The last few years have been one of transition for the cattle industry, Anderson said, as beef cattle numbers are at the lowest since the 1950s. However, pounds of beef produced per cow are much higher compared to that period as a result of feeding, improved breeding, and overall technology and science.

"We're not using the same type of cattle we were using in the 1950s," Anderson said.

With higher corn prices, one of the important things to do in the current calf market, is to put purchased calves on grass to cut down on the amount of costs to add pounds, Anderson said.

"Putting them on grass becomes cheaper when you look at the cost of corn," he said. "The price spread, or slide, becomes compressed as corn prices move higher. The hardest hit are often the lightweight heifers since it takes more feed to put gain on them."

Overall, fewer replacement heifers area being held back, Anderson said.

"We're also slaughtering more cows as a percent of the herd than in a decade," he said. "We're going to have fewer cows in 2011-2012, but also higher prices."