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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

VA Premium Heifer Sale Results Prices Solid

Livestock Update, December 2002

John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

The Virginia Premium Assured HeiferTM Program continues to provide quality heifers to commercial producers, and increased income to commercial heifer breeders. Over the past three years, the program has marketed 1620 VA Premium Assured HeifersTM (VAPAH) with total sales of $1,432,048.74.

Bred heifer prices averaged $956.00 over the three years (Table 1). The market value of VAPAH was $80 more than non-premium assured heifers. Ranges in individual sales were from $21 to $197 more for VAPAH than non-premium assured bred heifers. This represents over an eight percent increase in the value of bred VA Premium Assured HeifersTM. However, when prices were compared within sales where VAPAH and non-premium assured heifers were offered together, the price ratio was 13% and 5% greater for VAPAH + and VAPAH compared to non-premium assured heifers.

Open heifer prices averaged over $700 for VAPAH across the three year period (Table 2). This was a $35 advantage over non-premium assured heifers. The range across sales was $20 to $50 more per VAPAH. This resulted in a six percent increase in the value of open VA Premium Assured HeifersTM.

Table 1. Average price for bred VA Premium Assured HeifersTM and non-premium assured heifers from all sales.
  VAPAH + VAPAH Non-VAPAH
Year ----------$ per heifer------------
2000 1,020.66 955.82 892.70
2001 925.71 988.74 796.61
2002 909.25 924.25 820.00
Three Year Average 956.09 955.94 877.52

Table 2. Average price for open VA Premium Assured HeifersTM and non-premium assured heifers from all sales.
  VAPAH + VAPAH Non-VAPAH
Year ----------$ per heifer------------
2000 754.92 None sold 670.68
2001 674.78 698.46 650.00
2002 693.02 711.07 None sold
Three Year Average 713.89 694.98 665.37

At first glance, there appears to be no price advantage for the VAPAH Plus category. However, the all sale averages include sales where only VAPAH + were sold or no VAPAH + were sold. In sales where both VAPAH+ and VAPAH were offered, bred VA Premium Assured Plus heifers brought $25.50 more per head than standard VA Premium Assured heifers. A similar pattern was noted for open heifers as open bred VA Premium Assured Plus heifers brought $17.11 more per head than standard VA Premium Assured heifers.

In summary, the VA Premium Assured HeiferTM program is creating a value added market for superior commercial replacement beef heifers. Although the VA Premium Assured HeiferTM plus level provides better heifer genetics in the areas of growth and milk production, the price advantage for these heifers is still small. Buyers made need several years to appreciate the true difference between the plus and standard levels of VA Premium Assured HeifersTM.



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