The Cattle Range Home Page 
Weekly Market Summary 
For the week ending November 24, 2017

The Cattle Range Market Trendlines:

Limited trade this week resulted in limited change.  Overall, the market tilted toward the bullish side.

10 Day Market Trendline

Change from Previous Day: +0.26% 
  Change from 10 Days Ago: -3.66% 
  Change from 60 Days Ago: +7.83%

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:

On-Line Store

National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:

RECEIPTS:  Auctions   Direct  Video/Internet   Total 
This Week       89,800     11,500            600         101,900 
Last Week     320,200     26,600         2,200         349,000 
Last Year         95,900     27,500       22,700         146,100
Compared to last week, feeder cattle and calf markets were not well tested nationwide due to limited marketing during the Thanksgiving holiday week.  Some auctions did hold specials on Monday and Tuesday this week, however their receipts were not up to par with last years.  Demand was high at Green City, MO on Tuesday for their annual Thanksgiving Yearling Special with near 2,000 head of top quality yearlings on offer.  The "market" has pulled back a bit in the past couple weeks however load lots on offer held a certain unrestrained optimism.
Stock at that auction went mostly to repeat buyers who know firsthand how well those cattle perform in the feedyard.  A load of 828 lb steers sold at 164.50 and another full load of 878 lb steers sold at 162.25.  Last year at the same sale, a load of 818 lb steers sold at 139.00... 25.00 per cwt difference or around $200 per head.  Their calf special scheduled for today is estimating 3,000 head on the consignment sheet.  Oklahoma City National Stockyards on Monday sold over 7,000 head of stock with only steers under 450 lbs being called higher.
Even though feeder cattle receipts hit a speed bump this Thanksgiving week, fed cattle marketing in the 5-Area this week did top 70,000 for a holiday week.  Fed cattle traded 1.00 lower in the Southern Plains at 118.00, while the Northern Plains dressed sales were mostly steady at 188.00-190.00.  Compared to last Friday's close, the front five Live Cattle contracts were from 0.28 lower to 0.83 higher, with the deferred contracts being on the positive side.  For the same time period, Feeder Cattle futures were from 1.35 to 1.65 higher. Choice boxed beef values took a dip last Friday, however have bounced back this week to close at 210.99, 3.75 higher than last Friday's close.  Auction volume this week included 39 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.

 Stocker Steers:

Insufficient sales reports to calculate valid averages


Feeder Steers:

Insufficient sales reports to calculate valid averages

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 futures saw losses of 47.5 to 90 cents. Feeder cattle futures were down 57.5 to 65 cents on Friday. The CME feeder cattle index on November 23 was down 78 cents to $155.36. Wholesale boxed beef were mixed on Friday afternoon. Choice was up $1.98 at $210.99, with select down 79 cents at $187.85. The USDA reported estimated FI slaughter at 572,000 head through Saturday, 23,000 head above last year. Beef export sales for 2017 of 9,276 MT were reported for the week during November 16, with 1,147 MT in 2018 sales. Shipments rose 9.89% to 17,408 MT, which is 6.52% lower than this time last year.

Mexican Feeder Cattle Weekly Import Summary

Receipts EST: 12,400 Week ago Act: 28,791 Year ago Act: 11,792


Compared to last week steer calves under 500 lbs. 3.00 to 8.00 lower. Calves and yearlings over 500 lbs steady to 5.00 lower. 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 175.00-190.00; 400-500 lbs 160.00-170.00; 500-600 lbs 145.00-160.00; 600-700 lbs 135.00-145.00; Medium and large 2&3, 300-400 lbs 160.00-175.00; 400-500 lbs 145.00-155.00; 500-600 lbs 130.00-145.00.


Feeder heifers: Medium and large 1&2, 300-400 lbs 155.00-165.00; 400-500 lbs 145.00-155.00; 500-600 lbs 135.00-145.00. 

Selected Auction Reports: 

"Click" on individual auction links for complete report


Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City, OK 
   Receipts           Week Ago        Year Ago 
     7,170                10,818              6,020 
7,170(100%)     10,818(100%)   6,020(100%) 
* Add Close Updating Receipts *** Compared to last week:  Feeder steers trading 2.00-7.00 lower. Feeder heifers are sold with a lower undertone.  Steer calves under 450 lbs 8.00-12.00 higher, over 450 lbs steady to 7.00 lower.   Heifer calves under 450 lbs 1.00-2.00 lower, over 450 lbs 9.00-13.00 lower.  Demand moderate to good.


Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO 
  Receipts           Week Ago           Year Ago 
    9,875                 6,175                 11,484 
9,875(100%)    6,175(100%)      11,484(100%) 
***CLOSE***   Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves steady to 3.00 lower, yearlings 3.00 to 6.00 lower.  Demand moderate, supply heavy.  A good offering  of yearling cattle along with the calves.  Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle futures continued their downward trend, closing sharply lower.


Blue Grass South Livestock Market - Stanford KY 
Receipts:  445    Last Week:  695    Year Ago:  578 
Compared to last Monday:Feeder steers and heifers mostly steady,Good demand for feeder classes.Slaughter cows and bulls 2.00-4.00 higher,Good demand for slaughter classes.


Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD 
Receipts:  1193    Last Week:  2857    Year Ago:  1940 
Compared to last week:  Steers calves mostly 2.00 to 4.00 higher, with instances of 7.00 to 12.00 higher in the 550 to 700 weight steers.  Heifer calves under 550 lbs mostly 2.00 to 3.00 higher, all other weight ranges had no comparison.


