The Cattle Range Market Trendlines:
Another strong week for the cattle/beef complex led again by slaughter cattle selling $6.00 per cwt. higher than last Friday at $125.00 per cwt. The market has gained substantial ground and still has upside potential, but no market goes up forever. 2015 is the most recent reminder of that reality.10 Day Market Trendlinelower
10 Day Market Trendlinelower
Change from Previous Day: +2.52%
Change from 10 Days Ago: +12.75%
Change from 60 Days Ago: +20.27%
60 Day Market Trendline
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.
Weekly Market Overview:
National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:
RECEIPTS: Auctions Direct Video/Internet Total
This Week 331,900 51,200 18,200 401,300
This Week 309,800 37,900 9,900 357,600
Last Year 279,900 38,300 8,400 326,600
Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold 2.00 to 6.00 higher with some markets being up to 9.00 higher on some individual weight ranges. Cattle feeders are anxious to refill pens after selling cattle at 125.00 this week; 14.00 higher than just two short weeks ago. Old timers will recall fed cattle moving by leaps and bounds back in the fall of 2003 and they all remember that what goes up usually comes down. Some feedyards are reporting that pens are filling up with those freshly weaned calves from auctions, however there have been some yearlings still out there in the marketplace. In McCook NE on Monday, three loads of 869 lb steers with all the bells and whistles sold at 181.25. Then on Wednesday in Aberdeen SD at Hub City Livestock, a little over two large loads of 932 lb steers sold at a whopping 170.40. Both of those transactions dollared up to just shy of $1600/head and optimism is abound with cheaper feed than in recent years in feedyards.
Some reports of difficulty finding cattle trucks have crept into conversations this week as calf marketings are in full swing now. After last week's sharp drop in temperatures in the mid-section of the country, high winds were being talked about over the weekend and early this week. Reports of down corn in Nebraska and Iowa are a concern tofarmers that still need to get harvest completed. Producers are pondering their next move to get the grain harvested; bale it, windrow and combine it, or just simply graze it. Boxed beef prices continue to rise going into fall and analysts are suggesting that out front meat sales are at higher prices. Choice boxed beef closed today at 208.74; 5.44 higher than last Friday and 20.04 higher than a year ago.
On this report, over 400K total receipts reported this week; the first time since w/e January 13, 2017. That particular week 73.5 percent of the total was attributed to auctions, however this week, 82.7 percent can be attributed to auctions. For the past three weeks, auction receipts averaged 316K; compared to 289K for the previous three year average. Producers continue to find ways to market cattle at higher prices this fall; a welcome sight for the checkbook. The December and February CME Live Cattle futures continue to make new contract highs this week as the Dec was 6.48 higher than last Friday to close at 127.30 and the Feb closed 6.00 higher at 131.75. CME Feeder Cattle futures also continue to push to contract highs as the November closed 4.92 higher than last week at 160.87 while the January contract was 8.52 higher at 161.52. Auction volume this week included 38 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 39 percent heifers.
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
Five Year Moving Average - Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers:
Cattle Futures Summary: Live cattle finished the Friday session with most contracts sharply higher, as Dec gapped $2.575 higher on the open. The market was reacting to the $125 cash trade on Thursday night. Feeder cattle futures were $2.50 to $3.30 higher on the day. The CME feeder cattle index was 52 cents higher at $159.23 on November2. Wholesale beef prices were mixed on Friday afternoon. Choice was up 49 cents at $208.74, with select boxes 8 cents lower at $193.08. Estimated FI cattle slaughter through Saturday is 642,000 head, 25,000 larger than the previous week and 31,000 head above the same week last year. Cash trade finished the week with sales around $125, up $5-6 from the previous week. Spec funds added another 11,645 contracts to their CFTC net long position, taking it to a net position of 120,456 contracts on October 31.
Mexican Feeder Cattle Weekly Import Summary
Receipts EST: 21,000 Week ago Act: 17,609 Year ago Act: 16,438
Compared to last week steer calves and yearlings firm to 2.00 higher. Heifers steady. Trade active, demand good. Supply consisted of steers and spayed heifers weighing 300-700 lbs.
Feeder steers: Medium and large 1&2, 300-400 lbs 185.00-203.00; 400-500 lbs 165.00-185.00; 500-600 lbs 150.00-170.00; 600-700 lbs 145.00-155.00; Medium and large 2&3, 300-400 lbs 177.00-188.00; 400-500 lbs 153.00-170.00; 500-600 lbs 138.00-155.00.
Feeder heifers: Medium and large 1&2, 300-400 lbs 162.00-173.00; 400-500 lbs 152.00-163.00; 500-600 lbs 142.00-153.00.
Selected Auction Reports:
"Click" on individual auction links for complete report
Green Forest Livestock Auction - Green Forest AR
Receipts: 852 Last Week: 849 Year Ago: 1076
Compared to one week earlier, slaughter cows 5.00 to 7.00 lower, slaughter bulls 2.00 to 5.00 lower, feeder steers mostly steady, feeder bulls 8.00 higher, feeder heifers unevenly steady, steer calves 8.00 to 10.00 higher, bull calves 2.00 to 7.00 higher
El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK
Receipts: Last Week: Year Ago:
10,597 6,660 8,037
*** Final report *** Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers traded 2.00-4.00 higher. Steer and heifer calves sold 4.00-7.00 higher. Demand remains good for feeder cattle and for long weaned calves
Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX
Receipts: 2623 Last Week: 2423 Year Ago: 2040
Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers sold 2.00 to 7.00 higher. Trade was active on good demand especially on yearlings weighing over 800 lbs. Fat cattle prices climbed last week sparking demand for heavy yearlings that will finish faster.
Cullman Stockyard - Cullman AL
Receipts: 1173 Last Week: 1046 Year Ago: 1301
Compared to last week: Slaughter cows and bulls sold 2.00 to 4.00 lower. Feeder bulls and steers sold 2.00 to 4.00 higher. Feeder heifers sold 1.00 to 3.00 higher. Replacement cows and pairs sold steady.
Pratt Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction - Pratt, KS
Receipts: 1896 Last Week: 1134 Year Ago: 2729
Compared to last week: Feeder steers no comparable sales, but a firm to higher undertone noted. Feeder heifers 750-900 lbs steady to 4.00 higher on a light test of Medium and Large 1. Not enough steer and heifer calves for a market test.
Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM
Receipts: 5261 Week Ago: 3794 Year Ago: 3908
Compared to last week: Feeder steers under 600 lbs 2.00-4.00 higher except 350-450 lbs steady; no accurate comparison over 600 lbs but calves steady to weak. Heifers under 600 lbs 2.00-3.00 lower; over 600 lb calves steady; no comparison on yearling classes.
Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS
Receipts: 2370 Last Week: 2010 Year Ago: 2636
Compared to last week: Steers 350-1050 lbs higher undertone noted in an extremely limited supply. Heifers 700-950 lbs 2.00-4.00 higher in a limited supply; 700 lbs and under higher undertone noted in a light offering.
Mitchell Livestock Wtd Avg Report - Mitchell SD
Receipts: 3330 Last Week: 5338 Year Ago: 2623
Compared to last week: Steer calves under 650 lbs 5.00 to 10.00 higher, over 650 lbs 2.00 to 3.00 higher. Heifer calves steady to instances of 5.00 higher in a narrow comparison.
Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA
Receipts: 2500 Last Week: 3200 Year Ago: 2100
Compared to last Thursday at the same sale, stocker steers and heifers less than 650 lbs. 1.00-3.00 lower. Feeder cattle more than 650 lbs. 6.00-7.00 higher. Trade active with good demand for yearlings light demand for bawling calves.
Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX
Cattle and Calves: 2923 Week ago: 3683 Year Ago: 2538
Compared to last week: Steer and heifer calves under 700 lbs firm, pre-conditioned value added) kinds 2.00-3.00 higher. Feeder steers and heifers over 600 lbs firm to 2.00 higher. Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady.
Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City OK
Receipts: Last Week: Year Ago:
8,743 6,671 7,179
*** Add Close Updating with actual receipts*** Compared to last week: Feeder steers trading 1.00-9.00 higher, mostly 4.00-8.00 higher. Feeder heifers 3.00-8.00 higher. Steer calves mostly steady to 6.00 higher, instances of 12.00-16.00 higher on calves under 450 lbs.
Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO
Receipts: Last Week: Year Ago:
4,981 4,927 3,595
***CLOSE*** Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves and yearlings 1.00 to 5.00 higher, though a limited offering of yearlings last week for a good comparison. Demand good, supply moderate. The positive Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle futures and Fed Cattle trade
Blue Grass South Livestock Market - Stanford KY
Receipts: 618 Last Week: 579 Year Ago: 635
Compared to last Monday:Feeder steers 2.00-4.00 higher,Feeder heifers steady,Good demand for feeder classes.Slaughter cows and bulls steady with moderate demand for slaughter classes.
Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD
Receipts: 3493 Last Week: 2269 Year Ago: 2243
Compared to last week: Steer and heifers calves too lightly tested last week to make an accurate comparison, however higher undertones were evident. Yearling steers sold mostly steady to 4.00 higher, heifers best comparison was those weighing over 750 lbs 1.00 to 3.00 higher.
Tri-State Livestock Auction Market - McCook NE
Receipts: 2800 Last Week: 3890 Year Ago: 2450
Compared to last week,, steers under 650 lbs were 3.00 - 4.00 lower. Weights over 650 were 1.00 - 2..00 higher. Heifers were steady - 6.00 higher. Demand was good on all weights. Steers accounted for 61 percent and heifers 39 percent of the offering today.
Winter Livestock - La Junta CO...
Receipts: 1400 Last Week: 1621 Year Ago: NA
Total receipts for Mon and Tues sale: 8916 Compared with last Tuesday: Steer and heifer calves too lightly tested for a comparison. Yearling feeder steers and heifers in a light test mostly steady. Slaughter cows and bulls 1.00 to 2.00 lower.
Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE
Receipts: 3480 Last Week: 2816 Year Ago: 3878
Compared to last week steer and heifer calves 450 to 700 lbs sold steady to 4.00 higher. Demand was good from the buyers in the crowd. Around 150 head of slaughter cows and bulls are included in the receipts.
Valentine Livestock Auction Market - Valentine NE
Receipts: 4630 Last week: 4385 Last year: 3442
Compard with last week 450 to 650 lbs steers traded 5.00 to 10.00 higer with the exception of 600 lbs steers 3.00 lower.No comparable offerings for heifers. Demand was good with several buyers today.
Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA
Receipts: 3781 2 Weeks Ago: 1526 Year Ago: 2917
Cattle numbers were up from a year ago as well as two weeks ago. Receipts this week included 69 percent feeder cattle over 600 pounds; ith 73.3 percent steers and 26.7 percent heifers.
Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:
WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts: 489 Week Ago: 55 Year Ago: 986
No comparable sales from last week for a market comparison. Some contacts noted that they are having a hard time finding trucks to haul prospective purchases and some feedlots are running out of empty pens.
AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri)
Compared to last week, 325 lb Holstein steers for March delivery traded steady. Trade slow, demand light. Bulk of Supply consisted of 325 lb Holstein steers. Cattle weighing over 600 lbs totaled 0 percent. Heifers totaled 0 percent.
IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon)
Receipts: 1,565 Last Week: 1,565 Last Year: 870
Compared to the last week: Feeder steers and heifers not tested. Most producers are aggressively harvesting beans these last few week’s. 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.
Eastern Cornbelt Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
This week: 1,664 Last Week: 519 Last Year: 219
Compared to last week: No current FOB delivered cattle for an accurate market test again this week. Supply included 100 percent over 600 lbs; 49 percent heifers.
Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts: 2,880 Last Week 1,741 Last Year 2,984
Compared to last week: No current FOB trades this week for an accurate market ted. Demand moderate to good. Supply consisted of 82 percent over 600 lbs; 32 percent heifers.
Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Receipts: 5,900 Last Week: 1,946 Last Year: 3,654
Compared with last week: Not enough comparable Fob trades for an accurate market test, however a firm undertone is noted. Slaughter cattle prices improved drastically last week and this was a win for the
bulls going into this week.
Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts: 820 Last Week 663 Last Year 235
Compared to last week: No comparable receipts for feeder Steers and heifers. Supply includes 87 percent over 600 lbs and 13 percent heifers. Unless otherwise stated prices are FOB weigh point with a 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 8-12 cent slide on calves and 4-8 cent slide on yearlings from base weights.
New Mexico Feeder Cattle Report (Mon)
Receipts: 1300 Last Week: 600 Year Ago: 307
Compared to last week: Not enough comparable sales of steers or heifers for an adequate market trend. Trade activity was light to moderate on moderate demand. Supply consisted of 71 percent steers
and 29 percent heifers.
Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts: 1595 Last Week: 587 Year Ago: 3100
Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers not well tested,however a higher undertone was noted. Demand very good for feeder cattle this week following the sharp rise in cash slaughter cattle prices.
Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
Receipts: 7,478 Last Week 2,241 Last Year 3,061
Compared to last week: Feeder steers traded mostly 2.00-5.00 higher on limited comparable sale. Feeder heifers no trend trend available for Current FOB trades this week. Receipts this week consisted of 100 percent over 600 lbs and 31 percent heifers.
