The Cattle Range Home Page 
Weekly Market Summary 
For the week ending December 1, 2017

The Cattle Range Market Trendlines:

Despite higher cash prices for all classes of cattle this week, significant weakness in dressed beef and cattle futures drove the overall beef/cattle complex lower.  Lower dressed beef during the Christmas season is not surprising while the futures action appears to be as much psychological as due to market fundamentals.

10 Day Market Trendline

Change from Previous Day: -2.56% 
  Change from 10 Days Ago: -0.87% 
  Change from 60 Days Ago: +6.37%

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     257,400     28,500        20,200         306,100 
Last Week       89,800     11,500             600         101,900 
Last Year       275,900     40,100        22,400         338,400
Compared to last week, steers and heifers traded steady to 5.00 higher as most auctions were filled with spring calves making their way to town for the first time.  Most mid-week auctions were in fact looking back two weeks ago due to the Thanksgiving day holiday and they had some catching up to do as receipts were large.  Demand was good to very good for all classes of cattle this week even with many calves coming through the ring right off the cow.


Farmers are finishing up harvest as corn harvested was reported at 95 percent as of November 26.  With the unseasonably warm and dry weather across the country this week, expect that number to get even closer to completion.  Farmers in the Plains states are pretty much done, however Indiana, Ohio and Michigan are the states lagging behind the most.  Some farmers can now turn their attention to their livestock enterprise.  If they still have fences coupled with corn and wheat having bleak outlooks on P&L statements, farmers have shown up to sale barns from the Southern Plains to the Northern Plains this week. Several calf specials are on the calendars for this three week rush before the Christmas holiday. 


Fed cattle harvests have been aggressive this summer and fall as both international and domestic demand for beef have only fueled the packer profitability for over six months now.  Feedyards continue to market cattle in a timely fashion to keep the front-end current supply in check.  December Live cattle futures have been ho-hum the past couple weeks to close today at 117.23, 1.34 lower than last Friday's close.  Feeder Cattle futures lost some momentum a couple weeks ago and have recovered to close today at 150.33, 2.97 lower than a week ago.  Cash fed cattle trade broke out on Thursday.  In the Texas Panhandle, live purchases were 3.00 higher at 121.00.  In Kansas, live purchases were 2.00 to 3.00 higher from 120.00-121.00.  In Nebraska, live purchases were 1.00 higher at 121.00 and dressed purchases were steady at 190.00.  In the Western Cornbelt, live purchases were 1.00 to 2.00 higher from 120.00-122.00, with dressed purchases steady at 190.00.


There were some notable feeder cattle sales throughout the week.  On Monday at the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Auction in Worthing, South Dakota, a load of 926 pound steers sold at 160.50.  Even more remarkable, on Wednesday at the Huss Platte Valley Auction in Kearney, Nebraska, two loads of 920 pound heifers sold at an impressive 161.50.  Both of these sales are just shy of 1500.00 per head.  Choice boxed beef values closed 5.00 lower than last Friday at 205.99.  Select closed as 183.61, with the Choice-Select spread at 22.38.  Auction volume this week included 41 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.

Stocker Steers:


Feeder Steers:


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 posted sharp losses on Friday, with nearby Dec $2.675 lower and Feb limit down. Feeder cattle futures were down 3.275 to $4.25 in most front months. The CME feeder cattle index on November 30 was up 28 cents to $157.20. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Friday afternoon. Choice was up $1.35 at $205.99, with select 60 cents lower at $183.61. Weekly estimated FI slaughter is 649,000 head through Saturday, 33,000 above the same week last year. Cash trade was mostly in the area of $120-121 on the week, which exceeded sales prices from the previous week.

Mexican Feeder Cattle Weekly Import Summary

Receipts EST: 33,000    Week ago Act: 12,127    Year ago Act: 19,797
Compared to last week steer calves and yearlings mostly steady. 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 180.00-192.00; 400-500 lbs 160.00-172.00; 500-600 lbs 143.00-155.00; 600-700 lbs 133.00-145.00;  Medium and large 2&3, 300-400 lbs 165.00-177.00; 400-500 lbs 145.00-157.00; 500-600 lbs 128.00-140.00.
Feeder heifers: Medium and large 1&2, 300-400 lbs 153.00-165.00; 400-500 lbs 143.00-155.00; 500-600 lbs 133.00-145.00. 

Selected Auction Reports: 

"Click" on individual auction links for complete report
Green Forest Livestock Auction - Green Forest AR 
Receipts:  866    Last Week:  0    Year Ago:  794 
No trends available this week due to markets being closed previous week for holiday. Slaughter cows 8 percent, slaughter bulls 2 percent, feeder 90 percent. In the feeder supply, steers made up approximately 9 percent of the run, heifers 31 percent, bulls 50 percent, and replacement cows 10 percent. Feeders over 600lbs. totaled around 16 percent.


El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK 
  Receipts           Last Reported             Year Ago             (11/14/2017) 
   10,311                  14,548                     10,264 
10,311(100%)      14,548(100%)        10,264(100%) 
*** Final report including feeder cattle*** Compared to the last sale two weeks ago:  Feeder steers and heifers sold 2.00-4.00 higher.  Steer calves sold 1.00-3.00 higher, heifer calves traded with a lower undertone.  Demand  good to very good for feeder cattle, moderate to good for calves.


Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX 
Receipts:  2759    Two Weeks Ago:  3237    Year Ago:  2257 
Compared to two weeks ago:  Feeder steers and heifers sold mostly steady to 4.00 higher.  Trade was fairly active on very good demand following the holiday break.  Temperatures continues to be a roller coaster and buyers hesitant on unconditioned calves.


Pratt Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction - Pratt, KS 
Receipts:  6471    Last Sale Nov 16: 3406     Year Ago:  3557 
Compared to a limited test 2 weeks ago: Feeder steers 800-1000 lbs firm, on a light supply of Medium and Large 1. Feeder heifers 700-1000 lbs firm to 5.00 higher on a light test. Steer calves 12.00-18.00 higher and heifer calves firm to 5.00 higher.


Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM 
Receipts:  4550         Two Weeks Ago:  5161         Year Ago:  3474 
Compared to two weeks ago:  Feeder steer and heifers calves sold mostly steady to 4.00 higher.  Yearlings were not well tested.  Trade was active on good demand for calves after the Thanksgiving day holiday.  Slaughter cows sold steady to 2.00 higher. 


Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS 
Receipts:  3112    Last Week: No Sale    Year Ago:  3960 
Compared to last Sales Nov 16: Steers 850-1000 lbs 1.00-8.00 higher in a limited test; 700-850 lbs weak to 4.00 lower; 700 lbs and under higher undertone noted, instance 2.00-6.00 higher. Heifers 600-1000 lbs bulk of the trade 400-5.00 lower, except 700-750 lbs 2.00 higher;  600 lbs and under higher undertone noted.


Mitchell Livestock Wtd Avg Report - Mitchell SD 
Receipts:  4140    Two Weeks Ago:  3740    Year Ago:  5117 
Compared to two weeks ago:  Steer calves 3.00 to 5.00 higher except 600-700 lbs 5.00 to 10.00 higher.  Heifer calves 2.00 to 3.00 higher with instances to 7.00 higher on 450-500 lbs and 600-650 lbs.  Yearling steers 2.00 lower with instances to 5.00 lower, yearling heifers 1.00 to 2.00 lower.


Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX 
Cattle and Calves: 1,886      Two Weeks ago: 2,991      Year Ago:  3,249  
Compared to two weeks ago:  Feeder steers and heifers over 600 lbs firm; steer and heifer calves firm with instances heifers over 500 lbs 2.00-3.00 higher.  Slaughter cows and bulls steady, except instances lean cows 1.00-2.00 higher.  Trade active.


Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City, OK 
Receipts           Week Ago        Year Ago 
  7,074                 7,170               7,946 
7,074(100%)   7,170(100%)   7,946(100%) 
*** Add Close Updating Receipts *** Compared to last week:  Feeder steers 1.00-4.00 higher.  Feeder heifers  trading 3.00-6.00 higher.  Steer and heifer calves mostly steady to 2.00 higher.  Quality average to attractive.


Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO 
 Receipts            Week Ago         Year Ago 
    5,377                 9,875                6,713 
5,377(100%)    9,875(100%)     6,713(100%) 
***CLOSE*** Compared to last week, steer calves sold 2.00 to 5.00 higher with instances 6.00 to 7.00 higher on 500 to 600 lbs calves; a lighter run of yearling steers sold steady to 3.00 higher.  Heifer calves and yearlings sold steady to 3.00 higher.


Blue Grass South Livestock Market - Stanford KY 
Receipts:  543    Last Week:  445    Year Ago:  1359 
Compared to last Monday:Feeder steers and heifers 2.00-4.00 lower,Moderate demand for a mostly plain quality offering.Slaughter cows 2.00-3.00 higher,Slaughter bulls steady,Good demand for slaughter classes.


Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD 
Receipts:  2805    Last Week:  1193    Year Ago:  2677 
Compared to last week’s lighter run:  Steer calves steady to 4.00 higher, heifers steady to 2.00 higher except 550-600 lbs 5.00 to 6.00 higher.  Yearling feeder steers and heifers not well tested last week for comparison.


Tri-State Livestock Auction Market - McCook NE 
Receipts:  1930    Last Week:  1770    Year Ago:  1500 
Compared to last week, 500 - 600 weight steers and heifers were 7.00 higher, not enough to show comparison in the rest of classes. The demand was good on all weights with a higher undertone. Steers accounted for 53 percent and heifers 47 percent of the offering.


Winter Livestock - La Junta CO... 
Receipts:  3543    Last Week:  2232    Year Ago:  2909 
Compared with last Tuesdays lower market: Steer calves under 400 lbs steady, over 400 lbs 5.00 to 8.00 instances 10.00 higher. Heifer calves steady to 2.00 higher except for a load of 590 lb fancy weaned pre conditioned calves 10.00 higher.


Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA 
Receipts:  2200    Last Week:  4150    Year Ago:  3497 
Compared to the sale last week: Feeder strs under 650 lbs. mostly 1.00-2.00 lower, feeder strs over 650 lbs. mostly 3.00-5.00 lower and feeder hfrs mostly 1.00-3.00 lower. Trade Active and Demand Good today.


Denison Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Denison IA 
Receipts: 1878 
Offerings of cattle over 600 pounds was 48.5 percent with 59.7 percent steers and 40.3 percent heifers 


Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE 
Receipts:  4081    Two Weeks Ago:  4616    Year Ago:  4934 
Compared to two weeks ago, 500-700 lbs steers sold steady and 500-700 lbs heifers sold steady to 4.00 higher. Demand was good from the buyers in the crowd. Around 275 head of slaughter cows and bulls are included in the receipts.