Tri-State Livestock Auction Market - McCook NE 
Receipts:  1770    Last Week:  1670    Year Ago:  1050 
Not enough to show a comparison to last week. Steers accounted for 41 percent and heifers 59 percent of the offering today. Demand was good to moderate. Weights over 600 lbs 34 percent of the offering.


Winter Livestock - La Junta CO... 
Receipts:  2232    Last Week:  9930    Year Ago:  2082 
Compared with last Week: Steer calves under 500 lbs 3.00 to 5.00 lower, 500 to 700 lbs 5.00 to 8.00 lower except for a load of fancy 560 lbs steady. Heifer calves under 600 lbs 3.00 to 5.00 lower except for a small lot of 500 lbs steady. Yearling feeder steers and heifers lightly tested.


Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA 
Receipts:  4150    Last Week:  2505    Year Ago:  3730 
Compared to the sale last week: Feeder strs under 550 lbs. mostly 2.00-4.00 higher, feeder strs 550-650 lbs. steady, feeder strs over 650 lbs. mostly 4.00-6.00 higher and feeder hfrs under 500 lbs. mostly 6.00-8.00 higher,


Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:

WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri) 
Receipts: 325      Week Ago: 395     Year Ago: 460 
No comparable sales from last week for a market comparison. Demand was very light this week. Many contacts stated they are taking a break this Thanksgiving week from procuring new lots of direct cattle as most receiving pens are full and availability of true yearlings are tight in the reporting regions.


AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri) 
Confirmed: 0  
Cattle weighing over 600 lbs totaled 0 percent.  Heifers totaled 0 percent. Unless otherwise stated, prices fob shipping point with 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent with 5-10 cent slide on calves, 3-6 cent slide on yearlings from base weight.


Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri) 
Receipts:  4583    Last Week:  4786    Year Ago:  1194 
Compared with last week: steers weak to 4.00 lower; no heifers confirmed. Some of the trade happened before last Fridays cattle on feed report. Sales confirmed on 4500 steers, no heifers and 83 calves for a total of 4583 head compared with 4786 las week and 1194 last year. 


New Mexico Feeder Cattle Report (Mon) 
Confirmed:  0          Week Ago:  1,400       Year Ago: 900  
Compared to last week:  No confirmed sales of feeder steers and Heifers on this short holiday week.  Note:  Feeder cattle prices based on net weights FOB after a 3 percent pencil shrink or equivalent.


Texas Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri) 
Receipts:  6,550    Last Week:  13,600    Year Ago:  22,600 
Compared to last week:  Current FOB sales of steers and heifers sold mostly 1.00 to 5.00 lower on a light holiday week.  Trade activity was light on light to moderate demand.  A bearish cattle on feed report released late last Friday decreased prices and trade activity. 

Representative Sales of Cows & Pairs:


Reported by USDA Market News for the week ending November 24th
  • Oklahoma City, OK: 
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-6 yr old 850-1575 lb cow 1-7 months bred 710.00-1125.00, some to 1160.00; 7-10 yr old 900-1300 lb cow 2-7 months bred 700.00-1100.00 per head. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-9 yr old 875-1500 lb cow w/100-150 lb calf 860.00-1150.00 per pair. 
  • Woodward, OK:
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  4-6 yr old 1150-1225 lb black cow 4-6 months bred 1100.00-1500.00; 7-10 yr old 1150-1400 lb black cow 3-7 months bred 750.00-1100.00; 10+ yr old cow, some black, 4-7 months bred 735.00-900.00 per head. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  4-10 yr old 950-1250 lb black cow w/150-250 lb calf 1400.00-1425.00 per pair. 
  • Roswell, NM:
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 925-1375 lb cows 3-8 months bred 900.00-1300.00, per head; middle aged 960-1620 lb cows 3-8 months bred 725.00-1175.00, per head; aged 910-1430 lb cows 3-8 months bred 500.00-860.00, per head.  First Calf Heifers:  830-1105 lb cows 3-8 months bred 810.00-1000.00, per head. 
    • Cow/Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2:  Young 825-1320 lb cows w/150-350 lb calves 925.00-1125.00, per pair; middle aged indiv 1160 lb cow w/300 lb calf 1025.00, per pair; aged 850-1180 lb cow w/150-250 lb calves 800.00-900.00, per pair.
  • Pratt, KS:
    • First Calf Heifers:  Medium and Large 1 Young 1025-1260 lbs 6-9 months bred 1625.00-1875.00; 955-1150 lbs 3-6 months bred 1550.00-1800.00. Medium and Large 1-2 Young 965-1155 lbs 3-9 months bred 1450.00-1675.00.  Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1 Middle-Aged 1205-1360 lbs 3-6 months bred 1500.00-1600.00.  Medium and Large 1-2 Middle-Aged 1015-1345 lbs 3-6 months bred 1225.00-1475.00; 1085-1230 lbs 1-3 months bred 985.00-1010.00.  Medium and Large 2-3 Aged 985-1435 lbs 3-6 months bred 800.00-950.00; 1180-1315 lbs 1-3 months bred 700.00-800.00.  Medium and Large 3 Aged 1090-1360 lbs 3-6 months bred 620.00-780.00 all per head. 
    • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 1045-1125 lb cow w/175-225 lb calf 1775.00-1800.00.  Middle-Aged 1195-1380 lb cow w/150-275 lb calf 1625.00-1875.00 all per pair. 
  • Springfield, MO:
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1105-1330 lbs 1075.00-1185.00, 1st stage couple 1095-1285 lbs 850.00-950.00; short and solid mouth to aged most 2nd few 3rd stage 1145-1345 lbs 900.00-1050.00. Large 1-2 2-4 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1160-1575 lbs 1125.00-1310.00; short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage couple 1520-1665 lbs 975.00-1100.00. Medium and Large 2  4-6 yrs 1185-1275 lbs 700.00-1085.00; short and solid mouth 2nd stage 1110 lb indiv 600.00. Medium 1-2  3 yr 2nd stage 1020 lb indiv. 925.00 per head. 
    • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Large 1-2  5 yr 1615 lb cow w/145 lb calf 1325.00. Medium and Large 2 broken mouth 1240 lb cow w/160 lb calf 925.00 per pair. 
  • St. Joseph, MO:
    • Bred Cows: Medium and Large 1 (Per Head) 2-4 years old 1017-1408 lbs 3-6 months bred 1525.00-1975.00; 5-8 years old 1234-1285 lbs 3-6 months bred 1900.00-2050.00; >5 years old 1347 lbs 3-6 months bred 1625.00; >8 years old 1600 lbs 3-6 months bred 1500.00.  Medium and Large 1 (per cwt) 2-8 years old 1025 lbs 1-3 months bred 111.00; 2-8 years old 995-1150 lbs 3-6 months bred 89.00-90.00.  Medium and large 1-2 2-4 years old 1053-1079 lbs 3-9 months bred 1400.00-1500.00;  2-8 years old 1088-1295 lbs 1-6 months bred 1200.00-1500.00; 5-8 years old 1133-1800 lbs 3-9 months bred 1100.00-1325.00; >5 years old 1390-1513 lbs 1-6 months bred 1025.00-1250.00; >8 years old 1133-1532 lbs 6-9 months bred 1000.00-1325.00.  Medium and large 1-2 (Per Cwt) 2-8 years old 910-1545 lbs 3-9 months bred 71.00-73.00. Medium and large 2 5-8 years old 1378 lbs 1-3 months bred 950.00; >8 years old 1097-1532 lbs 3-9 months bred 750.00-1050.00. 
    • Cow Calf Pairs: Medium and Large 1 (Per Family) 2-8 years old 1000-1300 lbs cow with 150-300 lb calf 1425.00-1700.00; >8 years old 1200-1300 lbs cow w/ 150-300 lbs calf 1500.00-1525.00; 5-8 years old 1200 lbs cow w/ >300 lb calf 1650.00; >5 year old 1200 lb cow w/ <150 lb calf 1435.00.  Medium and Large 1-2 >8 year old 1100-1350 lb cow w/ 150-300 lbs calf 950.00-1275.00; >8 1300 lb cow 6-9 months bred w/<150 lb calf 875.00.
  • Arkansas:
    • Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 year old 800-1200 lbs second & third stage 102.00-112.00/950.00-1050.00, first stage/open 72.00-82.00, 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 yr old 800-1200 lb cow w/100-200 lb calf 1200.00-1300.00, few to 1725.00; w/200-300 lb calf 1350.00-1450.00; 7-10 yr old w/100-200 lb calf 1025.00-1125.00 per pair.

