"We're seeing such tremendous prices for calves right now that no one can afford to put them to grass," explains Ted Nibourg, B.Sc.Ag, MDE, farm business management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. "It just boils down to the old law of supply and demand."

He says quite often there is a negative correlation between the price of cattle and the pasture rates.

The recent Statistics Canada January 1, 2012 Inventory Report says there has been an increase of 0.9 per cent in the number of cattle on farms in Alberta.

Along with an increase of 2.3 per cent in beef heifer replacement there is a decline of 1.5 per cent in the number of beef cow.

This means there are around 20,000 less breeding females in the Alberta from last year, and Nibourg says this is a huge contributing factor.

He says beef cows, heifers and bulls mainly use pasture so with lower cattle numbers and a static supply of available pasture, we typically see a flat pasture rent.

"We're seeing anywhere from 17 to 18 cents per 100 weight price slide, so typically if you bought a 650 pound calf and tried to put on 2 pounds per days for 100 days, you're going to wind up with an 850 weight calf and by the end of the grazing period. Then your going to have a price drop of 35 cents a pound which also adds into the net profit your looking at. By the time you pay for the pasture rent, interest on the calves, transportation costs and all that other stuff you're going to wind up in some negative territory," he says. "So people tend to get a little shy of buying grassers at this time of year."

Nibourg says because of the weather we've been seeing, the pasture land should stay at stable prices in the near future.

"We've had some pretty decent rains in the last couple years and the grass production has been decent, and that's increase of supply. So when demand is being reduced like that, we're going to see a softening of the prices."

He says the only time we do see a big upswing on pasture price is in years of drought.