Calving season offers opportunity and challenge for rancher and investors

After a patch of cold and wet weather in the Colorado Rockies, spring looks like it might actually happen. And for ranchers and owners of Colorado ranches for sale, it’s calving season.

Calving season arrives in Colorado with optimism for the second year in a row. Beef prices look good after coming off a strong 2023 that saw a rebound in prices. For instance, the 5-area steer price this year is forecast to come in at $180 per hundred-weight, as opposed to last year’s $175.54. 

Even better? Feeder steer prices for 750- to 800-pound calves could fetch as much as $248.50 per hundred-weight, well over the 2023 price of $218.69.

The price uptick is due largely to a low domestic production forecast. It’s supply and demand at its finest.

Impact on owners and investors?

But what does this mean for ranchers and ranch real estate investors? Well, first, it means that calving season is going to be especially important. It’s always a labor-intensive season. But there’s more money on the line this year. 

For Colorado ranchers and ranch investors looking for ranches for sale, all eyes are going to be on production. Ensuring calves are welcomed to the world in good shape now will pay dividends later. Beef prices are expected to spike later this summer and again toward the end of the year. 

This means that ranch real estate that has beef production capabilities is more valuable to investors looking for Colorado ranches for sale in 2024.

When is calving season?

Depending on the location, calving season can start as early as January. It’s generally done by June at the latest. In Colorado, with several microclimates to consider, calving season can happen at any time during this window. 

But, generally speaking, calves start to drop by late February and they’re done by the first week of May. For investors looking for ranches for sale, understanding the yearly climate across Colorado is important. Understanding the details of a cow-calf operation is important for prospective buyers. 

For ranchers who have listed Colorado ranches for sale, calving season is just as important. Sellers need to show potential buyers what a successful calving season looks like. It’s one of many important factors investors will consider before buying a ranch for sale.

Knowing the market

With the second straight year of forecasted higher cattle prices, sellers can likely ask more for their ranches for sale. Investors, too, can take heart in the fact that a lower overall domestic production forecast means beef prices will be higher than in years past. Their investment in a ranch for sale will be worth more. 

With tighter supplies, the U.S. beef market in 2024 might have to depend on imports from countries like Brazil and Australia. That may sound daunting. But for ranch real estate investors considering Colorado ranches for sale, that means prices should stay strong all year long. 

It may seem odd that ranch real estate owners and investors looking for ranches for sale have to monitor overseas beef production. That’s just the economic reality of ranching. It’s always been that way. 

Final word

With calving season upon us, ranchers have their work cut out. For investors, identifying ranches for sale that have promising beef cattle operations is important. For sellers, demonstrating a successful operation starts with a good calving season. 

It’s also important that herds were nurtured carefully through the winter and that expecting cows are in good shape as they prepare to welcome newborns. 

For both buyers and sellers, this year’s beef market looks favorable. Taking care to ensure a productive calving season now could have a very real impact on ranch real estate prices as the year goes on. 

Finally, it’s always important to work with an experienced ranch broker. Whether you’re looking at ranches for sale in Colorado, or considering listing your ranch for sale, working with a broker who understands the market is vital. 

We have over 30 years of experience throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and New Mexico. We know these states well, including some “undiscovered” places. We are offering best hunting ranches for sale along with other premier properties
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