Canadian Cattle:

Alberta Beef Producers: Alberta direct cattle sales so far this week have seen light trade develop with dressed sales reported on either side of $250.00 delivered. Buyers are not long bought, some cattle that traded this week will be lifted as early as next week. Weighted average steer prices are on track to establish second half highs this week.


Canadian Cattle Prices: 
Prices have been converted to U.S. $/CWT. Grades changed to approximate U.S. equivalents 
Exchange Rate: Canadian dollar equivalent to $0.7838 U.S. dollars


Prices for the week ending November 17th: 


The "Nord Fork" 
Replaces Flankers at Branding

USDA Livestock Slaughter Report

All-Time Monthly Record Highs for Red Meat and Pork Production in October
Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.64 billion pounds in October, up 5 percent from the 4.43 billion pounds produced in October 2016.
  • Beef production, at 2.30 billion pounds, was 4 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.80 million head, up 6 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was down 20 pounds from the previous year, at 1,361 pounds.
  • Veal production totaled 6.4 million pounds, 3 percent below October a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 44,000 head, down 9 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was up 14 pounds from last year, at 251 pounds.
  • Pork production totaled 2.32 billion pounds, up 5 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.0 million head, up 5 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 282 pounds.
  • Lamb and mutton production, at 11.9 million pounds, was up 2 percent from October 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 183,900 head, 1 percent above last year. The average live weight was 129 pounds, up 1 pound from October a year ago.
January to October 2017 commercial red meat production was 43.0 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2016.
Accumulated beef production was up 4 percent from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was up 3 percent from lastyear, and lamb and mutton production was down 4 percent. 

Importance of NAFTA to the Contiguous 48 States 

American Farm Bureau Federation

Importance of NAFTA to the contiguous 48 states during 2016. Data from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service are used to estimate the share of total agricultural exports represented by our NAFTA partners. Viewing NAFTA through the lens of what it means in terms of total agricultural exports will help policymakers, industry stakeholders and Farm Bureau members better understand how much our export markets, and U.S. farm income, relies on an integrated North American agricultural market.


Which States Would be Hit Hardest?

During 2016 $38 billion in U.S. agricultural products were delivered to our NAFTA partners, with approximately $20.3 billion going to Canada and $17.8 billion to Mexico. Already, through September 2017, exports to Mexico are up 6 percent over year-ago levels and total NAFTA exports are up 3 percent.

One would expect the value of agricultural exports to be the highest in areas densely concentrated with agricultural production of grains, oilseeds, livestock, dairy and horticultural products. However, the value of agricultural exports does not communicate the relative importance of NAFTA to each state. To determine the importance of NAFTA to each state the ratio of the total NAFTA export value to the value of total agricultural exports was calculated, Figure 1. 

