FRANKSTON, Texas -- A cow runs circles in a small pen, her baby close by her side. Ranchers, their brows wrinkled, scribble in a glossy catalog while high on a podium the auctioneer slams his gavel, taking bids as the price of the pair rises rapidly.
The high-profile auction at the Neches River Ranch gave cattlemen a good indication of how long it might take to rebuild after Texas' devastating drought and what it might cost them.
A quality cow that sold last year for no more than $1,800 now fetches about $3,000. The average price for a bull is up $500. And a cow with a 300-pound to 400-pound calf by her side is selling for about $2,800, sometimes more than $3,000 -- almost double the $1,700 they commanded two years ago.