When and if the Texas drought breaks, market indicators suggest that middle-aged replacement cows may be a better choice than younger cattle, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist.

With national beef cattle inventory numbers this year declining more than1.5 percent, Dr. Rob Hogan, AgriLife Extension economist at Fort Stockton, told attendees at the recent Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course at Texas A&M University to think about “action now” rather than later when it comes to economic returns.

“People are looking for middle-aged cows, (that have had) calves before and are fairly dependable,” Hogan said. “They are worth as much as youth right now.” Current cattle prices indicate that now is the time to cull herds if producers haven’t already done so, Hogan said. Retained heifers are down 5.4 percent compared to 2010, indicating a continued decline in national cow inventory, he said.