As identified in figure 1, several states depend heavily on NAFTA as a share of their total export volume. On average, 30 percent of U.S. agricultural exports are delivered to our NAFTA partners. However, during 2016 two-thirds of states had a higher export percentage to NAFTA than the U.S. average. An additional 13 states had more than 50 percent of their agricultural exports go to NAFTA partners.
During 2016, 80 percent of all agricultural exports from Vermont went to NAFTA partners. The top five states in terms of percentage of agricultural exports to NAFTA partners were Vermont, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware and Missouri. These states would be hit the hardest in the event of a NAFTA withdrawal. Of the contiguous 48 states, the least reliant on NAFTA for agricultural exports was Washington at 10 percent.
Share of All Exports to Mexico and Canada
The dependence on Mexico and Canada individually for agricultural exports has an interesting spatial and product-specific disposition. For example, the top exported agricultural products to Mexico are grains and feeds, oilseeds, and livestock products. So it follows then that states with high concentrations of grains and oilseeds and livestock production and in close proximity to shipping routes would rely heavily on Mexico as a trade destination.

As identified in Figure 2, several states depend heavily on Mexico as a destination for the agricultural exports. During 2016, 51 percent of all agricultural exports from Missouri went to Mexico. The top five states in terms of percentage of agricultural exports to Mexico were Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas and Nebraska. Of the contiguous 48 states, the least reliant on Mexico for agricultural exports was Oregon at 2 percent. 
The top exported agricultural products to Canada are horticultural products, grains and feeds, livestock and sugar. States with high concentrations of these products and those located along the northern U.S. border rely heavily on Canada as a trade destination.

As identified in Figure 3, several states depend heavily on Canada as a market for their farm exports. During 2016, 65 percent of all agricultural exports from Delaware went to Canada. The top five states in terms of percentage of agricultural exports to Canada were Delaware, Wyoming, Maine, Vermont and Michigan. Of the contiguous 48 states, the least reliant on Canada for agricultural exports was Louisiana at 1 percent. 
The drumbeat of a NAFTA withdrawal has become louder – despite resistance from U.S. farmers and ranchers and agricultural industry stakeholders. As the rhetoric increases it’s important for policymakers, industry stakeholders and farmers and ranchers to know that every single state in the U.S. benefits from exporting agricultural products to our NAFTA partners. Agriculture is not the only beneficiary. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that nearly 13 million jobs depend on NAFTA, representing approximately 8 percent of the U.S. labor force. As evidenced in Figure 4, jobs that depend on NAFTA are all across rural America. 


 USDA National Retail Beef Report: 

Advertised Prices for Beef at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets



This week in beef retail a Ribeye Roasts continue to hold strong as retailers are hoping consumers will feature beef on their holdiay tables. Choice boxes showed a significat rally as consumers are demanding beef as the primary protien source going into the holiday season.

CPI Index For Meats 

CME Group
Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is based on their surveys of a fixed basket of goods/items. For purchased food items to be consumed at home, they send enumerators to collect meat case prices at a sample of retail outlets. From the limited number of beef, pork, lamb, and veal cuts collected, they publish a CPI index for meats. Also, from the meat cuts, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) calculates a monthly beef and a pork price, both of which use several assumptions.


The CPI index for meats has been rather stable since July of this year, but that index increased from 245 in January of this year to about 255 in October, a gain of 3.8%. Compared to a year ago, the October’s index value has risen by only 1.5%. 

We turn now to the ERS calculations from the data collected to establish the national CPI. ERS makes two beef calculations, one for just Choice beef cuts and the second is All Fresh. The All Fresh calculation includes Select graded beef cuts and some ungraded items along with hamburger. Since July of this year, the All Fresh beef price has declined and has been similar to a year ago. 

The ERS retail pork price has been above 2016’s since July and slipped by 10 cents per pound from September to October (see graphic). ERS also calculates spreads along the marketing chain (i.e.,farm-to-wholesale and wholesale-to-retail), those spread calculations are on the website line highlighted above. Their spreads are tricky to interpret and describe because they use a “retail weight equivalent.”  

The U.S. retail sector is very competitive in seeking customers, but that is not always apparent in data as it is collected for CPI purposes. However, we point out the recent trends in the ERS wholesale-to-retail spread for beef. October’s was down 12.1 cents per pound (retail equivalent) compared to September, a one month drop of 4.3%. Compared to a year earlier, the beef wholesale-to-retail price spread declined by 22.9 cents per pound or by 7.8%. In our assessment, the meat case has been used to attract customers into traditional retail stores.

Photo of the Week:

"Shootin' the Bull" Weekly Analysis:

In my opinion, the cattle market remains skittish of demand and worried about supply.  All the demand news for the past 11 months has not been able to change this attitude.  I believe this is a testament as to the psychological blow the years of '15 & '16 were and financial damage done.  This leads me to anticipate further liquidation of cows and sustained or elevated heifer placement.  At this juncture, were the word to go out that expansion was needed, I feel few would have any interest at all in such.  I don't anticipate 2018 to be much different than 2017 in numbers or attitudes. 


Poor winter weather is anticipated to expose the demand further as carcass weights don't gain or potentially drop and we see the need to go bid for more inventory to meet the demand.  I see little change in the consumer yet.  It appears that discretionary spending remains elevated and with Europe now beginning to show signs of economic healing, demand for all commodity goods are anticipated to inflate.  I have no way to counter the supply bears with facts on demand.  I know the demand could dry up in a flash, but until it does, demand is strong and anticipated to get stronger. 