Texas Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
Receipts: 26,400 Last Week: 16,500 Year Ago: 19,500
Compared to last week: Current FOB sales of steers and heifers sold mostly 2.00 to 7.00 higher. Trade was active on good demand especially on heavier yearlings weighing over 800 lbs.
Extensive U.S. & Canadian Auction Results are available on The Cattle Range
Representative Sales of Cows & Pairs:
El Reno, OK:
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 Heifers 750-825 lbs 4-6 months bred 700.00-950.00; 3-6 yr old 875-1300 lbs 3-6 months bred 875.00-1100.00; 7-10 yr old 1050-1575 lbs 3-7 months bred 700.00-950.00.
Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 2 yr old 975-1050 lb cow w/175-325 lb calf 1350.00-1400.00; pkg 5 yr old 1275 lb black cow w/225 lb calf 1575.00; pkg 7 yr old 1325 lb cow w/250 lb calf 1325.00.
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 1-4 yr old 900-1375 lb cow 4-8 months bred 935.00-1310.00; 5-6 yr old 975-1375 lb cow 4-8 months bred 875.00-1100.00; 7-8 yr old 1100-1175 lb cow 4-8 months bred 950.00-1050.00 per head.
Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 1-8 yr old 850-1100 lb cow w/125-200 lb calf 975.00-1235.00 per head.
Oklahoma City, OK:
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 2-6 yr old 875-1325 lb cow 2-7 months bred 800.00-1160.00; 4-5 yr old 975-1400 lb cow 4-7 months bred, some black, 1260.00-1375.00; 7-10 yr old cow 975-1575 lb cow 1-7 months bred 800.00-1010.00 per head.
Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 2-5 yr old 950-1300 lb some black cows w/100-150 lb calf 1275.00-1350.00 per pair.
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 2-3 yr old 800-925 lb black cow 4-5 months bred 1325.00-1400.00; 2-4 yr old 1000-1275 lb cow 4-7 months bred some black 1600.00-1875.00; 2-6 yr old 1075-1300 lb black cow 3-7 months bred 875.00-1150.00; 5-10+ yr old 1200-1500 lb cow 2-6 months bred 710.00-1000.00; 6-10+ yr old 1200-1350 lb black cow 2-5 months bred 625.00-960.00 per head.
Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 pkg 2 yr old 1000-1025 lb black cow w/300-400 lb calf 1825.00-2150.00 per pair.
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 Young to long solid mouth 835-1700 lb cows 3-8 months bred 850.00-1350.00, per head; middle aged short solid mouth cows 1000-1300 lbs 3-8 months bred 700.00-1075.00, per head; aged 950-1417 lb cows 1-8 months bred 675.00-960.00, per head. First Calf Heifers: 700-900 lb cows 1-8 months bred 700.00-825.00, per head.
Cow/Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 Young 1250-1300 lb cows w/150-550 lb calves 1100.00-1375.00, per pair; aged 1000-1025 lb cows w/150-300 lb calves 800.00-1025.00, per pair.
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2: Young 840-1423 lb cows 1-8 months bred 800.00-1550.00, per head; middle aged 970-1400 lb cows 1-8 months bred 600.00-1050.00, per head; aged 895-1460 lb cows 3-8 months bred 500.00-900.00, per head. First Calf Heifers: 685-865 lb cows 1-6 months bred 775.00-800.00, per head.
Cow/Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2: Young 900-1375 lb cows w/130-400 lb calves 1075.00-1325.00, per pair; middle aged 1000-1300 lb cows w/150-300 lb calves 1025.00-1100.00, per pair; aged 890-1200 lb cows w/70-375 lb calves 800.00-1200.00, per pair.
Bred Cows: Medium and Large 1 3-6 yrs 3rd stage 1175-1365 lbs 1475.00. Medium and Large 1-2 2 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1060-1365 lbs 1060.00-1450.00, 1st stage 1095-1275 lbs 900.00-1125.00; short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1100-1320 lbs 700.00-900.00; broken mouth 2nd stage 1100-1360 lbs 630.00-740.00. Large 1-2 4-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1435-1600 lbs 1000.00-1200.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1400-1520 lbs 750.00-1050.00. Medium and Large 2 3-7 yrs 2nd stage 885-1225 lbs 690.00-950.00. Medium 1-2 2-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 775-1045 lbs 775.00-1100.00, 1st stage 885-1040 lbs 750.00-900.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 800-1050 lbs 500.00-835.00 per head.
Cow/Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 3 yrs to short and solid mouth 1075-1290 lb cows w/175-380 lb calves and several rebred 1300.00-1650.00; broken mouth 1285 lb cow w/210 lb calf 1125.00. Large 1-2 5 yr 1485 lb cow w/175 lb calf and rebred 1250.00. Medium 1-2 4-6 yrs 900-1035 lb cows w/babies to 280 lb calves 1050.00-1350.00; short and solid mouth to aged 850-1050 lb cows w/babies to 200 lb calves 900.00-1100.00 per pair.
Bred Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 2-5 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1115-1375 lbs 1075.00-1410.00, 1st stage 970-1270 lbs 900.00-1100.00; short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1135-1320 lbs 665.00-800.00; broken mouth 2nd stage 1085-1100 lbs 520.00-690.00. Large 1-2 2-5 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1305-1575 lbs 1200.00-1460.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1380-1685 lbs 700.00-950.00. Medium and Large 2 4-5 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage couple 1235-1360 lbs 900.00-950.00. Medium 1-2 2-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 945-1060 lbs 835.00-1000.00, 1st stage 1030 lb indiv. 725.00; broken mouth 2nd stage 1065 lb indiv 460.00. Medium 2 5-7 yrs 2nd stage 865-995 lbs 575.00-700.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 870-1040 lbs 475.00-535.00 per head.
Cow/Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 3 yrs to short and solid mouth 1010-1260 lb cows w/220-380 lb calves 1150.00-1275.00; broken mouth 1115 lb cow w/300 lb calf 1100.00. Large 1-2 short and solid mouth to aged 1400-1500 lb cows w/170-230 lb calves 1075.00-1150.00. Medium and Large 2 broken mouth 1360 lb cow w/baby calf 800.00. Medium 1-2 3 yrs couple 860-875 lb cows w/180-290 lb calves 1150.00-1325.00 per pair.
