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Weekly Market Summary
For the week ending March 24, 2017
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The Cattle Range Market Trendlines:
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The Trendline remains positive, but for different reasons this week.  Boxed beef had traded higher for 7 weeks in a row and was a major factor in keeping the trendlines positive. However, this week, boxed beef was lower and fat cattle struggled after Wednesday's trade. Feeder & stocker cattle picked up the slack and had their best week in several months.

Next week may be interesting... If boxed beef remains weak and packers stand aside or are able buy fat cattle for lower money, the market rally will likely experience a setback.

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10 Day Market Trendline
Change from Previous Day: -0.28%
 Change from 10 Days Ago: +10.83%
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The Trendlines are indicators of overall cattle/beef market strength and are based on daily market factors.  Each daily factor is the aggregate weighted total of the Gain/(Loss) for 12 market indicators compared to the previous trading day. The angle indicates direction & velocity of the trend.
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30 Day Market Trendline
Change from 30 Days Ago: +19.43%
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  • Click Here.to receive the WMS on Saturday mornings or have it sent to friends & associates.
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Regular Contents: 
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  • Weekly Market Overview.
  • National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary.
  • Stocker & Feeder Steers.
  • Stocker & Feeder Cattle Weekly Receipts.
  • 5 Year Moving Avg. - Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers.
  • Selected Auction Reports.
  • Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle.
  • Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs.
  • Canadian Cattle.
  • USDA National Retail Beef Report.
  • Photo of the Week.
  • Shootin' the Bull Weekly Analysis.
  • Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers.
  • Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation.
  • Slaughter Cows & Bulls.
  • Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection.
  • Weekly Hay Reports.
  • Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review.
  • Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Cattle & Corn.
  • Stock Markets & Economic News.
  • Weather Outlook.
  • Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss).
  • Slaughter Cattle.
  • National Grain Summary.
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    Of Possible Interest:  The views expressed in the content below are included in the WMS because we found them to be of interest but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Cattle Range.
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    Weekly Market Overview:
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    On-Line Store
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    National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:
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    RECEIPTS:  Auctions  Direct   Video/Internet  Total
    This Week     253,700    153,400         2,400         409,500 
    Last Week     228,600     80,100        25,900         334,600 
    Last Year       225,300     34,600          2,400          262,300 

    Compared to last week, steers and heifers were steady to 7.00 higher, with the early week sales being steady to 4.00 higher and later week auctions 3.00 to 7.00 higher.  There were instances when trends this week were called up to 9.00 higher as the CME cattle complex was sharply higher mid week and didn't give up the ghost as the week moved on.  News of fed cattle trade on Wednesday spurred the markets higher when some cattle were reported on the FCE at 136.50 in Nebraska which would be 4.00 to 5.00 higher than last weeks sales.  Dressed sales were turned in on Thursday at 215.00, 5.00 higher than last week.  Support flowed over to the Feeder Cattle contracts when they were from 3.00 to almost 4.50 higher for the week, with the most gain coming in the further out months.  With all the support around the circuit, spring has sprung and cattle buyers were bidding readily and aggressively for all offerings on hand at auctions nationwide.  On Wednesday in Kearney, NE at Huss-Platte Valley Livestock Auction a package of 707 lb steers with all the bells and whistles sold at 155.00 and a load of 542 lb thin fleshed steers rang the bell at 186.50.  Additionally on Wednesday in St Joseph, MO a load plus of 877 lb steers sold for 138.00 and a short load of 806 lb steers sold at 144.75.  On Thursday in Valentine, NE a load of 757 lb steers went for 152.00 and a string of 718 lb replacement heifers sold of $1335.00 per head which would equate to around 186.00/cwt. 

    Feedyards are optimistic and are getting in a much better position as the bottom lines are much better now than they were at the first of the year.  Boxed beef has rallied since the beginning of February, the implied packer margins are back in the black and packers have been more than willing to pay up for live cattle.  Since February 10, Choice Boxed Beef has gained around $35.00 and this is going through the month of March, which is not known for its spectacular demand.  Some of the boxed beef sales may now be going the way of exports as a number of importing countries that utilize beef from Brazil announced that they are either suspending, curtailing or enhancing inspections of meat from that country.  Brazil has surpassed the US in exports and in recent years has become the largest global supplier of red meat and poultry products.  Analysts are looking at how many dollars of product that could be affected by suspension of those products and with approximately $5.5 B worth exported from Brazil in CY 2016, it could be a boon for other countries that step up production and fill the void. 

    Wednesday's Cold Storage Report showed total red meat supplies in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 7 percent from the previous month and down 1 percent from last year.  The outgoing pace of frozen beef supplies in February is supportive to the cattle industry and it appears that participants have been drawing on those freezer stocks that were purchased last fall at lower prices.  Cattle on Feed report released today came in within analyst expectations as the On Feed number is at 100 percent; placements at 99 percent and Marketings at 104 percent.  Auction volume this week included 58 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 43 percent heifers.

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    Stocker Steers:
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    Feeder Steers:
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    Stocker & Feeder Cattle Weekly Receipts:
    Weekly sales of Stocker Calves & Feeder Cattle sold via auctions, direct country sales, and video/Internet sales as reported by the UDSA Market News
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    Five Year Moving Average - Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers:
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    Cattle Futures Summary: Live cattle futures fin ished the week mixed with the front two months higher but were lower in the back months. April posted a 2.33% gain since last Friday. Feeder cattle futures saw mostly losses on Friday, with April the only contract showing green, up 22.5 cents. March futures wer up $2.05 over the week. The CME feeder cattle index was at $132.46 for 3/23, a daily gain of 88 cents. Wholesale beef prices in the afternoon report were both lower, as choice boxes were down 66 cents and select lost 22 cents. There were reports of $126-$130 live in KS and$134.50 live and $210-$215 dressed in NE. DTN reported bids of $126-$129 live in NE and KS, with dressed bids of $210-$215 in NE and IA. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter (including Saturday) is 613,000 head, up 25,000 from last week and 75,000 head more than the same time last year. 
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    Selected Auction Reports:
    "Click" on individual.auction links.for complete report
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    Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS
    Receipts:  5806    Last Week:  4795    Year Ago:  3560
    Compared to last week: steers 650-1100 lbs 2.00-9.00 higher; 650 lbs and under higher undertone noted. Heifers 700-1000 lbs 2.00-5.00 higher; 700 lbs and under higher undertone noted.

    Green Forest Livestock Auction - Green Forest AR
    Receipts:  937    Last Week:  518    Year Ago:  793
    Compared to one week earlier, slaughter cows unevenly steady, slaughter bulls mostly steady, with one outstanding bull up to 1.12 per lb, feeder steers lightly tested, steer and bull calves steady to 3.00 higher, feeder heifers steady to 2.00 higher,

    Mitchell Livestock Wtd Avg Report - Mitchell SD
    Receipts:  6738    Last Week:  5894    Year Ago:  2068
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers under 650 lbs sold with stronger undertones in a narrow comparison, 650-750 lbs 8.00 to 12.00 higher, 750-800 lbs 4.00 to 6.00 higher, 800-1000 lbs steady to 4.00 higher.

    Cullman Stockyard - Cullman AL
    Receipts:  1091    Last Week:  725    Year Ago:  1164
    Compared to two weeks ago: Slaughter cows sold 2.00 to 3.00 higher, slaughter bulls sold 3.00 to 4.00 higher. Feeder bulls and steers sold 2.00 to 4.00 higher.

    Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City OK
    Receipts:  6,545     Last Week:  6,592    Year ago:  8,880
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers are trading mostly steady to 3.00 higher.  Steer and heifer calves trading on a limited test, except for the heavier calves bringing 2.00-3.00 higher.

    El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK
    Receipts:  10,109    Week ago:    12,462    Year ago:  8,669
    ***Final report from 3-21/22-17*** Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers traded 3.00-6.00 higher.  Steer and heifer calves sold steady to 4.00 higher where comparable sales were noted.

    Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO
    Receipts:  6,574     Week ago:   6,985    Year ago:  5,298
    ***CLOSE***  Compared to last week, steer calves under 500 lbs steady to 5.00 higher,  500 to 600 lbs steady, heifer calves under 500 lbs steady  to 4.00 higher, 500 to 600 lbs 2.00 to 5.00 higher, yearling steers under 900 lbs steady to 2.00 higher, with some near 600 lbs 5.00 higher, over 900 lbs steady,

    Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE
    Receipts:  2857    Last Week:  3285    Year Ago:  2289
    Compared to last week steers over 700 lbs sold 6.00 to 8.00 higher and heifers over 600 lbs sold 2.00 to 5.00 higher. Sharply higher CME cattle boards on Wednesday and slaughter steers and heifers sold higher on the Fed Cattle exchange spurred buyers to bid readily and aggressively for all offerings.

    Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA
    Receipts:  1270    Last Week:  2400    Year Ago:  1560
    Compared to last Thursday at the same market, stocker cattle 7.00-8.00 higher as spring fever is in full swing. Feeder cattle weak in a light test. Trade active with good demand and good buyer attendance. Slaughter cows steady. Slaughter bulls 3.00-4.00 higher.

    Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX
    Cattle and Calves:  2,203     Week ago:  2,060     Year Ago:  2,396
    Compared to last week:  Steer and heifer calves under 500 lbs firm; feeder steers and heifers over 500 lbs were mixed with most being 2.00-3.00 higher except 500-600 lb steers and 700-800 lb heifers 4.00-6.00 higher.

    Pratt Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction - Pratt, KS
    Receipts:  5230    Last Week:  6006    Year Ago:  3898
    Compared to last week: feeder steers 600-750 lbs 5.00-8.00 higher; 750-850 lbs firm to 2.00 higher; 850-1000 lbs 2.00-5.00 higher. Feeder heifers 600-850 lbs 4.00-6.00 higher; 850-1000 lbs firm to 4.00 higher.

    Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM
    Receipts:  3332            Week Ago: 2141            Year Ago: 3673
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers mostly 2.00-8.00 higher but instances 10.00-12.00 higher on the heels of the big jump in the CME Futures prices. Slaughter cows and bulls 1.00-2.00 higher.

    Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD
    Receipts:  5793    Last Week:  812    Year Ago:  3947
    Compared to two weeks ago:  Last week's sale very lightly tested, so comparisons are being made to sale held two weeks ago.  Feeder steers under 600 lbs sold with sharply higher undertones, 600-700 lbs mostly 5.00 to 9.00 higher with instances of 12.00 higher,

    Blue Grass South Livestock Market - Stanford KY
    Receipts:  717    Last Week:  523    Year Ago:  880
    Compared to last Monday:Feeder steers and heifers 1.00-3.00 higher,Good to very good demand for feeder classes.Slaughter cows and bulls steady with good demand.

    Tri-State Livestock Auction Market - McCook NE
    Receipts:  2750    Last Week:  2200    Year Ago:  1400
    Compared to last week, steers and heifers were steady – 3.00 higher on comparable weights. Demand was good and active on all weights of cattle. Steers accounted for 68 percent and heifers 32 percent of the offering today.

    Winter Livestock - La Junta CO...
    Receipts:  1526    Last Week:  9366    Year Ago:  2285
    Compared with last Tuesdays higher market: Steers steady to 3.00 lower, decline on 500 to 700 lbs. Heifers under 700 lbs 3.00 to 5.00 lower. Yearling feeder steers over 700 lbs steady to 2.00 lower, decline on 700 to 800 lbs. Yearling feeder heifers in a light test steady to 1.00 lower. Slaughter cows 2.00 higher.

    Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE
    Receipts:  2857    Last Week:  3285    Year Ago:  2289
    Compared to last week steers over 700 lbs sold 6.00 to 8.00 higher and heifers over 600 lbs sold 2.00 to 5.00 higher. Sharply higher CME cattle boards on Wednesday and slaughter steers and heifers sold higher on the Fed Cattle exchange spurred buyers to bid readily and aggressively for all offerings.

    Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX
    Receipts:  2864    Last Week:  3588    Year Ago:  4088
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers sold 5.00 to 8.00 higher.  Calves were mostly steady.  Trade was active on very good demand.  Fire warnings for most of the week with hope of thunderstorms tonight.

    Valentine Livestock Auction Market - Valentine NE
    Receipts:  2865 Last week: 5000 Last year: 0
    A limited number of comparable offering from last week with 650 to 750 lbs steers trading steady to 7.00 higher and 600 to 650  lbs heifers 10.00 to 12.00 higher.  Demand was very good for all offerings with several lots of drug free offerings.

    Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA
    Receipts:  4809       Year Ago:  3673
    No comparison as sale not reported for 3 weeks: Trade Active and Demand Very Good today on a higher market. Receipts this week included 68 percent feeder cattle over 600 lbs; 54 percent of the feeders were strs and 46 percent were hfrs.

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    Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:
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    WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
    Receipts:  14,101    Week Ago:  1,743     Year Ago:  2,075 
    Compared to last week, 850 lbs steers sold 4.00 higher and current delivery 750-850 lbs heifers sold 1.00 to 3.00 higher. Demand was good with several feedlots purchasing cattle. Snow and rain in some areas of the reporting regions. 

    AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri)
    Confirmed: 300 
    Compared to last week, not enough head traded to establish trend.  Trade slow, demand light. Calf raisers and feeders are at a stand off.  Supply consisted of 300 lb Holstein steers for April Del. Cattle weighing over 600 lbs totaled 0 percent.

    Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
    Receipts: 4,375        Last Week: 1,185        Last Year: 4,787 
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not well tested with last week's light test but a higher undertone is noted.  Demand is good for feeder cattle.  Supply consisted of 100 percent over 600 lbs; 24 percent heifers. 

    IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon)
    Receipts:  0     Last Week:  0     Last Year: 0
    Compared to the last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not tested.  Prices based on net weights FOB after a 3 percent shrink or equivalent and 5-10 cent slide on calves and 4-6 cent slide on yearlings from base weights.

    Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
    Receipts:  5281    Last Week:  5461    Year Ago:  7319
    Compared with last week: not enough comparable FOB sales for an accurate market test, however a much higher undertone noted. Buyers and feed yards were very willing to fill any empty pens, also contracted cattle for future delivery.

    Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
    Receipts: 445          Last Week: 0           Last Year: 243
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers, no recent test for a comparison of trends.  Feeder heifers not tested.  Cattle prices moved sharply higheras beef prices continued to rise and cattle futures followed along. 

    New Mexico Feeder Cattle Report (Mon)
    Receipts:  6400    Last Week:  1600    Year Ago:  450
    Compared to last week:  Steers and heifers sold 3.00 to 4.00 higher on limited comparable sales.  Trade was active on good demand after cattle futures rallied mid-week.  Supply consisted of 46 percent steers and 54 percent heifers.

    Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
    Receipts:  2150    Last Week:  2950    Year Ago:  3450
    Compared to last week, feeder cattle steady to 2.00 higher on fall contracted calves. Trade slow as most interests are waiting for the cattle on feed report due to be released later today.

    Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
    Receipts: 3,565        Last Week 3,946        Last Year 5,317 
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers firm to 3.00 higher.  Feeder heifers not well tested for current delivery.  Demand good for feeder cattle as cattle futures improved.

    Texas Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
    Confirmed: 60,400     Last Week: 25,300    Last Year: 31,400
    Compared to last week current FOB feeder steers and heifers mostly 1.00 to 6.00 higher but instances steady on a few early week sales. Big seasonal wheat pasture run that includes big current numbers over 750 lbs.
     