Cullman Stockyard - Cullman AL 
Receipts:  1278    Last Week:  000    Year Ago:  1169 
Compared to two weeks ago: Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to 2.00 higher. 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.


Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA 
Receipts:  2550    Last Week:  Holiday    Year Ago:  1900 
Compared to two weeks ago Thursday at the same sale, stocker and feeder cattle steady to 5.00 higher as local feed yards pursue numbers in spite of a lower futures market yesterday. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows and bulls 1.00-5.00 higher. 

Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:


WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri) 
Receipts: 1,808     Week Ago: 325     Year Ago: 962 
No comparable sales from last week for a market comparison. Demand was good this week with several feedlots participating. Nebraska slaughter cattle live sales sold 1.00 higher at 121.00 and dressed sales sold steady at 190.00. 


AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri) 
Confirmed 2785 
No sales to Compare to last week.  Trade and demand moderate.  Supply consisted of Holstein steer for April Delivery weighing 300-325 lbs. Cattle weighing over 600 lbs totaled 0 percent. 


IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon) 
Receipts:  176    Last Report 11/17/17:  0     Last Year:  345 
Compared to the last report:  Feeder steers and heifers not  tested.  Prices based on net weights FOB after a 3 percent shrink or equivalent and 5-10 cent slide on calves and 4-6 cent slide on yearlings from base weights.


Eastern Cornbelt Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri) 
This week: 196      Last Report 11/17/17: 245        Last Year: 427 
Compared to last week:  No current FOB delivered cattle for an accurate market test again this week.  Supply included 100 percent over 600 lbs; 69 percent heifers. 


Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri) 
Receipts: 5,900        Last Report 11/17/17: 1,052          Last Year 1,916  
Compared to last week:  No current FOB trades this week for an accurate market test.  Demand moderate to good.  Supply consisted of 86 percent over 600 lbs; 20 percent heifers. 


Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri) 
Receipts:  2684    Last Week:  4583    Year Ago:  2545 
Compared with last week: Steers bulk of the trade steady, few sales weak to 3.00 lower; not enough heifers for a market test. Sales confirmed on 2540 steers, 144 heifers and no calves for a total of 2684 head compared with 4583 last week and 2545 last year.


Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri) 
Receipts: 397          Last Report 11/17/17: 0       Last Year: 0  
Compared to last week:  No comparable receipts for feeder Steers and heifers.  Supply includes 100 percent over 600 lbs and 0 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:  300    Last Week:  0    Year Ago:  3200 
Compared to last week:  No recent comparable sales for a market trend. Trade activity was slow on light demand.  Supply consisted of 63 percent steers and 37 percent heifers.


Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri) 
Receipts:  630    Last Week:  Thanksgiving    Year Ago:  2300 
Compared to the last report 2 weeks ago:  Feeder steers unevenly steady.  Feeder heifers not well tested.  Demand moderate.  The feeder supply included 89 percent over 600 lbs and 11 percent heifers. 


Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri) 
Receipts: 2,089        Last Week: 648          Last Year 5,657  
Compared to last week:  No trend available for an accurate market trend for feeder steers and heifers due to last week’s shortened holiday week.  Receipts this week consisted of 96 percent over 600 lbs and 32 percent heifers.


Texas Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri) 
Receipts:  12,250    Last Week:  6,550    Year Ago:  27,500 
Compared to last week:  Current FOB sales of steers and heifers sold 1.00 to 5.00 higher as most trades happened early in the week before the CME board declined.  Trade activity was slow to moderate on moderate demand.

Representative Sales of Cows & Pairs:

Reported by USDA Market News for the week ending December 1st
  • Video:
    • Medium and Large 1 West Current-Dec Heifers 950-1150 lbs 4-7 months bred 1300.00-1650.00, Fancy 1725.00-1975.00; Young 1200-1350 lbs 5-7 months bred 2000.00; Middle Aged to Aged 1250-1400 lbs 4-7 months bred 1585.00-1600.00, Fancy 1700.00-2000.00, non-bangs vaccinated 1300.00-1400.00; Aged 1300-1400 lbs 4-7 months bred 1025.00-1310.00 per head.  Medium and Large 1-2 West Current Aged 1400 lbs 4-6 months bred 860.00 per head. 
    • Pairs: Medium and Large 1 West Current Young to Middle Aged 1250 lbs with 175 lb calves 2025.00; Middle Aged 1300-1450 lbs with 190-240 lb calves 1725.00-1850.00; Aged 1400 lbs with 175 lb calves 1600.00 per pair. 
  • El Reno, OK:
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-6 yr old 800-1325 lb cow 2-7 months bred 700.00-1125.00; 3-7 yr old 975-1450 lb cow 4-7 months bred 1250.00-1360.00; 7-10 yr old 900-1450 lb cow 2-7 months bred 700.00-1175.00 per head. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yr old 975-1400 lb cow, some black, w/50-125 lb calf 1225.00-1500.00; 5-8 yr old 1275-1325 lb cow w/50-100 lb calf 1050.00-1175.00 per pair. 
  • McAlester, OK:
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-4 yr old 900-1450 lb cow 4-8 months bred 810.00-1250.00; 5-8 yr old 975-1325 lb cow 4-8 months bred 800.00-1175.00 per head. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-6 yr old 825-1350 lb cow w/125-350 lb calf 1110.00-1275.00; pkg 9-10 yr old 725 lb cow w/325 lb calf 910.00 per pair. 
  • Oklahoma City, OK:
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-4 yr old 725-1375 lb cow 3-7 months bred 750.00-1000.00; 3-6 yr old 1150-1200 lb black cow 5-6 months bred 1250.00-1260.00; 8-10 yr old 1000-1375 lb cow 5-7 months bred 750.00-825.00 per head. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 pkg 3 yr old 1225 lb cow bred back w/150 lb calf 1460.00; 5-10 yr old 1050-1200 lb cow w/100 lb calf 1000.00-1250.00 per pair. 
  • Woodward, OK:
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  4-6 yr old 1200-1325 lb black cow 4-8 months bred 1250.00-1400.00; 4-7 yr old 1050-1375 lb cow 5-8 months bred 960.00-1150.00; 7-10 yr old 1250-1575 lb black cow 4-8 months bred 975.00-1110.00; 10+ yr old 1200-1525 lb black cow 4-8 months bred 735.00-875.00 per pair. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-6 yr old 1250-1325 lb black cow w/150-200 lb calf 1785.00-1950.00 per pair. 
  • Roswell, NM:
    • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 860-1323 lb cows 1-8 months bred 800.00-1335.00, per head; middle aged 942-1405 lb cows 3-8 months bred 725.00-1150.00, per head; aged 845-1510 lb cows 3-8 months bred 585.00-860.00, per head. 
    • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young ind 1000 lb cow w/200 lb calf 1125.00, per pair; aged 850-975 lb cows w/125-225 lb calves 775.00-900.00, per pair. 
  • Bowling Green, MO:
    • Bred Cows: Medium and Large 1  3-6 yrs 1075-1550 lbs mostly black 2nd-3rd stage 1490.00-1650.00.  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 920-1600 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1190.00-1440.00; pkg short solid 1425 lbs 3rd stage 1220.00; few short solid to mostly aged cows 1100-1500 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 850.00-1120.00.
    • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1  3-6 yrs mostly black 1250-1550 lbs w/150-350 lbs calves 1780.00-1990.00 per pair, two lots Red Angus 1250-1300 lbs w/150-200 lb calves 2050.00-2150.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 1000-1600 lbs w/150-300 lb calves 1450.00-1730.00 per pair; 7 yrs to short solid cows 1000-1550 lbs w/150-300 lb calves 1350.00-1450.00 per pair; few short solid to aged cows 1100-1400 lbs w/baby to 250 lb calves 1200.00-1290.00. 
  • Joplin, MO:
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 985-1360 lbs most 1075.00-1425.00, pkg. fancy blacks 3rd stage 1525.00, 1st stage 1070-1275 lbs 960.00-1050.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1075-1365 lbs 725.00-950.00. Large 1-2  4-5 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage couple pkgs. 1400-1575 lbs 1300.00-1475.00; 7 yrs to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1400-1585 lbs 950.00-1050.00. Medium and Large 2  2-6 yrs 2nd stage 850-1085 lb 800.00-1050.00; broken mouth 2nd stage couple 1250-1260 lbs 695.00-785.00. Medium 1-2  3-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 900-1050 lbs 800.00-1125.00, 1st stage 800-885 lbs 850.00-1000.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 920-1025 lbs 525.00-750.00 per head. 
    • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  5-7 yrs 1250-1295 lb cows w/babies to 200 lb calves 1150.00-1475.00. Medium and Large 2  short and solid mouth to aged 1095-1100 lb cows w/baby calves 810.00-1100.00. Medium 1-2  2-4 yrs 835-850 lb cows w/babies to 170 lb calves 850.00-1175.00 per pair. 
  • Springfield, MO:
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yrs most 2nd few 3rd stage 970-1310 lbs 1010.00-1310.00, 1st stage 1360 lb indiv. 910.00; short and solid mouth most 2nd few 3rd stage 1165-1375 lbs 850.00-975.00; broken mouth most 2nd few 3rd stage 1175-1365 lbs 635.00-835.00. Large 1-2  4-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1380-1510 lbs 1000.00-1350.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1380-1570 lbs 810.00-960.00. Medium and Large 2  2-5 yrs 2nd stage 990-1125 lbs 900.00-1000.00; short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1090-1145 lbs 525.00-585.00. Medium 1-2  2-6 yrs 2nd stage 805-1050 lbs 700.00-985.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd stage 930-1055 lbs 580.00-710.00 per head. 
    • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-4 yrs 1140-1275 lb cows w/130-200 lb calves 1275.00-1450.00. Medium and Large 2  4 yrs to short and solid mouth 1105-1305 lb cows w/babies to 140 lb calves 935.00-1100.00. Medium 1-2 broken mouth 940 lb cow w/280 lb calf 975.00 per pair. 
  • West Plains, MO:
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1  2-6 yr old 1040-1294 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1425.00-1650.00 per head.  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yr old 925-1358 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1050.00-1400.00 per head, 1st stage 900.00-1075.00 per head; Short-solid to broken mouth 1035-1465 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 800.00-1050.00 per head.  Medium and Large 2  2-6 yr old 675-1425 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 650.00-1050.00 per head; Short-solid to broken mouth 800-1142 lb cows in the 1st-3rd stage 650.00-800.00 per head.  Large 1  4-6 yr old 1450-1546 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1500.00-1550.00 per head.  Large 1-2  5-7 yr old 1445-1552 lb cows in the 2nd stage 1075.00-1300.00 per head.  Medium 1 Pkg 8 hd 5 yr old 1124 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1400.00 per head.Medium 1-2  3-7 yr old 977-1300 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1025.00-1250.00 per head, 1st stage 900.00 per head. 
    • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1  3-6 yr old 1294-1317 lb cows with 125-150 lb calves 1700.00-1750.00 per pair; Short-solid to broken mouth 1270-1373 lb cows with 200 lb calves 1400.00-1500.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yr old 980-1342 lb cows with 100-300 lb calves 1100.00-1550.00 per pair; Short-solid to broken mouth 925-1385 lb cows with 100-300 lb calves 1000.00-1325.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 2 3-6 yr old 670-1165 lb cows with 100-200 lb calves 800.00-1050.00 per pair; Short-solid to broken mouth 945-1272 lb cows with 100 lb calves 875.00-950.00 per pair.