Feed yards have lost the newly found positive basis created last week on the severity of the decline in feeders.  Having made recommendations last week for feed yards to own the spring feeder cattle options appears to have fallen on deaf ears.  Now that the basis has reversed, and moving adverse towards feed yards, this may spur the basis to move negative faster again. 


Feeders are going to be the market to watch the closest for this spring.  Any hints of a like demand the spring of '18 to the spring of '17 and I would anticipate the spring months to begin pushing into the low $160's in quick fashion.  Although hesitant to say the market is in liquidation, it is certainly curtailing expansion at a sharp pace.  Therefore, bludgeoning numbers are not anticipated again as were chewed through in '17.  As we know that kills can be handled up to 642K head, it doesn't produce much worry about what is coming down the pike. 


Even with the double digit increases in placements, the steadiness of the placements suggests there won't be a group to stack up at any particular time.  Other than this, the wave count remains in a major wave 3 for both fats and feeders.  The intermediate wave 1 of major wave 3 is perceived to have terminated at the contract highs for each respective commodity and contract month.  The current decline is perceived as the intermediate wave 2 of major wave 3. Upon completion of the intermediate wave 2, an intermediate wave 3 of major wave 3 rally will be anticipated.  Were this to materialize as anticipated, the intermediate wave 3 of major wave 3 would have the potential to push feeder prices into the low $170's. 


Corn set new contract lows on the 16th of this month.  It will take a trade above $3.62&1/2 March corn to suggest the termination of this decline.  Since on the weekly chart this all appears as part of the same sideways move that began in '14, it is possible that the sideways move is nearing completion.  A trade above $3.62&1/2 March would lead me to anticipate further upside movement. This may not be as far fetched when looking at crude and gasoline prices as corn is 50% energy. 


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 @


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.

Fed Cattle Market... Stronger Cash & Stronger Futures 

Cassie Fish --
Packers tipped their hand Tuesday, the continuation of big fed kills and good demand inspired packers to replenish fed cattle supplies, even at higher money. CME cattle futures, still very oversold, have reacted to the cash news with triple digit gains in spot Dec and most active Feb.


Cash topped at $120.50 in western Nebraska and traded in a range from $118 to $120.50 for the week. 


When the tabulations are done, it is likely cash will have averaged near or slightly below last week’s $119.35, despite a wobbly start on Monday.


It’s really next week that has garnered traders’ attention. Front end supplies of cattle are just green enough and tight enough in the north, to require more effort on the part of packers to stay covered. Yesterday’s strength indicates that cattle feeders perhaps hold more leverage than realized fully. Cash could be higher next week as packers procure inventory to fill a couple of more weeks of big kills, as the rib pushes to its top the week of December 4th. If cash is higher next week, then upside follow-through in futures seems a cinch.


It really is all about the consecutively large slaughter level during most of 2017, with over 1.4M cattle slaughtered YTD compared to 2016. This week’s kill could hit 575k head, very big for a holiday week and next week is expected to be 640K. A 575k kill would be the 4th largest Thanksgiving kill in 10 years.


Now that the industry has the most cattle on feed since 2012, it’s important to note that kill levels have already been nearing 2012 levels- especially considering some concerns over the packers’ ability to slaughter adequate numbers of cattle in a timely manner. The packing industry pushed its 2017 maximum capacity utilization to the highest percentage since 2008, a 9% increase since the low reached in 2015. Some companies have focused on adding labor and raising wages for over a year to accommodate the growing number of cattle available to slaughter. This strategy has paid off as packing industry profits have risen to record levels in 2017.

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 higher on Choice and lower on Select on light to moderate demand and offerings. Select and Choice chuck and round cuts steady to firm while loin cuts firm to higher. Choice rib cuts firm while Select lower. Beef trimmings sharply lower on light demand and offerings.


The average value of hide and offal for the five days ending Fri, Nov 24, 2017   was estimated at 10.53 per cwt., up 0.11 from last week and down 1.28 from last year.

Cold Storage Report

As of October 31, 2017...
Total red meat supplies in freezers were down 1% from the previous month and down 2% from last year.
  • Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year.
  • Frozen pork supplies were down 3 percent from the previous month and down slightly from last year. 
  • Stocks of pork bellies were up 54 percent from last month and up 58 percent from last year.
  • Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2017 were down 4 percent from the previous month but up 12 percent from a year ago.​
  • Total stocks of chicken were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 12 percent from last year. 
  • Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 20 percent from last month but up 14 percent from October 31, 2016.

Analysis of Cold Storage Report 

Daily Livestock Report
The combined inventory of beef, pork, chicken and turkey at the end of October was 2.430 billion pounds, 5.2% higher than a year ago and 11.5% higher than the five year average. Cold storage inventories have increased at a faster pace than normal in the last three months, in part because of an increase in the supply of chicken that is ending up in storage rather than going into domestic and export channels. Seasonally cold storage stocks peak in October and then some of that inventory is drawn down to fill holiday needs. It will be critical to see how that drawdown progresses this year in order to gauge pipeline supplies and price pressures (either up or down) in Q1.

The inventory of boneless beef at the end of October was 462.3 million pounds, 6.5% less than a year ago but still as much as 12.2% higher than the five year average. Boneless beef stocks increased by 1.7% in October vs. September in line with the level of inventory build that we have seen in recent years. Last year boneless beef stocks rose sharply into year-end, pressuring prices late in Q4 and in early Q1. With more beef production and larger exports it is normal for beef stocks to be higher than the five year average. The reason we see this report as neutral has to do with the fact that the inventory build so far is not very different than the five year average.