  • Extensive U.S. & Canadian Auction Results are available on The Cattle Range
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    Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs:
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    Reported by.USDA Market News for the week ending February 24th
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    •  El Reno, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-4 yr old 1050-1300 lbs 2-8 months bred black 1200.00-1375.00; 1-4 yr old 875-1200 lbs 3-7 months bred 850.00-1000.00; 5-8 yr old 1050-1350 lbs 2-8 months bred 850.00-1200.00; 9-10 yr old 1025-1325 lbs 5-7 months bred 900.00-960.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-8 yr old 1000-1325 lb cow w/50-225 lb calf 1250.00-1525.00; pkg 7 yr old 1250 lb cow w/300 lbs calf 1625.00; pkg 9 yr old 1200 lb cow w/100-200 lb calf 925.00 per pair. 
    • McAlester, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-10 yr old 875-1275 lbs 4-8 months bred 910.00-1400.00; 1-4 yr old 800-1200 lbs 4-6 months bred 850.00-975.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-8 yr old 750-1300 lb cows w/100-375 lb calf 975.00-1200.00; 9-10 yr old 1000-1200 lb cow w/100-300 lb calf 1050.00-1475.00 per pair. 
    • Oklahoma City, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-6 yr old 850-1475 lbs 2-7 months bred 875.00-1185.00; 5-10 yr old 1325-1775 lbs 6-7 months bred 1010.00-1250.00; 7-10 yr old 975-1425 lbs 3-7 months bred 800.00-1075.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 pkg 4 yr old 1075 lb cows w/100 lb calf 1100.00; pkg 6 yr old 1475 lb cow w/225 lb calf bred back 1585.00; 7-8 yr old 1100-1250 lbs cow w/75-400 lb calf 1200.00-1400.00 per pair. 
    • Clovis, NM:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 900-1300 lb cows 3-8 months bred 825.00-1200.00 per head; middle aged 1100-1400 lb cows 3-8 months bred 760.00-1100.00 per head; aged 900-1300 lb cows 3-8 months bred 685.00-800.00, per head.  First Calf Heifers:  650-975 lb cows 3-8 months bred 610.00-825.00, per head. 
      • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young to middle aged 900-1400 lb cows w/100-250 lb calves 1250.00-1750.00, per pair; aged 1000-1200 lb cows w/100-225 lb calves 1150.00-1275.00, per pair. 
    • Dodge City, KS:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1 1020-1115 lbs 3-6 months bred 1410.00-1500; 995-1200 lbs 6-9 months bred 1560.00-1660.00 per head.  Middle-Aged 1075-1175 lbs 6-9 months bred 1575.00-1635; lot 1210 lbs 3-6 months bred 1510.00 per head.  Medium and Large 1-2 995-1195 lbs 3-6 months bred 1125.00-1375.00; 1225-1295 lbs 3-6 months bred 1250.00-1485.00 per head.  Large 1 1325-1480 lbs 6-9 months bred 1575.00-1685.00 per head.  Large 1-2 1325-1480 lbs 3-6 months bred 1150.00-1460.00; 1360-1470 lbs 6-9 months bred 1200.00-1435.00 per head per head.  Medium and Large 1-2 Aged 1365-1585 lbs 6-9 months bred 935.00-1300.00 per head. 
      • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1 Young 880-1160 lb cows w/150-200 lb calf 1800.00-2300.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 1-2  830-975 lb cow w/750-200 lb calf 1625.00-1750.00.  Medium and Large 1 Middle-Aged 850-1155 lb cow w/150-200 lb calf 1550.00-1850.00; 1005-1200 lb cow w/200-275 lb calf 1585.00-185.00; 1205-1285 lb cow w/200-275 lb calf 1675.00-2400.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 1-2 Aged 1155-1200 lb cow w/150-200 lb calf 1200.00-1375.00; 1200-1260 lb cow w/150-200 lb calf 1150.00-1325.00.  Large 1-2  1360-1495 lb cow w/200-275 lb calf 1225.00-1400.00. 
    • Bowling Green, MO:
      • Replacement Cows:  Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1 few heifers 1235-1250 lbs 3rd stage 1925.00-1975.00; 3-6 yrs blk 1200-1500 lbs 3rd stage 1725.00-2000.00.  Medium and Large 1-2  4-7 yrs 1100-1500 lbs 2nd and 3rd stage 1310.00-1675.00; 7 yrs to short solid mouth mostly 3rd stage 1140.00-1425.00; few short solid and broken mouth 1250-1415 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 930.00-1100.00. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  two pkgs Heifer pairs blk 900-950 lbs w/150 calves 2225.00; 2-6 yrs 1000-1500 lbs w/150-300 lb calves 1750.00-2000.00, few 3-5 yrs 1250-1450 lbs w/250-350 lb calves bred back 2150.00-2300.00; few short solid mouth 1200-1300 lbs w/200-250 lb calves 1625.00-1700.00; few short solid to broken mouth 1150-1350 lbs w/150-200 lb calves 1210.00-1340.00. 
    • Joplin, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1000-1320 lbs 1100.00-1500.00, 1st stage 900-1360 lbs 975.00-1135.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1070-1365 lbs 730.00-1050.00.  Large 1-2  5 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage couple 1500-1520 lbs 1325.00-1575.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1405-1475 lbs 915.00-1075.00. Medium 1-2  2-7 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 725-1050 lbs 825.00-1075.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd stage 900-1050 lbs 620.00-800.00 per head. 
      • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 900-1365 lb cows w/babies to 400 lb calves and some rebred 1300.00-1675.00. Large 1-2  2 yr 1450 lb cow w/baby calf 1450.00. Medium and Large 2  2-5 yrs 1000-1100 lb cows w/babies to 160 lb calves 1125.00-1250.00; aged pkg. 1200 lb cows w/140-155 lb calves 875.00. Medium 1-2  4-5 yrs 900-1045 lb cows w/170-180 lb calves 1300.00-1350.00; aged 1000 lb cow w/180 lb calf 1000.00 per pair. 
    • Springfield, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2–7 yrs 3rd stage 950-1230 lbs 875.00-1375.00, short solid mouth 2nd-3rd stage 1045-1410 lbs 860.00-1075.00; 2-7 yrs old 2nd stage 910-1310 lbs 900.00-1385.00, Pkg. of 1 1/2 yrs 2nd stage 955 lb black heifers 1200.00; 2-7 yr 1st stage 975-1375 lbs 850.00-1050.00. Medium and Large 2  1st-3rd stage 2yr to short solid 860-980 lbs 585.00-800.00. Large 1-2  1st-3rd stage 3 yrs to short solid 1250-1550 lb 950.00-1175.00 per head. 
      • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yr old 1000-1150 lb cows w/babies to 250 lb calves 875.00-1550.00 per pair.  Individual 7 yr old 1100 lb w/300 lb calf 1st stage bred 1450.00 per pair.  Short solid 925-1450 lb cows w/babies to 350 lb 925.00-1525.00 per pair. 
    • West Plains, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yr old 997-1420 lb cows in the 2nd to 3rd stage 1100.00-1650.00 per head; Seven yrs to short-solid mouth 1045-1570 lb cows in the 2nd to 3rd stage 1000.00-1225.00 per head.  Medium and Large 2  2-7 yr old 905-1215 lb cows in the 2nd to 3rd stage 800.00-1100.00 per head; Short-solid to broken mouth 1065-1220 lb cows in the 2nd to 3rd stage 775.00-900.00 per head.  Medium 2  2-7 yr old 675-1035 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 600.00-850.00 per head. 
      • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yr old 1078-1302 lb cows with 150-300 lb calves 1350.00-1400.00 per pair; 3-n-1 pkgs 2-6 yr old 1042-1411 lb cows in the 1st to 2nd stage with 150-350 lb calves 1600.00-2050.00 per pair; Short-solid to broken mouth 970-1082 lb cowswith 200-250 lb calves 1000.00-1200.00 per pair; 3-n-1 pkgs 1150-1277 lb cows in the 1st stage with 300-350 lb calves 1200.00-1700.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 2  2 yr to short-solid mouth 675-985 lb cows with 100-125 lb calves 875.00-1000.00 per pair; 3-n-1 pkgs 625-1100 lb cows in 1st stage with 250-300 lb calves the 725.00-1100.00 per pair.
    • La Junta, CO:
      • Replacement Stock:  Medium and Large 1 Young 1200-1555 lbs 1575.00-1675.00, half load 1060 lbs 1750.00, summer calvers 1425.00-1575.00; Middle age 1270-1415 lbs 1425.00-1575.00; Aged 1290-1415 lbs 1010.00-1050.00.  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 1215-1350 lbs 1375.00-1475.00; Aged 1220-1270 lbs 910.00-985.00. 
      • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 950-1300 lbs with 100-250 lb calves 1525.00-1675.00; Middle age 1000-1275 lbs with 100-200 lb calves 1425.00-1500.00; Aged 1100-1450 lbs with 125-200 lb calves 1100.00-1250.00. 
    • Torrington, WY:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1 Heifers 871-1146 lbs 1310.00-1550.00; Young 1012-1308 lbs 1500.00-1850.00; Middle Aged Solid Mouth 1199-1459 lbs 1485.00-1850.00; Aged Short Solid 1227-1563 lbs 1250.00-1550.00; Aged Short Term 1209-1520 lbs 1035.00-1125.00.
    • Miles City, MT:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1  3-4 yrs old calving before May 15th 980-1137 lbs 1,550.00-1,660.00, calving after June 1st 928-1028 lbs 1,200.00-1,250.00.  Medium and large 1-2 calving before June 1st 1,275.00-1,310.00.  Bred cows:  Medium and Large 1 Middle age (Solid mouth) calving before June 1st 1201-1241 lbs 1,200.00-1,300.00.  Medium and large 1-2 calving before June 1st 1157-1340 lbs 1,050.00-1,100.00.  Large 3 milk cows can be hand milked calve in April 1233 lbs 1,850.00.  Bred cows:  Medium and Large 1 Aged (Broken mouth) calving before June 1st 1265-1565 lbs 1,000.00-1,100.00. Medium and large 1-2 calving before June 1st 1225-1287 lbs 925.00-950.00.  Medium and large 3 calving before June 1st 1238 lbs 1,225.00.  Medium 3  1084 lbs calving before June 1st 1,100.00, Large 3 calving before June 1st 1453 lbs 1,200.00. 
    • Arkansas:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 year old 850-1250 second & third stage 115.00-125.00/1150.00-1250.00, first stage open 79.00-89.00 7-10 year old second & third stage 70.00-80.00/825.00-925.00 per head. 
      • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 year old 800-1200 lb cow w/100-200 lb calf 1400.00-1500.00, few to 1925.00, w/200-300 lb calf 1500.00-1600.00, 7-10 year old w/100-200 lb calf 1150.00-1250.00 per pair.  Small 1 and Medium 2  7+ year old 750-900 w/100-200 lb calf 700.00-800.00 per pair.
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    Canadian Cattle:
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    Alberta Beef Producers: Alberta direct cattle sales so far this week have seen light trade develop with the bulk of dressed sales being reported from 286.00-288.00 delivered. Buyers were indicating cattle that they bought this week would be lifted within two weeks. Most of the cattle being marketed are still yearlings however there were a couple loads of fed calves sold this week.
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    The "Nord Fork"

    Replaces Flankers at Branding
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    March 24th Cattle on Feed Report:
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    United States Cattle on Feed Up Slightly
    • Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on March 1, 2017. The inventory was slightly above March 1, 2016.
    • Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.69 million head, 1 percent below 2016. Net placements were 1.64 million head. During February, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 315,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 330,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 490,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 395,000, 900-999 pounds were 124,000, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 40,000 head.
    • Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.65 million head, 4 percent above 2016.
      Other disappearance totaled 56,000 head during February, 3 percent below 2016.
    Complete February Cattle On Feed Report
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    Cattle on Feed Inventory in 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots as of Febuary 1st
    Millions of Head
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    Number of Cattle Placed on Feed in 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots in Febuary
    Millions of Head
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    Number of Cattle Marketed from 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots in Febuary
    Millions of Head
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    Cattle on Feed by State as of March 1st
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    Post-Wildfire Reality Sinks in for High Plains Ranchers
    Sherry Bunting -- Progressive Cattleman
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    “The overwhelming reality of it all is sinking in,” said Greg Gardiner of Ashland, Kansas, in a phone interview 10 days after the Starbuck fire – which had consumed over 300,000 acres in Oklahoma and nearly 500,000 acres in southwest Kansas – claimed 43,000 of the 48,000 acres at Gardiner Angus Ranch.

