Pennsylvania heifer prices strong, nationwide calf prices erode

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Pennsylvania saw a healthy bump in springer prices in the past month, up from $1,425-1,575 last month to $1,525-1,750 this month for top-quality springers. Jim Dunn, PhD, professor of agricultural economics at Penn State University, says the highest dairy product prices of the year, combined with a modest drop in feed commodity prices, have contributed to a relatively healthy state of the industry there at present.  Penn State’s measure of income-over-feed-cost rose by 33 percent in October and 14 percent in November. Attractive cull-cow prices in Pennsylvania also may be enticing some producers to sell of older cows and replace them with heifers. Springer prices throughout the rest of the country remained steady.

The big story in heifer calves is a dramatic drop in prices compared to the early part of 2012.  Wisconsin posted a high range of $110-245 in March, compared to $25-115 today. In Texas, a high of $75-350 in April compares to $75-190 today. And in Pennsylvania, a high range of $220-260 in May out shadows $90-110 today.

Springing heifers
Heifer calves
 Location (sale date)
Supreme/top grade
Approved/medium grade
90-120 pounds
Turlock, Calif. (11/2/12)
Stratford, Wis. (10/30/12)
Sulphur Springs, Texas (10/18/12)
New Holland, Pa. (10/31/12)

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