Is Your Herd Focused on Meeting Demand?

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

Despite the higher price, consumers want quality, and are willing to pay for it!

To say the least, suggesting it’s been a wild ride on the path to profitability in the cow-calf sector during this decade is an understatement. Beginning in 2009-10 cattlemen saw the most dramatic increase in cattle prices ever. From there prices climbed to the point where we experienced historic highs just four years later. As would be expected, at the same time consumers were experiencing historic high beef prices in the meat case.

What might not have been expected was that while lower overall beef supplies were causing these historically high live cattle and retail meat prices, demand by consumers for premium priced branded beef continued to climb Continue reading

BBQ Townhall

– David P. Anderson, Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Monday, December 10th was the 5th annual BBQ Townhall, an event that I look forward to each year, held in College Station, TX. It is organized by my meat science (and BBQ gurus) colleagues. The day is for BBQ restaurant folks to talk about recent trends, observations, and, of course, meat prices. My role in the program was to present an overview of livestock markets, production, and prices for the coming year. This ITCM focuses on a broad overview of my comments from the Townhall.

First off, it’s important to remember that the audience is BBQ folks. Usually, readers of ITCM want higher prices because we are thinking about selling cattle. In this case, our audience is interested in lower prices, because they are buying.

There are two overriding themes in livestock markets, generally Continue reading

Is There an Optimal Weight for Marketing Calves?

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

There have been a few questions the past two or three weeks concerning the optimal weight to market calves and feeder cattle. These questions hinged around the weight that would return the largest profit.

The answer to this question changes continuously. Whether a cow-calf producer or a stocker producer, each producer needs to Continue reading

Cull Cow Market Struggles to Find a Bottom

– Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Livestock Marketing Specialist

The cull cow market likely reached a seasonal low in November but it has been difficult to understand this market this year. Prices for Breaker cows in Oklahoma City averaged $50.13 per hundredweight in November, nearly 11 percent lower year over year, while Boning cows averaged $47.88 per cwt., over 16 percent down from one year ago. Cull cow prices have been counter-seasonally lower year over year from May through October and have averaged 13 to 15 percent lower year over year for the last seven months.

Cull cow prices typically begin a slight recovery in December following the November seasonal low. Cull prices average a much stronger seasonal increase after Jan. 1, increasing by 6.7 percent in January from the November low; with February up 16.2 percent; March up 18.75 percent; April up 19.6 percent and May up 21.1 percent all from the November low. From current levels, this would suggest breaking cow prices of Continue reading

Kentucky Beef Cattle Market Update

– Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky

After holding pretty well through the early part of the fall, Kentucky calf markets finally made their seasonal drop in October and November. As can be seen in figure 1, prices for a 550 lb steer fell by roughly $10 per cwt from September to November. This may have been slightly more decline than usual due to delayed marketings from fall forage growth and cold / wet conditions in November. Regardless, we are at our typical seasonal lows for the calf markets and prices tend to increase from now until spring. Heavy feeder cattle prices have decreased as well with large groups of 850 lb steers largely in the $140’s. Many of these groups were in the $150’s a Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for November 30, 2018

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle trade was not well established at press as bid and ask prices were separated by as much as $8 on live basis. Prices are likely to settle near un-changed compared to last week.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $115.46 live, up $0.09 from last week and $183.08 dressed, up $1.59 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $120.68 live and $190.05 dressed.

Cattle feeders and packers were slow to agree on a price this week with cattle feeders asking $4 to $5 higher prices than the previous week while packers were bidding $3 lower than the prior week. It is highly unlikely the market will move much in either’s favor compared to week ago prices given the somewhat stagnant nature of live cattle futures following the Thanksgiving holiday. Cattle feeders should still hold some leverage over packers at this point in the Continue reading

Mexico’s Impact on Cattle on Feed Placements

– Jared Geiser, Research Assistant, and Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Mexico historically has been an important source of feeder cattle for U.S. cattlemen, with feeder calf imports of approximately 1 million head a year since the mid-1980s. Imports grew from 702,000 head in 2008 to their peak in 2012 at 1.44 million head. The largest portion of Mexican cattle imports typically enter the U.S. as feeder calves between 200-700 lbs. Lightweight calves are backgrounded to gain additional weight before entering U.S. feedlots. These Mexican feeder cattle contribute to cattle on feed placements at varying amounts throughout the year.

2018 feeder cattle imports from Mexico through the month of October total 898,000 head, a 5 percent increase over the same period in 2017. Feeder cattle imports over the last 5 years, have been highest in the months of November and December and typically drop off in January. Many of these lightweight calves are turned Continue reading

Weekly Livestock Comments for November 23, 2018

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded $4 higher on a live basis compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $115 to $117 while dressed prices were mainly $181 to $185.

The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $115.37 live, up $4.32 from last week and $181.49 dressed, up $5.23 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $118.92 live and $189.04 dressed.

The cattle on feed report was not as bearish as expected as cattle on feed numbers continue to exceed year ago numbers. The on feed report should not have Continue reading

Inventories Taking Shape

– Matthew A. Diersen, Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

Last week brought a flurry of market information from various NASS reports that give added insight into the cattle supply situation and the inventory levels likely in 2019. In the November Cattle on Feed report, placements were lower and marketings were higher than year ago levels. The placements were at the very low end of trade expectations, while marketings were at the very high end of trade expectations. The slight bump in futures last week, however, did not last long. The latest on-feed total of 11.7 million head continues to be a large absolute level of cattle to work through. Spatially, there was little disparity in the on-feed totals across major feedlot states. The marketings were a little higher in Nebraska than in other states. The implication of these factors is that the number on-feed is narrowing back toward the 2017 level.

There was a slowdown in placements weighing less than 800 pounds. Recent months have had Continue reading

Beef AG NEWS Today, the November Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AG NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about a variety of herd management tools, tips and their associated costs.