    Officials are calling the Starbuck fire the largest single fire in Kansas state history. Additional wildfires on the same day brought the state total to 650,000 acres burned.

    All told, multiple windswept wildfires on March 6 burned close to 2 million acres of grasslands and left a deadly trail of crippling losses in four states.

    Preliminary livestock loss estimates for Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado are approaching 7,000 to 9,000 adult cows and untold numbers of calves, horses and wildlife. These numbers are expected to increase in the weeks ahead as more cattle are located and those with less severe injuries are monitored and may not recover.

    Tragically, some of the affected ranching families suffered the ultimate loss of loved ones. Seven people lost their lives, at least five while trying to herd cattle to safety before becoming trapped in the rapidly moving fire when the high winds changed direction.

    It was the perfect storm when the red flag day dawned in the High Plains. The 60 to 70 mph winds drove multiple fast-moving fires that found abundant fuel in the grasslands that had previously benefited from two years of good moisture before turning tinder-dry over the past 60 days.

    In fact, the Starbuck fire was so fast and intense that even where fence appears to be standing, the wood at ground level is disintegrated. In Kansas, alone, an estimated 12,000 miles of fence will eventually need to be replaced. The priority is perimeter fencing, so materials and fencing crews are needed.

    With severe losses of grazing land and stockpiled hay, another immediate concern is feeding the estimated 25,000 to 30,000 surviving cattle in the affected areas of the four states for the next 30 to 60 days while ranchers deal with the recovery while finishing out the calving season before they can take stock of their positions and make decisions about their futures.

    The toll of survival

    While Gardiner Angus Ranch lost 500 adult cows – mainly donor cows for fall breeding and spring calving females on grass – the 1,500 cattle on wheat pasture and those gathered for their April 1 production sale were not affected. Gardiner estimates they have lost 300 calves. All of their stored hay is gone – 5,000 round bales and 3,000 bales of horse hay – despite scattered locations. Of the cattle in the line of the fire, 150 survivors are being monitored in corrals, and 30 of them have calved within days of the fire.

    “Those cows didn’t deserve this,” said Gardiner of the devastation. “We found many with their calves flat beside them – having just calved as the fire raced through. The fire happened so fast, but everything that day seemed to be happening in slow motion.”

    “Everywhere you looked, it was like the world was on fire with fire lines on every horizon,” Gardiner said, explaining how fast the fires were upon them and the complications of changes in wind direction, making it impossible to move cattle ahead of the fire.

    Even people evacuating their homes were back and forth on where to go as the shifting high winds fueled fires that jumped roads and turned in unpredictable ways throughout the day and night. Greg’s brother Garth had a few close calls, as the fire came first from the north and Garth’s family evacuated their home. Then it switched and the roads were blocked.

    Greg Gardiner described his own close encounter while following his brother Mark with a horse trailer. Mark and Eva were attempting to save three horses and two dogs with the fire closing in on their home. When a tree belt erupted in flames, the blackness descended and the heat of the fire reached Greg’s vehicle. He was forced to retreat with zero visibility, and was left wondering for what seemed like an eternity whether Mark and Eva had escaped before their home was engulfed.

    A firefighter emerged 30 minutes later to tell him they had made it out.

    “This thing is of biblical proportions. Everywhere you look, it is like an apocalyptic wasteland, but that seems like small potatoes right now: My family is alive,” said Gardiner.

    Waves of relief

    As the heart-wrenching stories and statistics emerge from the region, the focus is transitioning from cattle triage to organizing the significant short- and long-term needs of the ranchers. The agriculture community across the country is wasting no time organizing shipments of donated hay, milk replacer, fencing materials and other needs, while foundations are setting up methods to accept donated funds, and auctions are being organized to raise additional funds for these ranchers.

    “When the hay trucks rolled in, it was like the cavalry arrived,” said Gardiner, whose ranchlands were largely burned by the Starbuck fire, deemed the largest single fire in Kansas state history. All told, 22 counties in Kansas were affected by multiple wildfires.

    Truckers dispatched from drop points to ranches describe the evident relief in the faces of the ranchers they have met. While the early convoys of semis and flatbeds traveled under lifted highway restrictions, strangers along the way offered cash for fuel or for the ranchers. But the cost of fuel and the availability of trucking remain a bottleneck in getting some of the hay donations to their destinations.

    Hay has been delivered from mainly a 300-mile radius of the affected areas. Dr. Randall Spare of Ashland Veterinary Clinic said 800 bales are waiting in Waco, Texas, if they can find trucking. Convoys are also being assembled in South Dakota, Kentucky, Tennessee and Minnesota, with calls coming into the various state coordinators from as far away as Arizona, Wisconsin, Vermont and Canada.

    “By Friday we were just amazed at the amount of hay and calls we were getting, and it continues,” said Danny Nusser, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension regional director. “We put the message out Saturday morning that we will take all that we can handle.”

    By Monday, however, the 4,200-bale goal set for the three Panhandle supply points had been met, and Nusser reported they are taking names and numbers until they further assess the region’s needs. The goal was to gather a 30-day supply for the estimated 15,000 surviving cattle in the Panhandle.

    In Oklahoma, hundreds of large round bales were received over the weekend; one convoy was organized by ranchers in the southern part of the state.

    In Kansas, 3,000 large bales were received within a week of the wildfires, and according to Spare, they can use more. “We don’t want to turn down hay because some of our ranchers are just coming to grips with what their losses are and what their needs will be. Since Gardiner Ranch has the capacity to unload and accumulate hay where neighbors can come and get what they need, we are utilizing that.”

    Southwest Kansas has an estimated 15,000 surviving livestock on ranches that have lost most of their grazing and hay.

    Donations that lift spirits

    The challenge with the hay, said Spare, is that “some producers are saying they don’t need the hay or they feel embarrassed to take it, but the grass is all gone and we are 60 days from good grass [in unburned areas], and that’s if it rains, so we are still in the process of contacting ranchers, trying to help people understand as they make their plans that they will need to have something to feed.”

    As the immediate hustle to triage cattle and secure feed and care for survivors shifts to a longer-term coordination of ongoing recovery, those close to the situation are urging more distant donors to consider monetary donations to help with trucking of closer hay and materials and other needs instead of trying to send hay from 1,000 miles away.

    Spare has spent his time trying to connect the dots. And those dots include the growing number of orphaned calves.

    With fences to build and repair, feed to secure, cows still calving and long-term plans and decisions to make, there’s no time to bottle and bucket feed calves two and three times a day, particularly for those ranchers who have also lost their homes.

    Kansas county 4-H clubs put the word out early that youth members are taking in bucket calves to help the ranchers who have so many other things to do in the recovery. To follow their progress and donate milk replacer and other supplies, visit the Orphaned Calf Relief of SW Kansas on Facebook.

    Veterinarians are reaching out to colleagues in the hard-hit areas. Spare received a call late last week from Dr. Tera Barnhardt. She and Deerfield Feeders’ general manager, Cary Wimmer, came up with the idea of offering temporary homes and care in the calf ranch hutches for orphaned calves from Ashland.

    Many ag companies have donated milk replacer, feed, pharmaceuticals and other animal care products – and along with hay donations from other ranches, have come personal items for the families who have lost their homes and belongings.

    “Our hearts go out to the ranchers,” said Barnhardt. “I’m just glad we could help connect some dots and take something off their plate.”

    Moving forward

    With the fires mostly contained in the affected regions, conditions are still tricky in some spots, according to Nusser. He said it will be June or July, with sufficient rain, before the greenup slows the fire threat in the Panhandle.

    County FSA offices are asking ranchers to contact them with loss numbers so this information can be tied to emergency declarations from each state’s respective governors for grazing lands exceptions and assistance.

    The problem is that individual ranch losses will far exceed the individual $125,000 caps for USDA programs like the Livestock Indemnity Program and fencing cost shares.

    “Every individual rancher will weather these losses differently, depending on their financial position at the time of the fire,” said Dr. Steve Amosson, AgriLife Extension economist in Amarillo, Texas. His early estimate for the Panhandle, alone, is $21 million in losses, which he expects to see increase as more information is gathered. He said that for many ranchers, little insurance money will come into play.

    In Texas, the Perryton/Lipscomb fire is deemed the third largest in Texas state history.

    For the short term, the tangibles are necessary because it takes time for the various foundations to pool monetary donations and get resources to the ranchers. Over the next 30 to 60 days, the recovery will transition to a rebuilding effort.

    This will be a long recovery for ranchers who have lost 50 to 90 percent of their herds and multiple years of income and stockpiled forage, according to Spare.

    “We’re praying for rain,” he said, describing dirty skies as the wind lifts the gray dusty sand over charred soils.

    “I told CNN that we as ranchers are stewards of the grasslands, and that the only way we have something to sell for an income is to sell grass through the cows that are eating it. We are working to take care of that and start all over again,” said Spare, who had significant losses among his own cow herd and was relieved when his son showed up in the driveway Tuesday morning, taking time away from vet school before spring exams to take care of the home front while he worked with other ranchers and their cattle.