West Plains, MO:
Bred Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 2-6 yr old 955-1655 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1100.00-1375.00 per head, 1st stage 1000.00-1125.00 per head; 7 yrs to short-solid mouth 1103-1515 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 925.00-1200.00 per head; Broken mouth 1140-1285 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 750.00-950.00 per head. Medium and Large 2 2-7 yr old 832-1290 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 650.00-1025.00 per head; Short-solid to broken mouth 1013-1415 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 600.00-900.00 per head. Medium 2 2 yr old to short-solid mouth 750-1045 lb cows in the 1st-3rd stage 350.00-675.00 per head.
Cow-Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 2-6 yr old 800-1305 lb cows with 100-150 lb calves 1200.00-1350.00 per pair; Short-solid to broken mouth 1130-1385 lb cows, some short-bred, with 150-300 lb calves 950.00-1250.00 per pair. Medium and Large 2 Short-solid mouth 810-995 lb cows with 100-200 lb calves 725.00-850.00 per pair.
La Junta, CO:
Replacement Stock: Medium and Large 1 Young 1200-1370 lbs 1500.00-1675.00, mostly 1525.00-1650.00, couple lots heavy bred 1350-1415 lbs 1700.00; middle age 1115-1325 lbs 1010.00-1125.00; aged short solid mouth 1190-1250 lbs 875.00-960.00, broken mouth 1125-1490 lbs 775.00-910.00. Medium and Large 1-2 Young 965-1275 lbs 1285.00-1460.00.
Cow-Calf pairs: Medium and Large Young 975-1250 lbs with 150-300 lb calves 1425.00-1525.00, couple lots 1225-1275 lbs with 300-350 lb calves 1725.00-1735.00; aged 1300-1650 lbs with 150-300 lb calves 1310.00-1410.00.
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 2-7 year old 850-1250 lb second & third stage 95.00-105.00/1000.00-1100.00, first stage open 68.00-78.00, 7-10 year old second & third stage 54.00-64.00/725.00-825.00 per head.
Cow-Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 3-7 year old 800-1200 lb cow w/100-200 lb calf 1200.00-1300.00, few to 1575.00, w/200-300 lb calf 1400.00-1500.00, 7-10 year old w/100-200 lb calf 850.00-950.00 per pair.
Alberta Beef Producers: Alberta direct cattle sales so far this week saw light trade develop with dressed bids holding steady from Wednesday to Thursday. Dressed sales have been reported from 247.00-250.00 delivered. Initial sales are 12.00 higher than the previous week. Packers are not long bought and are lifting cattle in very timely fashion. Cash to futures basis levels did weaken this week but remain right inline with the five-year average.
Canadian Cattle Prices:
Prices have been converted to U.S. $/CWT. Grades changed to approximate U.S. equivalents
Exchange Rate: Canadian dollar equivalent to $0.7802 U.S. dollars
Prices for the week ending October 27th:
Fed Cattle Market... Cash Takes The Lead
Cassie Fish -- cassandrafish.com
Negotiated fed cattle prices barreled higher again this week, putting on at least another $6 live than last week’s sharply higher prices. Packers aggressively competed to procure the right kind for the right time, as production for holiday items reaches its zenith over the next 5 weeks.
Packers have been quite reluctant to back down fed kills to levels that would be more easily supported. In other words, there are enough market-ready fed cattle available to easily kill more than 485k per week. Market-ready supplies have declined seasonally but the packer has refused to adjust his production schedule, preferring instead to pay up for cattle.
As tends to be the case, futures have led the way, followed by cash and bringing up the rear, the cutout. Packer margins aren’t the only thing that has narrowed this week as the basis has as well. Is this a sign the rally is reaching maturity? It depends. Certainly, seasonally a high near Thanksgiving would be typical but that’s a couple of weeks away.
The more important question is whether cash has topped this week. Were packers able to procure, yesterday and today, the cattle to cover the next two sizable kill weeks on deck? Or in cattle market speak, were there enough to go around? It’s difficult to know at this juncture and it will be a bit clearer when the total trade volume is tallied, but there are fewer captive supplies now than in recent months, so the need to buy in the negotiated market is greater.
As this morning has worn on, packers have indicated they are full and have backed up bids and required time to pick up cattle. But how much of this is a bargaining tactic and how much is factual is unclear. It is certainly understandable that packer will try to slow down the firestorm in cash cattle price advances, as $12 in 2 weeks is a chunk.
CME cattle futures posted daily reversals yesterday but have recovered well today. One only needs to view a weekly chart to see that futures still have upside potential, despite being overbought. Next week may see consolidation of this week’s gains, but until the cash market has clearly topped, this remarkable Q4 rally has yet to culminate.
Feeder Cattle & Stocker Calf Rally
Yearling feeder cattle prices have staged an impressive rally during the last two months, climbing more than $10 per cwt. at a time in the year when prices usually are trending sideways or lower. Calf price, which typically trend lower from late summer into the first half of October, have held steady with a little strength coming in the second half of October.
The spread between yearling and calf prices provides the economic signals for buying calves and moving them to wheat pastures instead of selling the calves directly to feedlots. A lower calf cost relative to yearling value gives pasture programs the “green light”, which delays the timing of when cattle go into feedlots from the fall to late this year or the first half of the following year. Such is the case this year, with Oklahoma City 500-550 pound steer prices only $9 per cwt. premium to 750-800 pound steers this October.
This premium is a few cents less than last October and is the smallest since 2010 and 2011. By comparison, this price spread in October 2014 was $46 per cwt. Within this analytical framework, 2014 was unusual, driven by euphoria about beef prices and slaughter cattle values hitting record-highs which created a scramble to hold onto young cattle for breeding herd rebuilding efforts. That has not been the case this year, with wholesale beef prices down 10% from
2014 and slaughter cattle prices down 20%, due to larger production of beef, as well as pork and poultry.
A factor lifting yearling prices this September has been the structure of the Live Cattle futures market. April and June
2018 Live Cattle contracts have been at big premiums to the current cash market for slaughter cattle, compared to a year ago when April and June 2017 contracts were equal to, or discount to the cash market. This September, the April 2018 Live Cattle futures contract averaged $11.20 over the average prices for slaughter cattle in cash market, basis the 5 market price reported by USDA-AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service). In September 2016, the average for the price difference between April futures and the cash cattle price was $-1.31. In September 2015, the price relationship was $4.41.
Managing cattle price risk over a time frame associated with an extended time on pasture highlights the relationship
between September cash cattle prices and the June futures contract in September. This September, the June 2018 futures contract averaged a $4.66 premium to the cash cattle price in that month. This compares to the same price relationship a year earlier that averaged $-7.77 and two years earlier that averaged $-3.78.