Canadian Cattle:

Alberta Beef Producers: Alberta direct cattle sales so far this week have seen light trade develop with dressed sales ranging from $250.00-253.00 delivered. Sales are fully steady with the previous week. All three western Canadian packers were buying cattle this week, and some cattle that traded will be lifted within seven days.  Cash to futures basis levels did weaken this week but remain stronger than 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 $0.7870 U.S. dollars


The "Nord Fork" 

Replaces Flankers at Branding


Cash Market Trades Higher; Futures Top 

Cassie Fish --
As is the way of commodity market movement in the modern day, CME cattle futures have turned south with a vengeance and great velocity.


Fading the good cash cattle news this week with aplomb, most active Feb LC is a technical wreck of significance. Thanks to the gift of hindsight, it’s clear the Q4 tops occurred the end of October for cash cattle, the week ended November 10 for boxes and the same week for futures. This week’s futures rally was merely a technical correction for oversold futures contracts fueled in part by a ‘last cash cattle rally for the year’.


Taking out the last swing low made last week bodes ill for the market technically as futures, well under the 40-day moving average, barrel towards the 100-day moving average. Most active Feb, posting a massive weekly reversal today, has been above the 100-day since September and a close below it in December would signal long liquidation which could drive the market still lower. Today, the 100-day is at $119.32. No longer oversold, thanks to an almost 6-day rally, the market has room to extend the break.


No doubt the cash market is still somewhat between cattle and big fed kills have kept front-end supplies current (this week’s kill estimated at 638k). Additionally, there are pockets in the country that are still tight, but slaughter needs the remainder of December will lessen as the calendar moves past peak holiday demand and towards the actual holidays themselves.


Packer margins have tightened, and kills will start to decline beginning next week with plenty of mentions of cuts floating around the industry. Cash cattle prices will likely trend lower going forward through year’s end. Boxes typically see the rib and tenderloin break hard after next week and the end cuts gain some in value. Overall though, it will be January before the cutout experiences a solid uptrend.

Slaughter Cattle Weights Trend Lower 

Steiner Consulting Group Daily Livestock Report
Cattle weights impact the amount of meat actually showing up in the marketplace. Actual weight data is reported with a bit of a lag as USDA needs time to collect and compile all data it receives from inspectors at slaughter facilities. The latest data available is for the week ending November 11. The report showed that the average steer weight for the week was 902 pounds (dressed carcass), 16 pounds (-1.7%) less than the same week a year ago. 


Seasonally fed cattle weights increase in summer and fall but this year the increase has not been as big as in the last two years. Feedlots have been able to market cattle in a more timely fashion and strong beef demand has allowed beef packers to process more cattle while at the same time preserving their quite lofty margins. 



The chart above shows our estimates for weights for the last two weeks as well as our expectations for the current week. The weight data for week ending November 18 will be released at around 11 AM CT today and we expect it will show weight near the same level as the previous week. However, we think cattle carcass weights likely declined during Thanksgiving week and will be only marginally higher this week. This expectation is based on the daily slaughter numbers from the USDA Mandatory Price Reporting system. Seasonally steer weights decline in December, in part because packers need to fill orders for holiday business and thus will maintain the slaughter pace. 


Winter normally means lower weights so normally we should see fed cattle weights continue to drift lower between now and the end of April. The decline in fed cattle weights has reduced the amount of beef coming to market. Total cattle slaughter in November averaged 619,000 head per week (this is both fed and non fed). The average cattle carcass weight for this period was around 829 pounds (this includes heifers and cows), down 1.5% from the same period a year ago. So while slaughter is up 3%, the amount of beef on a dressed carcass basis is only up 1.5% y/y.

USDA National Retail Beef Report: 

Advertised Prices for Beef at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets



Compared to last week the Feature Rate, Special Rate, and Activity Index all saw significant increase in response to last weeks's shortened reporting period due to Thanksgiving. All primal cuts saw more ad space when compared to last week except cus from the rib which saw less movement this week as 
packers are preparing for big movement just prior to the Christmas Holiday. Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection posted a 13.5 percent increase in response to the holiday.

Cow Slaughter Analysis

CME Group
Cow slaughter has increased this year and we should see more cows come to market next year as well. In part this is a function of having a larger beef and dairy cow herd but also due to the decline in cow-calf profitability. Weather conditions always play a key role for beef cow slaughter and dairy prices are the primary factor dictating the number of dairy cows that go into slaughter. So even as the projection is for a larger non-fed slaughter next year, there is still plenty of uncertainty as to the actual numbers depending on weather events and milk demand.