    As for the immediate fencing need, a short- and long-term approach is being pursued. While fencing certainly has its government specs to qualify for USDA cost-sharing, several ranchers interviewed for this report indicate that the amount of fencing they have to replace so greatly exceeds the cap on funds they will begin with what is donated to establish perimeters and do their cross fencing as they can over the next few years.

    While prayers are most coveted, those who want to help are urged to contact organizers in the affected states to see what the needs are as community leaders develop an ongoing relief plan.

    “There are no guarantees in agriculture. We know the risks and we appreciate this is life we have chosen to live,” said Gardiner. “This is an emotional deal, hitting us all every day. We’ll take it one step at a time. We’ll survive by keeping ourselves moving.”

    “There is so much appreciation in this community for the outpouring of love and compassion from the people who have come alongside us with prayers and help,” said Spare. “Many don’t know how they’ll get through this, but we know we will get through it.”  end mark

    The Starbuck fire consumed 43,000 of the 48,000 acres at Gardiner Angus Ranch. Over 12,000 miles of fencing in Kansas, alone, is estimated in need of replacement as the rapidly moving and intense fire disintegrated posts at the ground level. 


    Photo by Julie Tucker

    How you can help

    Wildfire relief organizers are indicating that the best way for distant donors to help is to provide monetary donations for transporting nearby hay and resources to the areas affected by the wildfires.

    In addition, auctions are being organized to benefit wildfire funds. For example, a heifer donated by Oklahoma West Livestock Market was auctioned 105 times on March 8 to garner $115,449 with proceeds going to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation Fire Relief Fund. Similar ideas are creating a ripple response throughout the agriculture community and can be replicated anywhere.

    Trent Loos at Rural Route Radio is helping to organize this idea to fund the recovery and rebuilding efforts in the fire-ravaged areas of the High Plains through means of raising cash. For information about how to participate in this and to find a list of upcoming auctions, as well as how to set one up, contact Trent Loos at (515) 418-8185.

    To give supplies and trucking or to donate funds to foundations for direct wildfire relief, contact the state-by-state resources below.

    Kansas

    Monetary donations: Ashland Community Foundation/Wildfire Relief Fund at www.ashlandcf.com or P.O. Box 276, Ashland, KS 67831. The Kansas Livestock Association/Wildfire Relief Fund at 6031 SW 37th St., Topeka, KS 66614.

    Hay, trucking and fencing donations: Call Ashland Feed and Seed at (620) 635-2856. (Ashland Feed and Seed is also taking credit card orders over the phone for feed and milk replacer or other supplies for ranchers in the area.)

    Texas

    • Monetary donations: Texas Department of Agriculture STAR Fund.
    • Hay, trucking and fencing donations: Ample hay has been received for two to three weeks, so call to see if and when more is needed. Fencing supplies are needed, which can go to the Agrilife supply points. Contacts are J.R. Sprague at (806) 202-5288 for Lipscomb, Mike Jeffcoat at (580) 467-0753 for Pampa, and Andy Holloway at (806) 823-9114 for Canadian.
    • For questions about donations or relief efforts, contact Texas A&M Extension at (806) 677-5628.
    Colorado
    • Hay, trucking and fencing: Contact Kent Kokes (970) 580-8108, John Michal (970) 522-2330, or Justin Price (970) 580-6315.
    Oklahoma
    • Monetary donations: Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation Fire Relief at P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148 or www.okcattlemen.org.
    • Hay, trucking and fencing donations: Contact Harper County Extension at (580) 735-2252 or Buffalo Feeders at (580) 727-5530.
    • Other states organizing deliveries
    Preliminary statistics
    • Texas: Four deaths and more than 480,000 acres burned and early livestock loss estimates of 2,500 adult cattle. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension estimates preliminary damage at over $21 million, not counting equipment losses. Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in six counties in the Texas Panhandle.
    • Kansas: One death, 11 injuries, more than 40 homes destroyed and 702,000 total acres burned, 462,000 of which stem from the Starbuck fire deemed the largest single fire in Kansas state history. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a disaster declaration covering 20 counties. Early estimates of livestock losses are 3,000 to 6,000 adult cows and additional calves.
    • Oklahoma: One death, eight homes and 381,000 acres burned from the Starbuck fire. Three additional fires in the state have burned 120,000 additional acres. Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 22 counties. Early estimates of livestock losses are 3,000 cows and additional calves.
    • Colorado: Five homes were destroyed and more than 30,000 acres burned; early livestock loss estimates are 185 cow-calf pairs.
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    Ground Beef Demand
    John Nalivka -- Sterling Marketing
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    There has always been a great deal of conversation about ground beef. It is one of the most affordable and versatile beef products. But, in addition, Americans like hamburgers. If they didn't, the fast food industry wouldn't have grown at such a fast pace. I recently read an article presenting an infographic of the sales share for various beef items. Fresh ground beef accounted for 44 percent of beef sales in the U.S. in 2016.

    For 2016, I estimated that ground beef accounted for 56 percent of total beef consumed in the U.S. This figure includes grind from U.S. cows, imported beef grind, and trim and grind from fed cattle. Comparing back to 1980, ground beef consumption was 41 percent of the total beef consumed. In terms of per capita consumption, that's a fairly significant increase. However, in terms of the pounds of ground beef consumed, I have estimated that Americans consumed 31 lbs. of ground beef in 2016, the same as in 1980. Per capita consumption of all beef in 2016 was 55.6 lbs. while in 1980, U.S. consumers ate 76.4 lbs. of beef per person. So, while per capita beef consumption fell 21 lbs. over that 36 year period, ground beef consumption remained at 31 lbs. per person.

    In 1980, the beef industry harvested (I am becoming more politically correct) 34 million cattle and produced about 22 billion lbs. of beef. In 2106, the industry harvested 3 million fewer cattle and produced 3 billion more lbs. of beef. At the same time, there was 1 million fewer cull cows slaughtered in 2016 than in 1980. Cull cows are a major source of grinding beef.

    What is the bottom line of all these statistics? First, ground beef consumption as a percent of total beef consumption is increasing though the per capita pounds of ground beef remains the same as it was 36 years ago. While there is a growing demand for ground beef from the less traditional sources of fed cattle carcass (chuck, round, sirloin), there is a growing necessity to grind these items to meet the demand for ground beef. Perhaps, it's just as well that consumers are also eating fewer roasts from the chuck and rounds?

    If we consider supply in terms of using an increasingly larger share of fresh ground beef in fast food as opposed to frozen, the industry will have to grind an increasingly larger share of chucks, rounds, and sirloins from fed cattle carcasses. The trade-off in value will be interesting and demand will be the driver!

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    March USDA Livestock Slaughter Report
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    Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 3.94 billion pounds in February, up 1 percent from the 3.90 billion pounds produced in February 2016.
    • Beef production, at 1.93 billion pounds, was 3 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.37 million head, up 3 percent from February 2016. The average live weight was down 12 pounds from the previous year, at1,360 pounds.
    • Veal production totaled 5.6 million pounds, 8 percent below February a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 40,200 head, up 10 percent from February 2016. The average live weight was down 46 pounds from last year, at 241 pounds.
    • Pork production totaled 1.99 billion pounds, down 1 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.37 million head, down 1 percent from February 2016. The average live weight was up 1 pound from the previous year, at 284 pounds.
    • Lamb and mutton production, at 11.2 million pounds, was down 11 percent from February 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 159,400 head, 9 percent below last year. The average live weight was 140 pounds, down 2 pounds from February a year ago.
    January to February 2017 commercial red meat production was 8.2 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2016.

    Accumulated beef production was up 6 percent from last year, veal was down 7 percent, pork was up 1 percent from last
    year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent.

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    USDA National Retail Beef Report:
    Advertised Prices for Beef at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets
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    This week the National Beef Retail Report Feature Rate, Special Rate and Activity Indes were lower compared to last week. However, compared to last year Special Rate and Activity Index were higher. Of the steak cuts Bone-In Ribeye, Bone-In Strip, Top Round and Chuck were offered more ad space this week compared to last week. Also, Ground Chuck, Ground Round and Ground Sirlion showed more ad space compared to last week. As of Friday morning March 24, 2017 Choice Cutout Value is 222.09 and Select is 215.56 with a Choice/Select Spread of 6.53. USDA Estimated Cattle Slaughter week ending 3/25/2017 is 613,000, week ago estimate was 588,000, and a year ago estimate was 538,000.
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    Photo of the Week:
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  • 1,000 Angus & Angus Cross Cows... North TX*
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    Shootin' the Bull Weekly Analysis:
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    In my opinion, the current market environment is as skewed as I've ever seen it.  Fats are cash led with futures remaining reluctant.  Feeders are futures led with cash reluctant.  Want to sell fats at the highest price? Sell them today.  Want to sell feeders at the highest price?  Sell them in April and out.  This environment is about as conclusive of evidence that the industry is in transition that I could imagine.  So, what is the goal?  Interestingly enough, when I ask that question no one has an answer.  So, here is what I think should be the answer.  Packing capacity is limited to approximately a 620K a week kill.  That would be if there were more cattle and greater employment at the packing plant.  However, there doesn't appear to be the ability to run at 100% at this time, or really much in the future.  So, we saw that numbers plus weight overwhelms the packers ability and prices fall.  Now that weights are down and numbers more manageable thanks to the demand uptick, the goal of the industry should be to not grow the herd to a size that once again burdens packing capacity.  As the vacuum is now being felt at the feeder cattle level, soon it will reach as high as the cow/calf operator.  It is then that the industry needs to convey the aspects of production versus ability to process.  Were work to be done to show the industry what packing capacity could be in the next several years, it may help producers make a more informed decision on expansion. 

