Cattle producers are wrestling with whether to hold back female breeding stock or sell at current high prices. That according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam who says many producers are choosing to sell, but there are multiple factors involved in the decision.

"If the producer needs an immediate return, obviously the kind of prices that they're getting would possibly warrant selling. On the other hand, especially in the case of heifers, if you have the wherewithal to look into the future several years, you would want to keep those heifers for addition to the breeding herd, because we're looking at progressively tighter supplies until we can bring cows on line to give birth and begin to rebuild the herd."

He says that would take several years and so for the immediate future cattle herds may be shrinking and prices are expected to continue to go up. Shagam says packers and feedlots are not doing so well however.

"Right now the packers are continuing to loose and the feed lot operators are being forced to pay high prices for feeder animals, they're paying relatively high prices for the feed so their margins have been in rather poor shape."

So cow-calf operators, according Shagam are the ones doing well with prices at about $ 134.00  a hundred weight. That compares to $ 113.00 this time last year.