Total US federally inspected cow slaughter through October was 4.783 million head, 7.3% higher than the previous year. Beef cow slaughter during this period was 2.286 million head, 10.5% higher than last year while dairy cow slaughter was 2.497 million head, 4.5% above year ago. There was a notable increase in beef cow slaughter numbers during the summer months, in part due to the normal deterioration in pasture conditions but also a deterioration in the profit outlook for producers. Fed cattle prices declined sharply in July and August, which likely impacted producer culling decisions.



Beef cow slaughter during Jun-Aug was up some 92,000 head, accounting for over 40% of the increase in beef cow slaughter this year (also see weekly top chart). Non fed cattle slaughter in recent weeks has been near year ago levels and we would expect total cow slaughter this year to be a little under 7% y/y for all of 2017. The second chart to the right shows the ratio of annual cow slaughter relative to the inventory of all cows at the start of the year. During times when producers are liquidating their herds the ratio of cows to inventory will increase, and vice-versa. The ratio was extremely high during 2011-13 when a combination of droughts and high feed costs forced producers to send morebreeding animals to slaughter. In the last two years the ratio dipped under the long run average but, if our slaughter projections for this year are correct, they will be slightly above the long run ratio this year. As for next year, we think the ratio will once again be higher than a year ago, which is based in part on forecasts for flat to negative cow-calf operator margins. But if producers have plenty of grass then we could see another year where the culling rate stays near the long run average. Another way to look at the whole issue of herd liquidation/expansion in beef is to take stock not just of the number of cows going to slaughter but account for all female animals. 



The chart above shows just that and illustrates directionally where we see the ratio going in 2018. Combined heifer and cow slaughter for the week ending November 11 was 297,250 head, representing 48% of the total slaughter for that week (623k). And the ratio has been at around 48% since September. The 12 month moving average of the female slaughter ratio has not edged past 45%, more than a point higher than it was a year ago. Does this mean the US cattle herd has stopped expanding? Not yet and much will depend on weather conditions in 2018. While pace of growth has declined dramatically, there is still a good chance we may see a larger calf crop in 2018 and thus higher slaughter/production in 2019.

Photo of the Week:

"Shootin' the Bull" Weekly Analysis:

In my opinion, the antics pulled by the Algo traders on Thursday appears to have turned sentiment.  With no changes in consumer demand, discretionary spending, increase of inventory, or much of anything else, the psychological aspect appears all that has changed.  That may be all that was needed at this time to spook producers.  I perceive very little human interaction was seen on Thursday of this week during the one minute sell off. The rally off the lows and the night to think about it, most likely sent humans to work either exiting longs or establishing shorts on Friday. 


Here is what I see:  Out front export sales were elevated again this Thursday.  For the first time China had a number beside it that it has not in 14 years.  I believe, with no way to prove it, that packers are making out front sales left and right as business is good for beef.  As those sales are cemented, then it becomes the job of securing the widest profit margin possible by paying the least amount for the cattle they can.  I've not played a lot of poker in my life, but enough to know that when sitting across from your opponent, you don't flip your cards around to show him what you've got.  Business is very similar. 


So, as stated before, I have no proof.  When attempting to outguess his hand, I look at the demand that has remained all year long, elevated cow kills and heifer placements, export sales and increased activities of certain countries to source food for their people.  Recall that this spring the packer got caught with unexpected increases in demand that caused a bidding war to unfold amongst themselves.  They were overly cautious all summer to keep the rally in check with actually the help of supply bearish analyst's predictions of lower prices due to supply.  Things began to slip again for them as futures began influencing the cash trade with new contract highs.  So, they stopped that when they traded cattle early, at a lower price and pulled the props out from underneath the futures. 


What I see over and over again is that the packers are having to implement strategies to thwart price increases based upon what looks to be an extremely good demand driven market.  Now, take all that with a grain of salt and it still won't make a hill of beans worth of difference as the market is moving lower.  My opinion only is that the weakened financial state of the producer remains such that no bluffs can be called. 


Technical indicators turned south quickly on Thursday as they had not strengthened very much to begin with.  New lows in some contract months suggests to anticipate further price action of what is still deemed as an intermediate wave 2.  Correction levels of 50% from the 8/30 low to contract high have already been made in most contract months.  A .618% retracement levels remains approximately $2.00 lower on most contract months.  There will be a great deal of talk to arise that suggests the packer will slow kills in two weeks when the ribs will no longer be available to meet the Christmas time frame.  This may be, but I still can't imagine the packer wanting to slow production when profits are so high and have been for so long.  Few ever walk away from the poker table at the top of their game. 


Feeders have developed a head and shoulders pattern.  This may not be too bad of a pattern due to the aspects of this move down being the intermediate wave 2 correction.  I can't add too much more to the feeders that wasn't addressed with the fats.  The question with the feeders is, when will the hard pull all year long show up in the form of lighter placements?  I think it will exceptionally difficult to out pace placements of 2017.  However, I can already here the excuse of a lower placement in that, "well, since they were so high, of course the placements are lower."  Always a double edged sword. 