    Clearly price has impacted expansion as we have seen significant year over year increases in heifer and cow slaughter.  The flip side of this is that now prices are moving higher, there has to be some restraint on producers to keep from inventory growing too fast again.  This week has really stretched the brain power needed to keep up with the swiftness of change taking place.  The development out of Brazil is producing tremendous unknowns and speculation of what may or may not be of benefit to US beef.  Boxes began trading lower at mid week and the highest price for April fats was made on Friday from the contract low.  As I write this, the remainder of the cash trade has yet to take place and most will spend the weekend deciphering the on feed report.  Lastly, there remains the "wall" of cattle to be placed this spring.  Interestingly enough, this data is weeks away from having much of an impact.  It won't be until towards the end of April before we know what March placements are.  Then there will still be April and May placements to come before we know whether the $20.00 plus discount in the August thru October are justified. This is a great deal of information to process and then attempt to decipher as to whether bullish, bearish, or neutral.

    Feeder cattle were the market of most interest this week.  For the first time in 2&1/2 years, producers were able to not only receive a higher price in the future, but as well, could lock in a minimum sale floor with an option at an even basis via the feeder cattle index.  I made the recommendation this week to use this newly developing pricing scheme to lock in a minimum sale floor.  For the two remaining spring months, I recommended a synthetic short futures and a bear put spread on the August and out months.  The bear put spread keeps the top side open.  ***These were sales solicitations.***   The wave count suggests the current rally from the March 3 low remains a primary wave 1 of a major wave 3.  The 5th wave of the primary wave 1 extended greatly upon the near limit move this week.  It remains undecided as to whether the primary wave 1 is complete or not. When complete, one should anticipate a 3 wave decline or potentially a sideways range to develop to mark time. 

    Due to the current seasonal tendency to be weaker going into the 2nd week of April, I recommend anticipating the primary wave 2 to materialize.  Once it is complete, a primary wave 3 of major wave 3 will be anticipated.  Many ask how I remain friendly towards feeders with fat cattle futures reflecting a price that is not advantageous.  My answer is, few anticipate a 20% decline in cash.  Any break less than 20% continues to suggest a few more dollar could be bid for feeder cattle inventory.  Then, buy some strange miraculous event, cash remained above $115.00, quite a few more dollars could be put on feeder cattle. So, long story short, the discrepancies between fats and feeders, transitional environment, and the Brazilian ordeal is making for a volatile arena. 

    The best description I've heard for the grain market this week was that traders were bloodletting the grains like Sweeny Todd with the last step placing on the leech's to finish the job.  This seems to tell the tale as well as anything. 

    ,.
    Christopher B. Swift is a commodity broker and consultant with Swift Trading Company in Nashville, TN. Mr. Swift authors the daily commentaries "mid day cattle comment" and "Shootin' the Bull" commentary found on his website @ www.shootinthebull.com

    An investment in futures contracts is speculative, involves a high degree of risk and is suitable only for persons who can assume the risk of loss in excess of their margin deposits.  You should carefully consider whether futures trading is appropriate for you in light of your investment experience, trading objectives, financial resources and other relevant circumstances. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

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    Brazilian Government Closes 3 Meat Plants
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    The Brazilian federal government decided to temporarily close three meat processing plants and remove 33 public employees from their jobs on Friday evening, after the Federal Police launched an investigation Friday morning to dismantle a bribery scheme involving sanitary licenses for adulterated products.

    Brazil's president Michel Temer held a meeting with diplomats from Brazil's meat importers yesterday to reassure quality of the country's products and sanitary procedures.

    The Federal Police said on Friday it was investigating federal sanitary inspectors and employees in the food industry for involvement in the scheme, which resulted in releasing meat unfit for consumption. Brazilian processors JBS and BRF are among food companies being investigated.

    Brazil's national beef industry association ABIEC said via press statement that none of the beef producing facilities of its 29 member-companies were cited in the Federal Police investigation.

    BRF's poultry unit located in Mineiros, Goias state, and two meat processing units of Peccin in Jaraguá do Sul (Santa Catarina) and Curitiba (Paraná) were closed, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

    BRF said its unit in Mineiros produces less than 5 percent of the company's total chicken and turkey meat. “The plant is capable of exporting to the most demanding markets in the world, such as Canada, the European Union, Russia and Japan. This means that it follows the different standards stipulated by these countries,” the company said via press statement, adding that the facility has international certifications.

    BRF said the unit was temporarily closed until it can provide information that affirms the safety and quality of the products to the Ministry of Agriculture, “which should happen soon.”

    The government decided to establish a special audit procedure for 21 meat processing units cited in the investigation, according to a written press statement sent on Sunday night.

    Of these 21 processing units mentioned in the investigation, six exported meat in the past 60 days. Further details on countries that received the products, which products were sold and the companies selling have yet to be released, according to the government.

    Federal officials also said that all the exporting units remain open for inspections by importing countries, and that the Ministry of Agriculture will strengthen cooperation with the Federal Police to investigate eventual deviations in the agricultural defense system.

    “The federal government reiterates its confidence in the quality of the national product, which has conquered the consumer and obtained approval from the most demanding markets from the point of view of agricultural inspection and defense,” Temer said via press statement.

    Shares in Brazilian meatpackers tumbled anew after China, a key importer, joined countries placing restrictions on the South American country's $12bn meat exports, in the wake of a corruption scandal involving food safety inspectors.

    Shares in sector leader JBS touched R$9.64 in early deals in Sao Paulo, a drop of 10.0% on the day, and taking to 20% their losses since Brazilian police on Friday raided the company, and a number of rivals, in a probe into alleged bribery of officials charged with investigating meat processing facilities.

    Shares in rival Marfrig dropped 5.9% to R$5.72, taking their two-session losses to 7.9%, while stock in BRF dropped 11.8% to a four-year low of R$32.72, taking their two-session slump to 18.2%.

    Minerva shares touched an eight-month low of R$48.77, down 13.1% on the day, and by 14.9% since news of the scandal broke.

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    Key Countries Suspend Brazilian Meat Imports Due to Scandal
    CME Group
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    The scandal that has affected the Brazilian meat packing and processing industry in recent weeks continued to play out, with a number of key importing countries announcing that they would suspend, curtail or enhance inspections of meat from that country, according to Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

    According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on 17 March, “Brazilian authorities are investigating some of the world’s biggest meatpacking companies for allegedly bribing food & sanitation inspectors to approve sales to domestic and foreign buyers of meats that might otherwise have failed to pass muster.”

    The reason this is such a major issue is because it brings into question the integrity of the food safety inspection a key global producer. The most recent revelations are part of a widening corruption scandal in Brazil, a scandal that has involved some of the most powerful people and companies in Brazil.

    Remember that the Brazilian president was kicked out of office and the previous president has been charged with corruption. In recent years Brazil has emerged as the pre-eminent global supplier of red meat and poultry products, surpassing the United States.

    According to USDA data, exports of Brazilian chicken accounted for almost 40 per cent of the exports from the major supplying countries. China and Hong Kong accounted for 18 per cent of Brazilian chicken exports in 2016 according to USDA numbers.

    The top market by far was Saudi Arabia, followed by UAE, accounting for about a quarter of all Brazilian chicken exports. Similar to the US, Brazil also ships chicken to a number of smaller markets.

    As we noted, Chinese officials at this point have suspended imports of Brazilian red meat and poultry and likely are waiting for more information to become available before they take further steps.

    South Korea also suspended imports from Brazil but more recent reports now indicate that the suspension has been lifted. The challenge for smaller markets is that Brazil represents a critical supply source. According to reports, about 80 per cent of South Korean chicken imports come from Brazil. For countries in the Middle East, Brazilian beef and chicken also represent a critical supply, which may be difficult to replace in the very near term.

    Some Brazilian product may be significantly less expensive than US product or importers in those countries have not developed the relationships that would allow them to easily replace the product.

    In the case of beef, Brazil is the top global supplier, having surpassed both the US and Australia to grab the top stop. Brazil beef exports in 2016 were 1.850 million MT on a carcass weight basis (they are less on a product weight basis as the chart shows).

    Brazil beef exports in 2016 were estimated to be up 9 per cent from the previous year in the latest USDA Post report. This is not an official statistic but matches up with the export data from Brazil.

    The following chart shows the key markets that currently are buying Brazilian beef. China and Hong Kong have emerged as the key destination, which is why the decision by China to suspend imports is critical.

    Brazil also is a key supplier of beef to the Middle East, with Egypt and Iran purchasing over 22 per cent of all Brazilian exports in 2016. The EU has announced it was suspending imports from four facilities, according to Reuters.

    If the scandal widens, we could see EU authorities act more forcefully but for now, officials want to be careful about disrupting trade. 

