Cattle producers are caught in a squeeze right now with fewer calves that they have to pay more for, along with very high corn prices. USDA Livestock analyst, Shayle Shagham says many producers have gone through a series of losses, as have meat packers. Shagham says the only ones in the cycle in a position to make any money are cow calf operators.

"The cow calf operators are generally looking at very good prices for both their feeder animals and for cows."

This as the number of animals continues to fall. Shagham says many operators hope to hold on to their female stock if at all possible, even with reduced forage along with high hay and corn prices due to the drought.

"Producers recognize that cows are going to be very valuable. That breeding stock is going to be very valuable, moving forward, and if you have the ability to hold on to female stock they're gonna try to do that."

Shagham says the availability of forage and water over the winter will be critical for producers and will play into the decision whether to hold on to animals for breeding or to market them.