The overall inventory of pork products in cold storage at the end of October was 597.3 million pounds, 0.3% lower than last year and 2.8% higher than the five year average. October pork inventories declined 3.4% from September levels, which compares to a 4.7% average drawdown for the last five years. The fact that cold storage numbers have for the most part followed the normal drawdown lead us to view the results of this report as neutral for prices in the short to medium term. Ham inventories normally peak at the end of September and then decline in Q4 to support seasonal demand during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ham inventories at the end of October were 195.5 million pounds, 2.1% higher than a year ago and 5.2% higher than the five year average. 


The stock drawdown in October was 16% compared to an average 18% for the last five years. Pork belly inventories jumped 54% from September levels, an earlier than normal increase in stocks and a very different trajectory than a year ago. Low belly prices in October encouraged packers and processors to put more bellies in the freezer. Normally freezer stocks increase in November and December when slaughter peaks and demand is insufficient to clear the market. However, it appears that the combination of renewed retailer bacon features and the need to hedge Q1 needs has quickly caught up with the belly market. Pork belly prices which were trading in the mid-90s in early October now are priced as high as $145. Boneless loin inventories rose 17% in October compared to an average 4% increase in the past five years. We view this as negative for loin prices in December and early January.


Total chicken inventories were 868.3 million pounds, 11.7% higher than a year ago and 20.4% higher than the five year average. Normally chicken inventories increase in Q4 but the increase this year has outpaced the five year average. Turkey breast market has been well supplied for much of this year and this has kept breast meat prices in check. Due to the weak pricing more turkey breast was put in storage than in previous year, with the breast meat inventory at the end of May up as much as 33% from a year ago and 55% higher than the five year average. However, it appears that the burdensome turkey breast situation is quickly coming to an end. Inventories of turkey breast meat at the end of October were 71 million pounds, down 23.2% from the previous month. Current breast meat stocks are still up 5.9% from last year and 42% from the five year average. Aggressive production cutbacks and slowly improving demand should bolster turkey prices next year.

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:

      # Head  Week Ago Year Ago   YTD    Year Ago 
National   8,275     8,597       7,999      43,004   35,899 
S Central 2,317     2,689       2,114      13,169   10,833 
N Central    611       830           727        7,237     2,933 
East         2,312     2,133       2,387        9,087     9,272 
West        1,226     1,209       1,355        4,838     6,070 
Midwest   1,809     1,736       1,416        8,673     6,791


Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection:

Total red meat production under Federal inspection for the week ending Saturday, November 25, 2017 was estimated at 935.3 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 11.1 percent lower than a week ago and 1.6 percent higher than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 3 percent higher compared to the previous year.

Weekly Hay Reports: "Click" on links for detailed report

Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review:

The USDA reports feed ingredient prices for the week ending November 21, 2017 were mixed. 
  • Soybean Meal was mostly 5.00 to 9.10 higher. Cottonseed Meal was steady to 10.00 higher. Canola Meal was mixed, 9.90 lower to 48.10 higher. Linseed Meal was steady to 10.00 higher. Sunflower Meal was 5.00 to 10.00 higher. 
  • Whole Cottonseed was steady to 5.00 lower.
  • Crude Soybean Oil was 16 to 41 points higher, mostly 16 points higher. Crude Corn Oil was steady.
  • Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was steady to 40.00 higher, mostly steady to 10.00 higher. Ruminant Blood Meal was steady to 45.00 higher with limited comparable sales. Feather Meal was steady. Menhaden Fishmeal was steady. 
  • Corn Hominy was steady to 3.00 lower, mostly steady. Corn Gluten Feed was mixed, 10.00 lower to 5.00 higher. Corn Gluten Meal was steady to 10.00 lower. 
  • Distillers Dried Grain was mostly steady to 5.00 higher. 
  • Wheat Middlings were mixed, 3.00 lower to 10.00 higher. Wheat millrun was steady to 1.00 lower.

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:

Stocks rose in a holiday-shortened week of light trading, bringing the major indexes to new intraday records (U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and closed early Friday). Small-cap stocks, which are typically more volatile, recorded the largest gains. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index also performed especially well, helped by the strong performance of several technology and Internet-related giants, including Facebook, Apple, Alphabet (Google), and The sector received an additional boost from semiconductor maker Marvell Technology Group’s official announcement of plans to acquire smaller rival Cavium. Health care and consumer discretionary stocks were generally strong as well, with the latter helped by favorable forecasts for the extended “Black Friday” shopping season. Financials lagged as longer-term interest rates fell, auguring poorly for bank lending margins.


Energy stocks saw good gains as U.S. crude prices reached a two-year high, following the shutdown of imports from the TransCanada Keystone pipeline. The closure of the pipeline following a leak in South Dakota is expected to reduce deliveries to the U.S. by around 85% through the end of the month. Investors also looked forward to an upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna and the possible announcement of new production cuts by Saudi Arabia. Energy stocks remained the worst performers within the S&P 500 Index for the year to date, however. 


The week’s economic data were mixed, but the firm’s traders noted that a report on strong existing home sales in October appeared to be partly responsible for the market’s strong rise on Tuesday. Weekly jobless claims also remained near historic lows, but October durable goods orders declined 1.2% for the month, falling well short of consensus estimates for a small gain. The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s October 31-November 1 policy meeting, released on Wednesday afternoon, were generally interpreted as “dovish,” with several Fed officials expressing concern about the persistence of below-target inflation.