    Brazil ships relatively little meat to the US. It is our understanding that at this point FSIS has moved to inspect 100 per cent of all Brazilian product at the port of entry. Also Brazilian beef trimmings will be subjected to increased testing for E.coli O157:H7.

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    Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers:
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    Boxed beef cutout values steady to weak on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings. Choice rib, chuck, round and loin cuts steady to weak. Select chuck and round cuts steady to weak. Select rib cuts lower while loin cuts higher. Beef trimmings slightly lower on light demand and offerings.

    The average value of hide and offal for the five days ending Fri, Mar 24, 2017 was estimated at 11.92 per cwt., up 0.07 from last week and  up 0.65 from last year.

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    March USDA Cold Storage Report
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    As of February 28, 2017:
    • Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. 
      • Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 7 percent from the previous month and down 1 percent from last year. 
      • Frozen pork supplies were up 9 percent from the previous month but down 9 percent from last year. 
      • Stocks of pork bellies were up 15 percent from last month but down 74 percent from last year.
    • Total frozen poultry supplies were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 2 percent from a year ago. 
      • Total stocks of chicken were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 2 percent from last year. 
      • Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 12 percent from last month and up 11 percent from February 29, 2016.
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    Analysis of Cold Storage Report
    Daily Livestock Report
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    The latest USDA cold storage report did not present any major surprises but broadly speaking we thought it buttressed the bullish case for beef prices in the very near term.  The total supply of beef, pork, chicken and turkey at the end of February was 2.240 billion pounds, 1.6% less than a year ago but 2.9% higher than the previous month.   The pace of increase in inventory was in line with the five year average.   Normally we would expect cold storage inventories to pull back a bit in March before rising into the spring and early summer.  The seasonal increase in supplies coincides with higher meat production but also the need on part of end users to have more stock on hand as they prepare for an increase in sales. 

    Beef  inventory  in  cold  storage  at  the  end  of  February  was  estimated  at  502.4 million pounds, 0.8% less than a year ago but still about 6% higher than the five year  average.  The main reason we view the beef cold storage numbers as supportive is the pace of stock drawdown in February. Inventories declined by 35.5 million pounds from January levels or 6.6%.  This is far more than we normally see at this time of year.  And inventories declined even as beef supplies continued to increase.  Robust exports, a notable decline in imports and a favorable weather conditions likely all contributed to the larger than expected stock depletion. Inventories in the Middle Atlantic region have been quite large for some time, as end users took advantage of low prices last fall to bolster their freezer hedges.  However, those stocks are quickly being depleted and we expect an even sharper drawdown in March given very high prices for fat trimmings. 

    Total pork in cold storage at the end of the month was 572.0 million pounds, 9% less than a year ago and now 11.3% lower than the five year average.   While the overall supply of pork in cold storage remains below a year ago, the inventory build for the month was a bit higher than what we normally see at this time.  Inventories of pork products increased 9% from the previous month when the five year average increase is around 6%.  Much of this was due to more hams in cold storage in February relative to January levels.  Ham inventories at the end of February were 125.9 million pounds, 32% more than January and now 8.7% more than a year ago.  The five year average inventory build into February is 9%.   High ham prices in January and possibly a slower export pace may have contributed to the increase in ham cold storage stocks.  Current ham prices are notably lower than at the start of the year and we see the increase in ham inventories as somewhat negative for the pork market in the very near term.  Inventories of bellies in cold storage remain extremely low, down 74% from a year ago.  There was no appreciable increase in belly stocks during February, which is not a surprise since belly prices were near record highs.  We should see more bellies go into freezers in March and April, but maybe not enough to bring the stocks to normal levels. 

    Chicken inventories increased 1.5% in February when normally we see a drawdown in stocks during this month.  Breast meat inventories remain burdensome.  The inventory of leg quarters increased 3% from the previous month but remains 13% under the five year average.  Dark meat prices continue to perform well due to robust exports and improved domestic spring demand.

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    Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation:
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    Over the years, the value of 25 bushels of corn has been approximately equal to the price per cwt. for feeder steers.
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    Slaughter Cows & Bulls:
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    Slaughter cows and bulls steady to 2.00 higher. 

    Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Friday was 169.66 -- Up 1.16 from last Friday. 

                     Weight         Colorado         Oklahoma        Alabama 
    Breakers 1100-1600   68.00-72.00    67.00-71.00    61.00-66.00
    Boners    1000-1450   70.00-75.00    67.00-71.00    65.00-71.00
    Lean        1000-1300   65.00-68.00    66.00-69.00    57.00-62.00
    Bulls        1300-2500   84.00-88.00    90.00-95.00    87.00-92.00

                       Confirmed  Week Ago  Year Ago   YTD       Year Ago
    National         7,618         7,652          7,017     36,505      35,960
    S Central       2,033         2,254          1,929     10,860        9,352
    N Central       1,079         1,159             513        4,365        3,559
    East               1,853          1,794         1,983        8,305        9,317
    West              1,294          1,399         1,326        7,156        6,956
    Midwest         1,359         1,046          1,266        5,819        6,776


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    Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection:
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    Total red meat production under Federal inspection for the week ending Saturday, March 25, 2017 was estimated at 997 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 1.6 percent higher than a week ago and 9.5 percent higher than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 2.7 percent higher compared to the previous year.
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    Weekly Hay Reports: "Click" on links for detailed report
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    Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review:
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    The USDA Market News Service reports feed ingredient prices for the week ending March 21, 2017 were mixed. 
    • Soybean Meal was mostly 40 cents to 4.40 lower. Cottonseed Meal was mixed 10.00 lower to 5.00 higher.  Canola Meal was mixed 1.40 lower to 13.60 higher. Linseed Meal was steady to 5.00 lower. Sunflower Meal was steady. 
    • Whole Cottonseed was steady to 2.00 higher, mostly steady.
    • Crude Soybean Oil was 84 points higher. Crude Corn Oil was steady. 
    • Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was mixed 40.00 lower to 21.00 higher, mostly steady. Ruminant Blood Meal was steady to 40.00 higher. Feather Meal was mixed 15.00 lower to 35.00 higher. Menhaden Fishmeal was steady. 
    • Corn Hominy was steady to 10.00 higher. Gluten Feed was steady to 15.00 lower. Corn Gluten Meal was mixed 10.00 lower to 19.00 higher. 
    • Distillers Dried Grain was mixed 9.00 lower to 5.00 higher. 
    • Wheat Middling's were mixed 10.00 lower to 5.00 higher. Wheat millrun was steady to 7.00 higher.
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    5 Year Bullish/Bearish Consensus Charts:
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    The theory behind the "Bullish/Bearish Consensus" indicator is when the public reaches a consensus, they are usually wrong:
    • They get too bullish after prices have risen and too bearish after they have already fallen.
    Because of this tendency, there are often extremes in opinion right before major changes in trend:
    • When the public reaches a bullish extreme, i.e., a great majority thinks prices will keep rising, then prices often decline instead. 
    • And when they become too bearish, then prices tend to rise.
    So when Public Opinion moves above the red dotted line in the chart, it means that compared to other readings over the past year, you're seeing excessive optimism. You also want to look at the absolute level of Opinion, too - if it's at 90%, then there's no question we're seeing an historic level of bullish opinion.  Watch for readings above 80% (or especially 90%) to spot those dangerous times when the public is overly enthusiastic about a commodity.

    Conversely, when Public Opinion moves below the green dotted line, then the public is excessively pessimistic about the commodity's prospects for further gains compared to their opinion over the past year.  Looking for absolute readings under 20% (or especially 10%) often indicates an upturn in the market.

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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Cattle
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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Corn
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    Stock Markets & Economic News:
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    Tuesday marked the first time in 109 trading days that the S&P 500 Index closed down 1% or more. The decline came amid uncertainty over whether Congress would pass a new health care law, concern over the pace of central bank interest rate increases, and anxiety around the reflation trade. Renewed worries about North Korea's pursuit of a more muscular nuclear program appeared to add to investor nerves.

    Existing home sales fell 3.7% in February on a sharp decline in condos and a slight decline in single-family home sales. However, new home sales rose 6.1% in February, as a fall in the median price for new homes seemed to have spurred demand. Weekly jobless claims rose by 15,000 to a seven-week high of 258,000. Durable goods orders rose 1.7% in February. Core capital goods orders fell by 0.1% last month on continued weakness in business investment.

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    U.S. Stocks:
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    "Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the last 12 weeks
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    Looking Ahead:
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    A dry start to the period featuring lingering late-winter chill over the east will give way to increasing chances for rain and mountain snow from the Pacific Coast States into the nation’s mid-section. A cold area of high pressure will slide off the East Coast, allowing a pair of slow-moving disturbances to track from the Pacific Coast into the middle Mississippi Valley. These systems will ultimately slow in response to building high pressure over the upper Midwest, resulting in potentially heavy rain (1 to 4 inches) from the central Gulf Coast into the middle Mississippi Valley, with a secondary swath of moderate to heavy rain (locally more than an inch) from the central High Plains into the Great Lakes and Northeast. Likewise, locally heavy rain and mountain snow will return to the west, though the precipitation will largely bypass the lingering long-term drought areas in the Southwest. 

    The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 28 – April 1 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation over most of the nation, with cooler-than-normal conditions confined to northern New England and drier-than-normal weather limited to California and southern Florida.