Corn began to show some life today.  A double bottom and divergence of the technical indicators could produce some good support.  A know that a great deal of cash transactions are having to be settled. Potentially some of the buying is re-owning the corn on paper.  I recommended on Friday to buy December '18 corn and risk the trade to a new low for this year.  ***This is a sales solicitation.***


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.

Canada Group Issues Report on Trade Without NAFTA 

A Canada-based financial group outlines trade without the North American Free Trade Agreement in a new report called “The Day After NAFTA.”
BMO Financial Group of Montreal published the report that says the Canadian food and beverage industry would be highly vulnerable without NAFTA, and that Canadian and U.S. crop producers would face a moderate level of vulnerability. Specifically, Canadian food and beverage producers would face among the highest U.S. tariffs of all industries post-NAFTA, according to the Hagstrom Report. For beverage and tobacco exports to the U.S., Canada could see tariff rates approach 20 percent. Food exports would see U.S. tariffs return to around 4.5 percent, far lower than vice tariffs, but still the third-highest of all industries.
However, the report points out that less than 20 percent of Canadian crop products are sold into the U.S. marketplace, which would limit the impact on industry costs and profitability. Meanwhile, U.S. crop producers would also be affected, as the report says they would face tariffs averaging nearly 4 percent on exports to Canada and a lofty 11 percent on exports to Mexico.

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 weak on Select on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings. Select and Choice chuck, round, and loin cuts steady. Choice rib cuts higher while Select weak. Beef trimmings generally steady on moderate demand and offerings.


The USDA reported estimated FI slaughter at 238,000 head through Tuesday, 2,000 head below last week but 9,000 above the same Tuesday last year.


Beef export shipments dropped 18.08% from the previous week at 14,261 MT, which was 4.88% behind last year. Total commitments for beef exports are now 8.5% larger than this time last year.


The average value of hide and offal for the five days ending Fri, Dec 01, 2017   was estimated at 10.64 per cwt., up 0.11 from last week and down 1.13 from last year.

Exploring a World Without Food Animals

What would happen if U.S. farmers stopped producing animals for food and Americans went vegan? Some have called for a move in that direction to address increasing concerns about U.S. health, eating habits, and climate change. Researchers at USDA‘s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Virginia Tech recently explored those questions and found surprising results.


Mary Beth Hall, an ARS animal scientist at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and Robin R. White, a professor of Animal and Poultry Science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, found that shifting land usage from food animal production to food crop production would increase the total U.S. food supply by 23 percent. Because much of that land is unsuitable for high value crops, most of the additional food produced would include high-calorie crops like corn and soybeans.


A complete shift away from food animal production would present major challenges to meeting America’s nutritional needs. With no meat, milk, eggs, fish, or cheese in our diets, the U.S. population would not receive enough of several fooddifferent essential dietary nutrients from the foods they eat, according to the study results. The findings are based on information compiled in the USDA dietary guidelines.


“Different types of carefully balanced diets -- vegan, vegetarian, omnivore -- can meet a person’s needs and keep them healthy, but this study examined balancing the needs of the entire nation with the foods we could produce from plants alone. There’s a difference between what’s possible when feeding one person versus feeding everyone in the U.S.,” says Hall.


Eliminating food animals would increase deficiencies in calcium, vitamins A and B12 and some important fatty acids. The last are important as they help to reduce cardiovascular disease and improve cognitive function and vision in infants. Animal food products are the only available, non-supplemental sources of some fatty acids and vitamin B12.


A plant-only diet also would require individuals to eat more food and more daily calories to meet their nutritional needs from the foods they eat because the available foods from plants are not as nutrient dense as foods from animals.


Agriculture in the U.S. contributed to approximately 9 percent of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, with nearly half of that total coming from animal production, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports. The scientists determined that eliminating food animals from U.S. production would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but not by the full 49 percent of agricultural emissions that animals currently contribute. Rather, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would drop by 28 percent without farmed animals because of increases associated with producing additional food crops and the use of more synthetic fertilizer to replace manure. That would represent a drop of only about 2.6 percent of total U.S. emissions.


“A take-home message from the study was that we need to expand the way we think about food production to account for the complex consequences of changing any individual piece within the wider food system,” says White.


The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). 

Japan Increases Tariff on U.S. Beef Imports

TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Japan will raise tariffs from August on imports of frozen beef from the United States and other countries, in a move to protect domestic producers, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Friday.


Between Aug. 1 and the end of March next year, tariffs will jump to 50 percent from 38.5 percent now, as a “safeguard” mechanism is triggered to protect domestic farmers, the ministry said in a statement.


It will be the first time the tariff mechanism has been tripped for beef imports since August 2003, when it was triggered for chilled beef, the farm ministry said.


The hike threatens a significant sector of United States’ access to the biggest Asian market for U.S. beef, just as President Donald Trump seeks to expand American exports to Japan.


Last year, U.S. frozen beef exports to Japan were worth more than $400 million.


“The safeguard will not only have negative implications for U.S. beef producers, but will also have a significant impact on the Japanese food service industry,” said Philip Seng, president and chief executive of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), in a statement on its website. 


The hike will be especially hard on gyudon beef bowl restaurants, which use U.S. frozen beef cuts as a primary ingredient, he said.


An increase is automatic if quarterly imports of specific beef products - both from all nations and from those lacking economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with Japan - rise more than 17 percent from a year earlier.