USDA National Retail Beef Report:
Advertised Prices for Beef at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets
This week in beef retail, the Feature Rate decreased by 11.2 percent, the Special Rate fell by 8.1 percent, and the Activity Index posted a 11.5 percent increase. Tenderloins and Filet Mignons saw an increase in price and prevalence as retailers are gearing up for the holiday sales. Cuts from the Loin, Chuck, Brisket, and Ground Beef saw more ad space while cuts from the rib and round saw less. Cattle slaughter under federal inspection increased by 4.1 percent when compared to last week.
Is “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” a Good Thing?
“Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” is back, but is that a good thing?
After a multi-year hiatus, it was announced last week that the check off funded beef promotional program including the “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner,” advertising campaign will return principally via the all-pervasive social media.
The Beef Checkoff is a government-mandated program funded by collecting a dollar on every cow, steer, and bull sold in the US. These dollars are collected from participants throughout the beef value chain including cattle ranchers and used in part to fund their trade organization the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, (NCBA). The funds accumulated are also used for various research, promotional and communication efforts on behalf of beef.
What has actually happened to beef consumption since the program was launched on May 18, 1992?
That year, per capita beef consumption on a boneless equivalent basis equaled 62.4 pounds and in 2015 it was 51.4 pounds or decline of 17.6 percent as reported by the Economic Research Service of the USDA. Per capita consumption is simply a measure of beef produced divided by US population.
Beef demand, as reported by Glynn Tonsor of Kansas State University, is an index combining both consumption and price and may be more accurate than a simple per capita consumption calculation. With 1990 being the base year with an index of 100, 2016 equaled 89.4 or a decline of 10.6 percent although it has shown some increases the last few years.
In 1992, chicken per capita consumption was 46.4 pounds and 62.6 pounds in 2015 or an increase of 34.9 percent. It was during this same time frame that chicken companies began to market and promote their own individual brands.
Thus, we had a government mandated and in part a cattle rancher funded “generic” promotional program for beef versus individual chicken companies’ marketing programs emphasizing their products’ differentiations with the results as shown above.
While it may have been wonderful creative advertising, the “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” campaign did not drive beef consumption increases whereas the individual chicken company marketing programs contributed to increased chicken consumption. So the question must be asked, why should the beef industry support a renewal of a check off funded generic promotional program?
But, wait, there was a beef promotional effort during this time frame that was and is phenomenally successful—the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) program.
As Cattle Buyer’s Weekly reported on October 13, 2017, CAB has had another record year. The program had sales of 1.121 billion pounds in CAB's 39th fiscal year ending September 30. This was a 106 million-pound or 10.4 percent increase over the previous year and part of a two-year, 25 percent growth rate. Encompassing seven of the ten best sales months in CAB history, fiscal 2017 set an 11th consecutive annual sales record, continuing a 13-year streak of year-over-year growth.
The difference between the check-off funded “Beef it’s what’s for dinner” campaign and the CAB effort is that the former is generic and the latter is product specific that developed differentiations for Angus beef not dissimilar to the individual company promoted differentiated chicken products.
Additionally, the smaller niche based beef purveyors have, by definition, promoted their products on their merits rather than generically and have seen various levels of success.
In my view, cattle ranchers have helped fund a failed generic beef promotion effort. A chicken company specific promotional effort emphasizing differentiated products has been successful. Shouldn’t the beef industry major players who control nearly 80 percent of the beef processed and marketed in the United States take a lesson here and develop individual branded marketing and promotional campaigns?
It would be my hope that beef promoted and marketed individually by all the major beef companies competing for the consumer’s attention and dollars would develop campaigns that would drive beef consumption up similar to what happened in the chicken industry.
If a chicken breast is a chicken breast and a beef steak is a beef steak, how come one can be differentiated and sold successfully while the other can only be marketed on its price with no differentiation -- other than the niches and the CAB program?
Photo of the Week:
"Shootin' the Bull" Weekly Analysis:
In my opinion, the wave count continues to unfold as anticipated. The December fats scored new contract highs this week as domestic and export demand continues to exceed most expectations. The intermediate wave 3 target of $130.70 December remains valid and is anticipated to be hit next week. Were this to materialize, I will recommend to lay off all risk for inventory to be marketed through the end of January. For those with cattle due in February, I think what may happen is that you may have completed a correction, but not sure if the price would have had enough time to push back to new highs before the end of February. Therefore, market inventory due in January with the February contract. No, I do not anticipate a bear market after this move higher is complete.
Due to this rally being mostly demand, I am narrowing my considerations down to, what will cause the consumer to slow current rate of discretionary spending? With employment nearly fully vested, and financial status of retirement accounts at their peak, the financial comfort zone felt by many has increased discretionary spending. With slaughter numbers not anticipated to change much after the January time frame, demand will remain the key factor. Lastly, you will be faced with two factors at the anticipated peak of intermediate wave 3. One will be that with the futures roaring, it will be more difficult to want to stifle your sale price. Second, the news will most likely be some of the bullish you've heard all year long. That will make attempting to market into this rally all the more difficult. I will urge you to create your strategies this weekend and have them prepared to execute at the start of next week. Whether correct or incorrect on the top being near $130.70, I do not wish to let this rally go by without having marketed as much inventory as possible and relish the hindsight regardless.
Feeders have lagged the rally in fats. Although new contract highs were made in the feeders as well, the upside target remains quite a ways further than current high. The minor wave count unfolded a little different in the feeders as well. So, even if the feeders don't meet their upside objective of $172.00 on this jaunt, there is a lower target at $163.02 January that would suffice nicely with the December fats at $130.70. Like the fats, I would consider laying off risk on inventory to be marketed thru March. It is not so much that I anticipate a significant price decline as much as it is I am unsure that new highs will be made in this time frame. What could easily happen is a sideways trade for several weeks upon completion of this move at present.
Corn continues to trade in its happy place. The break out is anticipated to be tremendous when it comes. In which direction will be the $64.00 question. At this time, I do not know. What I do know is that there is an undercurrent of demand for commodities. The public has been getting a taste of the wide spread between commodities and equities. Equites at all time historical highs and commodities at multi year lows and just starting to come off the bottoms. Energy has been on the move most recently with new highs for the year in Gasoline and Diesel Fuel. Crude remains a little behind, but were it to close above $53.99, and at this time it appears it will, it will be a new high close for crude since the February of '16 low. Since corn is 50% fuel, it is anticipated to feel some pull from the higher fossil fuels.
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.
Cargill To Develop ‘Birth to Burger’ Tracking
Cargill said it will launch an initiative this month in Canada to test new technologies for tracking cattle with the goal of developing a verified sustainability standard to give consumers more information about the beef they eat.
Called the Cargill Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration pilot, the effort should move the company’s customers -- by the end of 2018 -- a step closer to providing consumers with beef from operations that have been audited from ‘birth to burger’ using an industry developed sustainability standard, Cargill said.