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    Packer-Feeder Stand Off
    Cassie Fish -- cassandrafish.com
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    For the first time in a while the packer is making a stand. Putting out lots of rhetoric that boxed beef values are topping, packers have not upped bids this week post-FCE Wednesday sale, instead coolly remaining patient. Even going as far as to say some will be “out of the market” next week entirely.

    Packers have asked some cattle feeders for access to April contracts early and in at least a few cases, the cattle feeder has agreed. It will be one more week of course before the industry has full access to their 307k head of April forward contracted inventory. Supplies of fed cattle are also adequate in Texas and Kansas, so the $126 bid earlier in the week have not budged. Last week’s 5-Area average price was $128.56.

    In the north, bids range from $208-212 with some packers offering stepped down bids by week out through April, once again an indication that the packer, as well as the futures market, are convinced cattle prices will be headed lower soon.

    The full court press is on to stop, what has been an impressive rally in fed cattle prices thus far in 2017, and will stay on for a least a couple of weeks. Of course, packer margins are black currently and the pipeline of beef in the supply chain is still relatively clean. It is the anticipation that this week’s 602k kill will put more beef than the market can bear into the system at the current ‘high’ prices. For perspective, cutout values are back to year ago levels for spot sales.

    The release of USDA’s official weight data yesterday showed steer carcass weights 15 pounds below a year ago, a not-too-subtle reminder, that months of aggressive slaughter have restored a great deal of currentness to the front-end.

    What the market will really come down to will be demand from now into June. If demand continues to be robust and the big sold-ahead position is maintained, that will provide added incentive to grow kills which requires packers to avoid letting their cattle inventories slip. Packers are counting on the increase in market-ready fed cattle supplies in May, but there is no doubt cattle have been pulled forward and there are many April cattle that have already been sold. It will very informative as to how many May cattle die in April.  At the very least, the cattle market is in the best fundamental position in years heading into greater Q2 supplies and that fact ought to cushion the seasonal decline in cattle prices.

    Futures have traded both sides but have been more resilient than anticipated today after yesterday’s sell-off. The spot Apr LC chart shows a flag forming. Obviously, taking out Wednesday’s high portends another leg up. The rest of the contract months will trade much more conservatively but Apr LC’s discount will make it tough to take it down much, unless cash prices collapse. Apr LC will not only likely close higher on the week but has a great chance to close the highest since 2016.

    The big gains in open interest this week is being viewed as potentially bearish. Today’s likely neutral to bullish Cattle-on-Feed report is being ignored.

    Regarding the fiasco in the Brazilian beef packing industry this week, the type of beef that country exports is not the type of beef that the U.S. exports. China and Hong Kong, Brazil’s two biggest customers, will likely seek beef from neighbors Australia and New Zealand, which does have the impact of tightening up the global supply of manufacturing-type boneless beef.

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    Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)
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    Slaughter Cattle:
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    Friday in the Southern Plains and Nebraska trading has been inactive on light demand. In the Western Cornbelt trading has been limited on light to moderate demand. A few live purchases have traded at 133.00. In Colorado trading has been at standstill. Not enough purchases in any feeding region for a market trend. Last week in the Southern Plains live purchases sold mostly at 128.00. In Nebraska live and dressed purchases traded at mostly 131.00 and 210.00, respectively. In Colorado live purchases traded from 126.00-131.00. In the Western Cornbelt live purchases traded from 130.00-132.00 and dressed at 210.00.

    The FCE On-Line Auction offered 3,928 total head on Wednesday with 2,195 head selling from $128.00 to $136.50 per cwt. The weighted average price was $133.35 per cwt.

    Negotiated Sales
    Head count priced today: 11,900
    Weighted avg weight:            867
    Weighted avg net price:   204.36

    Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection:
                                     CATTLE    CALVES  HOGS        SHEEP
    Friday  (est)             114,000      2,000        411,000       5,000
    Week ago (est)         99,000      2,000         430,000       7,000
    Year ago (act)           94,000      1,000         400,000       7,000
    Week to date (est)  577,000    10,000     2,178,000     38,000
    Last Week (est)      556,000    10,000     2,189,000      39,000
    Last Year (act)        528,000      7,000      2,075,000     40,000

    Saturday  (est)          36,000         0              135,000       2,000
    Week ago (est)         32,000         0              146,000       1,000
    Year ago (act)           10,000         0                90,000         0
    Week to date (est) 613,000     10,000     2,313,000     40,000
    Last Week (est)      588,000     10,000     2,335,000     40,000
    Last Year* (act)       538,000      7,000      2,166,000     40,000
    2017 YTD             7,012,000   121,000   27,763,000   444,000
    2016 *YTD           6,635,000   106,000   27,438,000   462,000
    Percent change          5.7%       13.7%            1.2%        -3.8%

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    Americans Eating Less Beef
    FOX News
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    Americans are eating less beef than they did a decade ago, but environmental groups and cattle producers can’t seem to agree on why.

    According to a study published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on Wednesday, Americans' beef consumption decreased by 19 percent between 2005 and 2014. During that time, people in the U.S. also stopped eating as much pork, chicken, shellfish and whole milk-- but not at nearly the same rate of decline as with beef.

    The NRDC also claims that, by eating less beef, Americans prevented the equivalent of 185 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses -- namely, those produced by cattle production -- from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

    “Whether we realize it or not, Americans have been fighting greenhouse gas emissions with their forks,” said Sujatha Bergen, a policy specialist for the NRDC, reports The New York Times.

    However, Bergen admitted that health concerns were probably the reason for the decline in beef consumption, as opposed to consumers’ concerns over the planet.

    The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association seems to disagree with Bergen’s assessment. While they don’t dispute the NRDC’s statistics concerning beef consumption -- the NRDC’s based their research on findings from the Agriculture Department -- they say the drop in beef consumption can be attributed to less beef in the American market.

    Between 2010 and 2013, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association claims they exported more beef than was imported during that time. What’s more, the organization also argue that droughts, higher beef prices (caused by higher feed prices) and Americans’ preference for chicken or pork, is to blame.

    Meanwhile, the consumers themselves seem to agree with both the NRDC and the NCBA.

    In a survey conducted by Mintel in January 2017, over a third of consumers cited price as the reason they ate less beef; another 35 percent said they were eating other proteins; and more than a quarter cited health reasons.

    The NCBA also told The New York Times that the NRDC was “fallacious” to equate the decline in beef with greenhouse emissions.

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    National Grain Summary:
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    Compared to last week, wheat, corn, soybeans, and sorghum were lower.  Although we are anticipating South America to have record corn and soybean production corn demand continues to do well.  U.S. corn prices remain attractive for more export business.  The U.S. and Brazil’s soybean prices are priced close enough that the U.S. continues to see moderate export business.  Wheat supplies in the U.S. remain at their highest in decades, however, this year’s crop ratings for winter wheat in the southwestern Plains were lower than a year ago. 

    Most short-term trends are pointing down with most futures spreads suggesting a bearish commercial outlook.  Weekly export sales for wheat was listed at 20.9 mb (568,300 mt) with 15.4 mb (418,500 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year. Export sales for corn came in at 58.0 mb (1,474,100 mt) with 53.0 mb (1,347,000) for the 2016-2017 marketing year.  Soybeans were at 30.1 mb (818,100 mt) with 27.1 mb (738,200 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year. Weekly export sales for sorghum were at 8.5 mb (215,600 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year.  Wheat was 12 to 45 cents lower. Corn was 2 to 17 cents lower. Sorghum was 16 to 17 cents lower. Soybeans were 5 to 10 cents lower.

    • Corn futures traded steady to fractionally lower on Friday. Since last week, May 17 lost 11 1/4 cents (3.06%) and posted a new low for 2017. In the weekly Commitment of Traders report, as of Tuesday managed money accounts were shown to add 58,089 contracts to their net short position in corn options and futures. This is the largest net short position reported for that group since early January. A Bloomberg survey of analysts has the average estimated corn acreage figure ahead of next Fridays Planting Intentions report at 90.9 million acres. The range was from 89 to 92.5 million acres. Total corn commitments are 83% of the USDA projection for total exports; vs. 66% last year at this point and the five-year average of 79%. Brazil ethanol production for the first half of March is down 28% from the same time in 2016, according to the UNICA.
    • Wheat futures closed the week with losses in MPLS and gains in CHI. Since last Friday, KC dropped 5.62%, CHI lost 2.64% and MPLS was down 2.41%. All wheat acreage is estimated to be 46.1 million acres, according to the average in Bloomberg’s survey of analysts. Satellite imagery firm, Planalytics, released forecasts for winter wheat yield at 48.2 bu/ac, vs. 55.3 bu/ac last year. In CHI wheat options and futures, managed money accounts increas ed their net short position 20,376 contracts; while in KC wheat they reduced their net long position by 10,031 contracts. Total commitments for wheat are 93% of projected exports, behind both last years and the five-year average of 97%. Taiwan purchased 98,200 MT of US milling wheat on Friday. Coceral estimates EU 2017 soft wheat production at 144.8 MMT, which would be up 7% from the previous year. French winter wheat conditions are estimated at 90% good/excellent, down 2% from last week. 
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    Five Year Moving Average - Corn & Wheat:
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    Your Suggestions:
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