U.S. Stocks:

Winter Wheat Deteriorates

The condition of the US winter wheat crop deteriorated further, taking it to a below-average rating, amid dryness testing in particular hard red winter wheat areas, expanding their divide to soft red states. 
The US Department of Agriculture, in a much-watched weekly briefing, lowered by 2 points to 52% its rating of the proportion of US winter wheat rated “good” or “excellent”, undercutting market expectations of an unchanged reading. 
The downgrade took the rating well below the 58% figure recorded a year ago, and a five-year average of 54%, on Agrimoney calculations. 
And it reflected further deterioration in many Plains states growing hard red winter wheat, affected by drought, contrasting with improvement in some Midwest areas producing the soft red winter wheat traded in Chicago. 
‘Dry weather prevalent’ 
In the Plains, the rating for Nebraska winter wheat dropped by 7 points to 56%, in a week which USDA scouts said was marked by “limited” rainfall and temperatures which in western areas averaged 6-7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. 
In Oklahoma, the second biggest winter wheat growing state, the rating fell 4 points to 37% 
“Dry weather continued to be prevalent throughout the state,” USDA scouts said, adding that “drought conditions continued to expand. 
“It has been 48 days since the western panhandle has seen at least a quarter-inch of rain in a single day.” 
In Montana, the rating dropped 3 points to 36% of winter wheat seen as good or excellent, amid dryness which has left 42% of topsoil “short” or “very short” of moisture, up from 28% a year ago.

"Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the last 12 weeks


Looking Ahead: The next 5 days (November 22-26) look similar to this past week, with most of the contiguous 48 states expecting little if any precipitation. Marginal relief may come to northern Florida and southeastern Georgia, where up to 1.5 inches of precipitation are forecast, and similar amounts should moisten the dry areas of eastern Maine. Moderate precipitation is also possible in far northwestern Montana and adjacent Idaho, but for the rest of the country, including the vast majority of the Nation’s dry areas, little or no precipitation is anticipated. In addition, the dry weather may be exacerbated by well-above-normal temperatures from the Plains westward to the Pacific Coast. Temperatures are expected to average at least 9 degrees F above normal across the western half of the 48 states, reaching as high as 20 to 24 degrees F in central and northern sections of the Rockies and High Plains, as well as the central Intermountain West.


During the 6-10 day period (November 27- December 1), abnormally light precipitation once again looks to dominate the 48 states. Odds favor below-median precipitation in the Southwest, central and southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains, most of the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley from South Dakota and central Minnesota southward to the Gulf Coast, and throughout the Nation east of the Mississippi River, save part of the northwestern Great Lakes Region. Odds favor above-normal precipitation in North Dakota and Montana, which would bring some needed moisture into the broad areas of D2 and D3 covering much of those states. The warmth observed in the central and western U.S. is expected to spread eastward to cover the entire country west of the Appalachians, though the intensity of the abnormal warmth may modify.



Gathering Data for Cattle on Feed 

Ag Center Cattle Report
The experts who submit guesses on the cattle on feed numbers express the fact that this is far from science or math. No one knows what constitutes an expertise judged sufficient to be considered for inclusion in the list of experts guessing cattle on feed numbers before the official government release. One fact is unassailable. Most of the guesses this past year have been wrong and frequently gross error. The culprit is always the same -- the placement number. 
Calculating the marketing numbers for the past month is straight forward. USDA collects daily slaughter information from all slaughter plants and each submission is divided into steers, heifers, cows and bulls. Gathering the numbers from USDA is uniform and not vulnerable to error. 
Collecting information on placements is much different and involves a complex set of statistical observations combined with voodoo science interpretation. The business of data collection is flawed from the onset. USDA mails out surveys and expects respondents to mail them back -- some do and some do not. Telephone calls are made to some larger feeding companies and the conversations vary and the answers are not subject to confirmation or verification. 
The experts volunteering opinions on the placements use even more questionable methods for substantiating their guesses. Most operate on antedoctal information garnished from traders and feeders. Some take a look at receipts at public livestock auctions -- a useful tool and representative of trend direction if not actual movements. In a premium based futures market, producers often rely more on public auctions to force buyers to pay up so the trading enviroment can influence auction receipts. 
In an internet world ["the internet of things"] mail out surveys might seem silly and they probably are. If the beef industry ever awakens to the value of animal identification, placements on feed will be a by product of every movement and transfer of ownership. Gather data on purchasing and sales price points will be transparent as well as the movements from ranch to wheat field to feedlot to beef plant. Only the names will be missing. The data will be complete and accurate. In today's information releases, it is anybody's guess as to how accurate the data is.

Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)


Closeout projections are for cattle placed on feed by a cattle owner at a commercial feedyard and not for cattle owned by a feedyard and fed at cost or a farmer/feeder utilizing his own feed.
Typical closeout for un-hedged steers sold this week:
  • Placed On Feed 165 days ago = June 12th
  • P/(L) based on the futures when placed on feed:  ($65.03)
Cost of 750 lb. steer delivered @ $153.19 per cwt:        $1,148.93
Feed Cost for 600 lbs. @ $77.41 per cwt:                      $464.46
Interest @ Prime + 2% on cattle cost for 165 days:      $29.86
Interest @ Prime + 2% of the feed cost for 165 days:  $6.04
Total Cost & Expense:                                                      $1,649.29


Sale proceeds: 1,350 lb. steer @ $120.50 per cwt:        $1,626.75


This week's Profit/(Loss) per head:                                ($22.54)


Profit/(Loss) per head for previous week:                    ($2.49)
Change from previous week:                                          -$20.05


Sale price necessary to breakeven:                               $122.07

Projected closeout for steers placed on feed this week:

  • Projected Sale Date @ 165 days on feed = May 8th
Cost of 750 lb. steer delivered @ $157.63 per cwt:        $1,182.23
Feed Cost for 600 lbs. @ $74.25 per cwt:                        $445.50
Interest @ Prime + 2% on cattle cost for 165 days:        $32.07
Interest @ Prime + 2% of the feed cost for 165 days:      $6.04
Total Cost & Expense:                                                        $1,665.83