The pilot will include only Canadian cattle, starting with animals processed at Cargill’s High River, Alberta, facility.
Using the Canadian beef industry’s existing radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag system, cattle will be tracked by the Beef Info-Exchange System (BIXS) from the time producers tag them, through processing at Cargill’s High River beef plant. Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) – overseen by the Beef Cattle Research Council and operated with the assistance of provincial cattle organizations – will be the first certification body used to audit cattle producers who choose to participate.
Cattle producers that participate get help to offset the increased costs associated with implementing and running the pilot. McDonald’s Canada, Loblaw Cos. and the Swiss Chalet Rotisserie and Grill restaurant unit of Vaughan, Ontario-based CARA Operations Ltd. are the Cargill customers initially participating in the pilot.
“Consumer research tells us there is a thirst for this type of information," said Gurneesh Bhandal, Cargill’s beef sustainability manager. “Our yearlong 2017-2018 sustainability pilot will help create the infrastructure needed to implement the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s standard in our supply chain, providing our customers and consumers with an increased level of trust in the beef they purchase and eat.”
A variety of technologies will be explored, such as DNA testing and blockchain – a shared, continually reconciled, decentralized Internet database tool – to determine their long-term value, Cargill said. The pilot builds on McDonald’s pioneering beef sustainability effort completed in 2016, in which nearly 9,000 cattle were tracked through the entire supply chain.
U.S. Dollar - 6 Month Chart:
Over the last 5 years, an average of around 10% of U.S. beef production has been exported, making exports an extremely important factor affecting beef and cattle prices. A strong dollar depresses export demand.
Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers:
Boxed beef cutout values firm on Choice and steady on Select on moderate demand and offerings. Select and Choice rib, chuck, round, and loin cuts mostly steady. Beef trimmings moderately to sharply lower on light demand and moderate offerings.
Beef export 2017 sales for the week of 10/26 came in at 16,538 MT, 2.3% lower than last week, but an increase of 125.6% over the same week a year ago.
The average value of hide and offal for the five days ending Fri, Nov 03, 2017 was estimated at 10.05 per cwt., down 0.01 from last week and down 1.65 from last year.
ABC’s ‘Pink Slime’ Woes Continue
The settlement reached in June between ABC News and Beef Products Inc. over the network’s 2012 series of “pink slime” reports, rather than closing the case, seems to have opened a new, vexatious chapter for the network.
AIG Specialty Insurance Co., one of the insurers for ABC’s parent company, Walt Disney Co., has sued the entertainment conglomerate over Disney’s insistence that its settlement with BPI -- which cost Disney $177 million, net of the amounts covered by insurance -- is not, in fact, covered by its policy with AIG.
In a lawsuit filed in the New York state court system, AIG said that its policy specifically excludes coverage for legal claims that allege “malice,” which BPI’s product defamation lawsuit did include, unless the reports in question had a) targeted a “public person” (which in this case would be BPI’s lean finely textured beef product) and b) been OK’d by attorneys ahead of time, which ABC News’ reports were not.
ABC News’ position is that it is unrealistic, not to mention counter to industry standards, for its reports to be regularly vetted by attorneys before being aired.
The court documents outline a series of meetings between AIG and Disney over the summer, seeking to hammer out an agreement. By filing a lawsuit, AIG is seeking to prevent Disney from pursuing coverage from the company through arbitration.
The Pace of Cattle Moving Into Feedlots
The pace of cattle moving into commercial feedlots this year has been brisk, to say the least. In September, feedlot placements were up 13% from the prior September, according to USDA-NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service). This capped off the summer quarter when placements were up 6% from a year earlier, and followed the Spring quarter when placements were up 14%. A continuation of feedlot placements increasing at the rate seen in the summer would result in the highest annual placements of the decade, slightly exceeding the totals of 2010 and 2011.
A respectable leading indicator of monthly feedlot placements has been weekly feeder cattle receipts, tabulated by
USDA-AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) on report published on most Fridays except for some holidays. The four week totals for October came in 6% above the prior October although there was a wide variation in year-over-year comparisons between marketing channels designated within the USDA-AMS report. Three of the four weeks in October registered increases with the biggest increase coming in the first week of the month, but then followed by the only week that was below a year earlier.
The flow of feeder cattle through auction barns represents the bulk of the cattle receipts captured by USDA-AMS report. This October, the flow of feeder cattle through this channel was up 14% from a year earlier. In September, when feedlot placements were up 13 percent, feeder cattle receipts from auctions were up 18% while total feeder cattle marketing receipts were up 11%.
The increase in feeder cattle marketing receipts is composed of more heifers being marketed off of pastures, and probably infers fewer heifers being held for beef cow breeding purposes. Heifer receipts have been above a year earlier in eight of the last nine weeks, and every week during October. The October tally of heifer receipts in the weekly USDA-AMS report shows a 21% increase from October 2016
Calf prices peaked in early 2015, declining to the lowest values since mid-2012 last Fall. This has diminished the incentives to hold heifers for breeding purposes. Strong prices for heavier weight feeder cattle relative to calves that has been feature of cattle markets in recent months also encourages more heifer marketings.
Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation:
Historically, the value of 25 bushels of corn is approximately equal to the price per cwt. for feeder steers.
Slaughter Cows & Bulls:
Slaughter cows and bulls sold mostly 1.00-2.00 lower, with exception of the Southeast being steady to 2.00 higher.
Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Friday was 169.85 -- Up 0.79 from last Friday.
Weight Colorado Oklahoma Alabama
Breakers 1100-1600 56.00-59.00 53.00-56.00 48.00-51.00
Boners 1000-1450 55.00-59.00 53.00-57.00 50.00-55.00
Lean 1000-1300 53.00-56.00 52.00-56.00 44.00-49.00
Bulls 1300-2500 79.00-81.00 76.00-79.00 72.00-77.00
# Head Week Ago Year Ago YTD Year Ago
National 8,312 8,137 8,466 43,538 50,676
S Central 2,658 2,866 2,658 15,477 16,616
N Central 718 561 864 2,000 4,172
East 2,259 2,171 2,318 11,444 12,820
West 1,081 910 960 6,390 8,688
Midwest 1,596 1,629 1,666 8,227 8,380
Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection:
Total red meat production under Federal inspection for the week ending Saturday, November 04, 2017 was estimated at 1049 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service.
This was 0.5 percent higher than a week ago and 0.1 percent lower than a year ago. Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 3.2 percent higher compared to the previous year.
Weekly Hay Reports: "Click" on links for detailed report
Washington - Oregon (Columbia Basin)
Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review:
The USDA reports feed ingredient prices for the week ending October 31, 2017 were mixed.
