The bred heifer market is hot and got hotter in December as bred heifers earned the highest gains compared to a month earlier. While cows with calves fell back from November figures, pairs are still bringing more than they did in December 2012.
Heiferettes dropped $4.82 per hundredweight in December compared to November data, while young open cows dropped 57 cents over the month. These are lower than last month’s data, but both heiferettes and young open cows are up $1.76 and $1.50 per hundredweight, respectively. Aged open cows increased $5.25 compared to the previous month.
Cow-calf pairs fell back in December. Cows with small calves were down $93.50 per pair, and cows with large calves dropped $27.55 per pair. However, while lower compared to November data, cows with small calves are up $339.75 and cows with large calves are up $175.33 per pair compared to this time last year.
Bred females continued to lead the way in December, with bred heifers increasing $142.17 per head compared to November and up $418.42 compared to this time last year. Young bred females were up $10 per head over last month and $161.50 higher than last year. While aged bred cows were down $62.25 for the month, they are $137.50 higher than a year ago.
The fed-cattle market continued perking in December with fed-cattle prices remaining above $130 per hundredweight for the past two months. After climbing above $120 in early November, feeder margins dropped to negative $17.22 in mid-December, and packer margins remained in the red throughout the month. After hovering around $200 early in December, the Choice beef-cutout price settled at $198 in mid-December.