle.  Our numbers are way down.  We're back to the numbers that we were in like 1952 or 1954.  We're down several million head of cattle," said cattle broker Ray Mader.

The higher prices couldn't come at a better time for ranchers.

"You go to buy a new pickup or new horse trailer or you go to the grocery store, prices are up and everything, so their cost of operation is up.  They need better prices," said Mader.

"Cattle are so much higher than they were 10, 20 years ago, but it still takes about the same number of calves to buy a new truck," said Woodbury.

The trend of rising prices is not expected to reverse anytime soon.

"I think cattle markets are going to be real strong for a year-and-a-half or two years at least.  It takes a long time to build up the number of cows that are producing calves," said Woodbury.

Mader says that a big reason why cattle numbers have decreased over the past few years is widespread drought conditions.

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