Soybean Meal was 2.40 to 6.40 lower. Cottonseed Meal was steady. Canola Meal was steady to 7.40 lower. Linseed Meal was steady to 5.00 lower. Sunflower Meal was steady to 5.00 higher.
Whole Cottonseed was steady to 25.00 lower, mostly steady.
Crude Soybean Oil was 7 to 41 points higher. Crude Corn Oil was steady.
Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was steady to 45.00 lower, mostly steady. Ruminant Blood Meal was steady to 50.00 lower. Feather Meal was steady. Menhaden Fishmeal was steady.
Corn Hominy was steady to 13.00 higher, mostly steady. Corn Gluten Feed was steady to 15.00 higher. Corn Gluten Meal was mixed, 5.00 lower to 5.00 higher.
Distillers Dried Grain was steady to 6.00 higher.
Wheat Middlings were steady to 5.00 higher. Wheat millrun was steady to 5.00 higher.
5 Year Bullish/Bearish Consensus Charts:
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 linein 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.
Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Cattle
Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Corn.
Stock Markets & Economic News:
The major indexes were mixed for the week. The large-cap indexes outperformed, and the broad S&P 500 Index managed to extend its string of weekly gains to eight, its best stretch in four years. The small-cap indexes recorded losses, extending a pattern of underperformance that has been in place for a month. On a sector basis, technology, energy, and the small real estate segment led the gains within the S&P 500, while materials and consumer discretionary shares lagged.
The week continued to be an active one for third-quarter earnings reports, with firms representing nearly one-quarter of the S&P 500’s market capitalization reporting results. On Thursday evening, Apple, the largest firm by market capitalization, reported results that generally exceeded analysts' expectations, providing a particular boost to the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index on Friday morning. Analysts polled by data and analytics firm FactSet continue to expect an overall slowdown in earnings growth in the third quarter, however, with profits for the S&P 500 rising by roughly 6% on a year-over-year basis, as compared with double-digit gains in the first half of 2017. Many observers expect earnings to pick up as hurricane-related disruptions recede.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 125.9 in October from an upwardly revised 120.6 in September. That’s the best reading since Dec. 2000.
New Grading Systems
Daily Livestock Report
A topic of news and discussion last week were USDA Quality Grade Standards for both pork and beef. Standardized grades facilitate market transactions between buyers and sellers. Price differentiation between grades provides market signals to primary producers regarding consumer desires. Many research projects and consumer surveys show that quality characteristics (e.g., taste, tenderness) of meat products are important.
The Quality Grade value differences are apparent for the long established U.S. beef, those grade-related categories are Prime, Branded, Choice, and Select. The increasing proportion of Choice beef produced, largely due to price incentives, is shown in the second graphic. Most steer and heifer carcass receive a USDA Quality Grade, even though the system is for-fee and voluntary.
On October 23rd, AMS proposed revisions and requested comments on pork grading standards. Per the full notice in the Federal Register, “In contrast to decades past, modern consumers have shifted away from prioritizing leanness as the primary attribute in selecting pork for purchase. Instead, today's consumers seek high quality marbling (fat streaking within the cut of meat) for superior taste. In addition, consumers are increasingly demanding consistency in pork products in terms of other quality attributes, in particular in color of the lean.” AMS has proposed pork quality grade nomenclature like that of beef, that is, grades of Prime, Choice, and Select. If implemented, those standards will be based on lean meat color and marbling.
Turning to the U.S. beef news, late last week quality grade rumors and questions began to reverberate to the extent that some packers espoused a “sky is falling” perspective to buyers. The AMS Quality Assessment Division, which is in charge of animal grading, Thursday night required a recalibration of the software used with rather newly purchased and installed objective measurement camera systems.
Only nine packing plants had the new systems and no other U.S plants were impacted. AMS experts and their in-plant inspectors have strict protocols to monitor and evaluate all aspects of grading. Those evaluations showed that carcasses in just those nine plants were receiving higher Quality Grades than they should have. Hence, the required overnight software adjustments. Our assessment is that for the plants involved there was some uncertainty on Friday, but any broad market impacts were minimized.
"Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the last 12 weeks
Looking Ahead: During the upcoming 5-day period (November 2-6), a potent Pacific storm should drop decent precipitation (1-5 inches) on most of the Northwest, southward into central California and the Sierra Nevada, and eastward into parts of the central and northern Rockies. Light to moderate precipitation is expected in the lower Mississippi Valley northeastward into the eastern Great Lakes region and western New England. Little or no precipitation should occur in the Southwest, central and southern Plains, and the Southeast. 5-day temperatures will average well above-normal across most of the lower 48 States except for subnormal readings in the Far West and across the northern thirds of the Rockies and Plains and the upper Midwest. Well below-normal temperatures are expected in Montana and North Dakota.
During the 6-10 day period (November 7-11), odds favor above-median precipitation along the Pacific Northwest Coast, from the middle Mississippi and Ohio Valleys eastward into the Northeast, and northern Alaska. Probabilities for below median precipitation are greatest in the Great Basin, northern Rockies and Plains, upper Midwest, along the Gulf Coast States, and southern Alaska. Above-normal temperatures are likely from the Four Corners region eastward to the southern and middle Atlantic regions and in western and northern Alaska while a tilt toward subnormal temperatures were found in the southeastern Alaskan Panhandle, the Far West, and across the northern thirds of the Rockies, Plains, and Midwest
Rethinking Fed Cattle Trading
Ag Center Cattle Report
The current fed cattle market is a combination of old school legacy systems and modifications – the modifications mainly the addition of formula cattle or negotiated grids for a certain beef plant. Because most of the protocols for the current system of trading fed cattle were developed 50 years ago, little has changed, and new technologies, primarily introduced with the advent of the internet, have been overlooked or largely ignored. The cattle industry, like some legislation, should have sunset laws providing for practices common in the trade to expire after a certain number of years and rethought upon renewal.
The online fed cattle exchange was an attempt to change, with good intentions and promising results, but it has failed to attract a sufficient volume of cattle to make it meaningful in today’s marketplace. Without the volume, packers are unwilling to disclose or consummate trades at mid week for fear those price signals might disrupt later week prices. The best bid this past week was $111.
It is always fun and sometimes useful to shake things up and imagine a newly configured trading platform using the internet for connectivity and a web site for daily trade matching and the protocols for electronic settlement and clearings following delivery. One common thread shared by feedlots and processing plants is the desire to move away from one price point late Friday – setting the prices for the entire weekly slaughter cattle. Finding price points daily in the same manner as price discovery in the futures market is an advantage to all market participants.