Sale proceeds: June Futures @ $125.25 per cwt:        $1,690.88


This week's Profit/(Loss) per head:                               $25.04


Profit/(Loss) per head for previous week:                    $32.81
Change from previous week:                                        -$7.77


Sale price necessary to breakeven:                                $123.40


                                 Typical closeout for hedged steers sold this week: ($65.03) 
                                Typical closeout for un-hedged steers sold this week: ($22.54) 
                                 Projected closeout for steers placed on feed this week: $25.04



Slaughter Cattle:

Slaughter Cattle: Friday negotiated cash trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all feeding regions. On Wednesday, in Nebraska, purchases were mostly at 120.00 with a few up to 120.50. A few dressed purchases traded at 190.00. In Colorado on Wednesday, live purchases traded at 120.50. In the Western Cornbelt on Wednesday, live purchases traded mostly at 120.00 with dressed purchases mostly at 190.00. On Tuesday in the Southern Plains live purchases traded at 118.00.


Negotiated Sales: Confirmed: 1,231    Week Ago: 7,670    Year Ago: 1,803


Formula Purchases: Net - Dressed 
HHead count priced today: 24,700 
Weighted avg weight:         889.00 
Weighted avg net price:     191.66


Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection:
                                 CATTLE      CALVES       HOGS      SHEEP 
Friday 1 (est           116,000     2,000       437,000       4,000 
Week ago (est)       118,000    2,000        453,000       8,000 
Year ago (act)        111,000     2,000       430,000        7,000 
Week to date (est) 476,000      8,000    1,817,000     29,000 
Last Week (est)     591,000    10,000    2,311,000     39,000 
Last Year (act)       459,000     9,000    1,766,000      33,000
Saturday  (est          96,000        0            346,000         0 
Week ago (est)        48,000        0            149,000        1,000 
Year ago (act)         90,000        0            386,000         0 
Week to date (est) 572,000     8,000     2,163,000      29,000 
Last Week (est)     639,000   10,000     2,460,000      40,000 
Last Year* (act)     549,000     9,000     2,152,000      33,000 
2017 YTD          28,676,00  450,000 108,259,000 1,727,000 
2016 *YTD         27,194,00  424,000 105,640,000 1,804,000 
Percent change       5.5%        6.0%          2.5%        -4.3%

Cattle Grading Choice Declines

Cattle Grading Choice Declines as percent of Select or Lower Increases.
Larger total beef production, coupled with a tick lower in overall quality grading, boosted the percent of cattle grading Select or lower over the past few weeks. In fact, over the past three reporting weeks, cattle grading Choice declined by 2.8%. This, coupled with seasonal declines on carcasses grading Choice or better, saw total Choice or better beef production decline by nearly 5 million lb. In contrast, beef production in the Select or lower category has grown by 18 million lb., or nearly 19%, throughout the same time frame. 
Larger total cattle slaughter, a relatively current front end of market-ready cattle, normal seasonal declines on carcass grading and minor adjustments to carcass grading instruments all have been noted as contributors to the recent grading declines and subsequent boost in Select beef production. Choice beef production is expected to continue expanding year over year, but subsequent increases may be more modest moving forward.

Weekly Corn Crop Condition Report:

National Grain Summary:

Compared to last week, cash bids for corn, soybeans, and sorghum higher, with wheat trading mixed.  Soybeans rallied today moving into the holiday with the January contract closing 8 cents higher on a relatively quiet day of trading. Soybean prices are staying competitive, with prices at the US gulf remaining much lower than at South American ports.  Another potential reason for the bullish turn today could be due to weather concerns in South America. Daily ethanol production for the week ending November 17th set a new all-time record of 1.074 million barrels per day, with ethanol stocks also increasing 400,000 barrels as well.  Wheat was mixed, from 18 1/2 cents lower to 8 cents higher.  Corn was 8 1/4 to 23 3/4 cents higher.  Sorghum was 16 to 20 cents higher.  Soybeans were 25 1/4 o 36 1/4 cents higher.


Corn futures closed the day with losses of 1 to 2 cents on the limited post-Thanksgiving. This morning's USDA Export Sales report indicated 17/18 sales of 1.08 MMT for the week of November 16. That was an increase of 13.83% over last week, but still lagged this time last year by 34.93%. Japan was the lead buyer at 289,000 MT, as Peru followed with 207,900 MT in purchases. There was an additional 25,500 MT in 18/19 sales. Shipments totaled 695,754 MT during that week. Analysts with AgroConsult estimate the 17/18 Brazil corn crop at 94.4 MMT, down 0.9 MMT from their September projection. That was mainly down due to a smaller first season crop, down 1.3 MMT at 24.8 MMT.


Wheat futures fell 5 to 7 cents in most CBT and KC contracts of Friday, as MPLS was 2 to 4 cents lower. The Weekly Commitment of Traders report will be delayed until Monday. All wheat export sales for the week of November 16 fell well below trader expectations at 199,845 MT. That was a drop of 59.2% from the previous week and 71.9% lower than this week in 2016. Japan was purchased 68,300 MT, with Algeria buying 62,000 MT. Weekly shipments fell to the second lowest total this marketing year at 189,577 MT. Argentina's ag ministry initially estimates the country's 17/18 wheat production number @18 MMT.

Five Year Moving Average - Corn & Wheat:

Your Suggestions:

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Although all information is from sources believed to be accurate & timely, The Cattle Range expressly disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy of any of the contents provided and shall not be liable for decisions or actions taken based on the data/information/opinions contained within.