Early Herd Rebuilding May Occur Via the Bred Cow Market

The USDA Cattle Stock report confirmed a 4% discount in beef cows, a 6% lower in heifers held again for retention, and a 5% discount in heifers anticipated to calve this yr (USDA-NASS 2023). Feeder cattle provides can be diminished nationally in 2023. Continued liquidation in 2023 will rely upon the revenue margins producers anticipate to obtain. Increased costs for feeder cattle are anticipated however greater feed prices, particularly hay, and different inputs are limiting the revenue potential. Some producers have already run out of hay as heavy snow has restricted winter grazing and protracted drought circumstances shortened the grazing season and diminished total hay manufacturing. A lot has been mentioned concerning the ENSO climate patterns altering this yr. If this climate sample does materialize the change will profit the Southern Plains with a cool and moist spring/summer time whereas the Northern Plains usually keep dry in the summertime earlier than a cool/moist fall. For Northern Plains cattle producers, it might get a bit harder earlier than issues enhance from a feed perspective.

There can be producers who’ve feed assets and imagine income are available in 2023 and 2024. The quickest means for these producers to extend the feeder cattle provide is thru the addition of bred cows or bred heifers. Bred heifers obtain a premium over bred cows. For instance, the value ratio of bred heifers to bred cows has averaged 2.5% over the past 5 years. In different phrases, bred heifers are on common 2.5% dearer than bred cows. The premium is the widest within the Spring (March-Might) and lowest within the Fall (September-November). There’s a premium because of the longer helpful lifetime of the cow within the herd however smaller than anticipated as a consequence of potential points with calving which might happen with first calf heifers. 

Nonetheless, the nationwide bred cow value masks a number of components that affect value. Age, weight, months bred, genetics and market circumstances are the first drivers of bred cow costs. One examine utilizing Oklahoma Metropolis bred heifer and bred cow gross sales from 2000-2015 estimated the premiums and reductions for every of those components within the bred cow market (see Mitchell et al. 2018). For example how these components may affect producers’ choices to both purchase or promote bred cows this yr, I stroll by means of a number of situations assuming we’ve got a three-year-old bred cow that’s six months pregnant, is a medium/giant 1-2, and black hided. February 2023 costs for one of these cow in Oklahoma Metropolis, OK is $1,150 however has averaged $870 over the previous three years. 

Producers promoting cows older than this could anticipate to obtain a reduction and the reductions are likely to lower nearly linearly from 0%-20% as cows age. A four-year-old bred cow would value $1,150 (0% low cost), a seven-year-old bred cow would value $1,035 (10% low cost), and a ten-year-old bred cow would value $920 (20% low cost). Producers contemplating advertising and marketing older cows as bred ought to acknowledge the heavy reductions assigned as age will increase.

Equally, the nearer the cow is to calving, the dearer the bred cow turns into relative to a six-month-old bred cow. Reductions and premiums are practically linear between a 4% premium ($1,196) for an eight-month-old bred cow, a 5% low cost ($1,092) for a 4-month-old bred cow, and a 12% low cost ($1,012) for a one-month-old bred cow. These premiums and reductions exist as there much less threat of dropping a calf as age will increase, decrease manufacturing prices earlier than the calf’s beginning, and income is obtained extra shortly when late-gestating cows are bought.

Promoting this identical bred cow at completely different instances of the yr will affect the value obtained. Producers seeking to purchase bred cows within the late winter or early spring ought to anticipate to pay a premium. The very best premiums are in February and March as many producers are buying cows which might be on the identical calving cycle in anticipation of summer time grass and pastures. Costs peak in early March at roughly an 8% premium ($1,242). Costs are lowest in the summertime and fall months in areas which might be heavy spring calvers as producers are culling their herds and figuring out which heifers to be retained – a 4% low cost ($1,104). Promoting the identical high quality, age, and being pregnant age leads to a distinction of $138 per cow.

Present market circumstances may also play a task within the value of bred cows. The feeder cattle and corn markets are the 2 largest drivers of bred cow costs. Increased feeder cattle costs create incentives for extra calves to be delivered to market and bred cows are the quickest means to take action. Increased corn costs enhance the price of achieve in feedlots. This places downward stress on feeder cattle costs though the affect is delayed because it takes not less than 6-8 months earlier than the potential calf will attain the feedlot. Combining these impacts and present value forecasts can present the premiums and reductions producers can anticipate to obtain for a bred cow.

Premiums/reductions are relative to our bred cow (three-year-old that’s six months pregnant) and present CME Feeder Cattle ($210 per cwt.) and Corn ($6 per bu.) contracts. Desk 1 exhibits these premiums and reductions. The close by feeder cattle value on the time of sale has a a lot bigger affect than the close by corn value. For instance, relative to the BASE, a $0.50 decline would enhance the value of our bred cow by 0.77% whereas a $10 per cwt. enhance within the feeder cattle contract will increase the value by 5.29%. Producers seeking to rebuild herds by means of the bred cow market ought to pay attention to these and different components earlier than shopping for or promoting bred cows.

Desk 1. Close by CME Feeder Cattle and Corn Value Expectations on Bred Cow Premiums and Reductions.


Supply: Authors’ calculations utilizing estimates from Mitchell et al. (2018)
Be aware: Estimates are for a 3-year-old bred cow that’s 6 months pregnant.