Enlarging the options to sell to include grid and forward contracts also would introduce new advantages and transparent markets. Assume each Monday morning, the week would start with no committed or formula cattle but the entire fed cattle offerings seeking a price point for next week’s delivery or a specified future delivery period. Who would benefit and who would be harmed in this open platform trading? Many formula sellers operate under the illusions they are getting premium pricing because they are special. More often, the premiums delivered on the grid are a result of better cattle or improved carcass yield from the feedlot location near the plant. Those relationships and price points would likely continue. Packers might be fearful their cattle cost might increase but online centralized trading provides each buyer the opportunity to find the best price offer at any given point in time. In the legacy system we have today, best buyer does not always find best seller, resulting in poorer pricing for both.
The beauty of a reconfigured marketplace is the inexhaustible options open to buyers and sellers. Cattle could be forward priced, allowing each seller to match to the best available basis calculating freight from GPS locations. Grid options would match types of cattle with plant needs allowing each plant to buy for cutability or quality grade by paying different premiums for the carcass characteristics desired. Most importantly, a transparent market would be available to all participants while protecting proprietary data.
Finally, trade standards would be part of each transaction, allowing settlement and clearing to be standardized and the exchange of cattle for money settled with electronic transfers in collected funds according to terms of a smart contract. The day of checks and wires is yesterday. Delivery periods for all transactions would be specified and basis prices could be priced using futures Exchange interfaces. All of the tools necessary for this configuration exist today and examples are observable in other markets. Innovation in our marketplace should be a priority for a thriving beef industry.
Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)
The FCE On-Line Auction offered 1,515 head on Wednesday with 274 head sold @ weighted average price $ 120.00.
CATTLE CALVES HOGS SHEEP
Friday (est 112,000 2,000 454,000 7,000
Week ago (est) 103,000 2,000 457,000 7,000
Year ago (act) 110,000 3,000 436,000 7,000
Week to date (est) 579,000 10,000 2,285,000 38,000
Last Week (est) 567,000 10,000 2,326,000 38,000
Last Year (act) 568,000 11,000 2,226,000 40,000
Saturday (est 63,000 0 168,000 0
Week ago (est) 50,000 0 200,000 0
Year ago (act) 43,000 0 306,000 0
Week to date (est) 642,000 10,000 2,453,000 38,000
Last Week (est) 617,000 10,000 2,526,000 38,000
Last Year* (act) 611,000 10,000 2,532,000 40,000
2017 YTD 26,829,00 422,000 101,164,000 1,618,000
2016 *YTD 25,401,00 394,000 98,502,000 1,691,000
Percent change 5.6% 7.2% 2.7% -4.3%
Slaughter Weight Trends
One of the dominant annual trends in livestock and poultry industries is heavier slaughter weight. Regarding cattle (steers), annual Federally Inspected (FI) carcass (dressed) weight increased over 130 pounds (17%) in the 24-years from 1992-2016. That is an annual average gain of 5.5 pounds (0.7%). In 2017, FI steer carcass weight is projected to drop year-over-year by 13-14 pounds. As we have said in the newsletter before, throughout 2017, the year-over-year declines in fed cattle weight have been caused by the market structure, which has pulled animals through the feedlot phase rather quickly. That is unusual.
On Thursday, the actual weekly data (reported by USDA-AMS and compiled by USDA-NASS from all FI packing plants), was released for the week ending October 21st. The latest report is available here. Based on the data available so far, October’s cattle dressed weights for the month will be lower than expected. For the latest week of data, the dressed steer weight was 899-pounds, down 16-pounds from a year ago. Overall, cattle (steer, heifer, cow, and bull) slaughter weight declined 15 pounds compared to 2016’s.
Returning to the longer-term, don’t assume the decades-long trend of heavier slaughter weights has ended. However, the rate of growth could moderate. Over the years, economic forces, genetic improvements, and modern management systems have all contributed to bigger carcasses.
Weekly Corn Crop Condition Report:
National Grain Summary:
Compared to last week, bids for grain were mixed, with soybeans trading higher. Harvest made progress throughout the past week, with NASS’s Crop Progress Report for the week-ending October 29th showing corn harvest as 54 percent complete, 16 points higher than the previous week; however, this number is still 18 points behind the average. Soybean harvest is closely aligned with the average, coming in at 83 percent complete, only 1 point behind the average. Weekly export sales and shipments for wheat totaled 12.8 mb and 13.9, respectively. Both of these numbers are below the previous year and may be viewed as neutral-to-bearish for wheat. Export sales for corn totaled 35.5 mb and shipments totaled 23.6 mb, both lower than last year. These numbers may be viewed as bearish for corn. Export sales for soybeans totaled 72.8 mb, with shipments at 98.8 mb, which may be viewed as netural-to-bearish for soybeans. Wheat was mixed, from 17 3/4 cents lower to 22 1/2 cents higher. Corn was mixed, from 14 cents lower to 8 cents higher. Sorghum was steady. Soybeans were from 7 3/4 to 27 3/4 cents higher.
Corn futures closed Friday with 1-2 1/4 cent losses in most contracts, as Dec was down a half cent on the week. The USDA announced another private export sale of 102,400 MT to Mexico, with 135,000 MT sold to South Korea all for 17/18 delivery through their daily reporting system. They also reported a sale of 251,000 MT of grain sorghum for 17/18 delivery to Unknown Destinations. The Commitment of Traders report on Friday showed spec funds adding 28,369 contracts to their net short position in corn futures and options. That position stood at -202,763 contracts as of last Tuesday. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimates that the Argentina corn crop is 33.9% planted. The Argentine Ag Ministry projects the 17/18 corn crop to hit 51 MMT, well above the USDA’s 42 MMT estimate. Brazil’s first season corn crop is estimated at 49% planted by AgRural, lagging the average of 51%.
Wheat futures showed losses of up to 2 cents in most CBT contracts, as KC and MPLS were 1-2 cents in the green. A private export sale of 300,000 MT of wheat for 17/18 shipment to Iraq was reported through the USDA’s daily reporting system. That partially confirms reports that Iraq agreed to purchase nearly 450,000 MT of US wheat in a direct purchase deal on Thursday. The 17/18 Argentine wheat crop is expected to be 18 MMT, according to the country’s Ag Ministry, vs. the USDA’s 17.5 MMT. Money managers in Chicago wheat futures and options added another 26,910 contracts to their net short position, taking it to 110,876 contracts. In KC wheat futures and options, they added 10,553 contracts to their net short position of 21,393 contracts in the week ending October 31. That is their most bearish position reported since mid-August 2016.
Five Year Moving Average - Corn & Wheat:
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