In April-June, Japan’s first fiscal quarter, frozen beef imports from all nations, at 89,253 tonnes, were up 17.1 percent on the year, while imports from non-EPA nations reached 37,823 tonnes, an increase of nearly a quarter, government data showed.


Nations that have EPAs with Japan, such as Australia, Mexico and Chile, escape the tariff hike.


Japan has been contacting affected nations, such as the United States, to explain the increase, Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters, Kyodo news agency said.


Imports of chilled beef face no increase as their volumes did not exceed the trigger level.


Japan’s beef bowl restaurants were “finally enjoying robust growth due to greater availability of U.S. beef,” Seng said, following tremendous setbacks experienced during previous curbs of U.S. beef imports.


U.S. sales of frozen beef cuts to Japan last year were worth $418 million, or around 18 percent of the U.S. total, U.S. Census Bureau data shows.


For the period January-May this year, total U.S. beef exports to Japan were valued at $731 million, up 32 percent on the corresponding 2016 period, the same data showed.


By volume, total U.S. beef sales to Japan for January-May were 123,290 tonnes, up from 96,394 tonnes a year ago. Overall U.S beef exports for the first five months were 497,323 tonnes.

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 mostly steady few trades 1.00 higher.  Slaughter bulls 2.00 to 3.00 higher.  Demand moderate to good in the South Central region. 
Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Thursday was 167.81 -- Down 0.36 from last Friday. 
                 Weight       Colorado       Oklahoma       Alabama  
Breakers  1100-1600  60.00-63.50  55.00-58.00    49.50-52.50 
Boners     1000-1450  59.00-63.00  55.00-59.00    50.00-55.00 
Lean         1000-1300  53.00-56.00  54.00-57.00    44.00-48.00 
Bulls         1300-2500  79.00-81.50  76.00-80.00    70.00-73.00
                # Head  Week Ago Year Ago   YTD    Year Ago 
National   8,036     8,275         9,664      41,680    40,381 
S Central 2,607     2,317         2,419      12,559    10,879 
N Central    465       611             592        4,195      3,476 
East         2,254     2,312         2,568      10,187      9,245 
West        1,211    1,226          2,035        5,941      7,866 
Midwest   1,499    1,809          2,050        8,798      8,915 

Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection:

Total red meat production under Federal inspection for the week ending Saturday, December 02, 2017 was estimated at 1080 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 15.6 percent higher 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 28, 2017 were mixed. 
  • Soybean Meal was 3.50 to 9.00 higher. Cottonseed Meal was steady to 50.00 higher. Canola Meal was steady to 7.50 higher. Linseed Meal was steady. Sunflower Meal was steady to 10.00 higher. 
  • Whole Cottonseed was steady to 5.00 higher. 
  • Crude Soybean Oil was 4 to 42 points lower, mostly 17 points lower. Crude Corn Oil was 50 to 230 points lower. 
  • Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was mixed, 15.00 lower to 5.00 higher, mostly steady to 15.00 lower. Ruminant Blood Meal was mixed, 50.00 lower to 50.00 higher. Feather Meal was steady. Menhaden Fishmeal was steady. 
  • Corn Hominy was steady to 9.00 lower, mostly steady. Corn Gluten Feed was mixed, 2.00 lower to 7.00 higher. Corn Gluten Meal was mixed, 15.00 lower to 5.00 higher. 
  • Distillers Dried Grain was mostly steady to 5.00 higher. 
  • Wheat Middlings were mixed, 5.00 lower to 8.00 higher. Wheat millrun was steady to 6.00 higher.

Farmers & Ranchers Hit Harder by Opiod Crisis  

The opioid crisis in the U.S. is impacting farm and ranch families more acutely than their rural neighbors, according to a survey published by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Farmers Union on Thursday.


About three-quarters of farmers and ranchers surveyed said a family member, someone they know, or they themselves have taken an illegal opioid or are dealing with addiction.


That compares with 45% of the rural population as a whole, according to an online poll of 2,201 adults living in rural areas throughout the U.S., conducted by Morning Consult from October 26 to October 29.


The opioid crisis, driven by addiction to prescription painkillers and drugs like heroin and fentanyl, played a role in more than 33,000 deaths in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


U.S. President Donald Trump last month declared the crisis a public health emergency as estimates show the death toll rising.


“Opioids have been too easy to come by and too easy to become addicted to,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall, who called the results “heartbreaking.”


The group did not examine why the epidemic is disproportionately impacting its members, but government data show that, for farmers, rates of work-related injuries that may be treated with painkillers far outpace those in most other U.S. occupations. 


Three in four farmers and ranchers said it would be easy for them or someone in their community to get a large amount of prescription opioids without a prescription, the poll found. Just 46% of rural adults as a whole said the same.


A third of those surveyed said it would be easy to access addiction treatment in their local community, while 38% said they felt treatment would be effective, affordable or covered by insurance.

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 were higher on the week but with more volatility. Markets rallied nearly 1% on both Tuesday and Thursday on the back of increasing optimism that the U.S. Senate will pass a tax-reform bill soon. However, these gains were slightly eroded on Friday when news broke that Mike Flynn, President Trump's former national security advisor, may testify regarding interference in the 2016 election.


U.S. Stocks:

The numbers: Consumer confidence surged yet again in November, with the index jumping to 129.5 from 125.9 in October, the Conference Board said Tuesday. That’s the highest reading since November 2000 and easily exceeded the 124.8 forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a reading of 124.8.


What happened: Americans say jobs are easier to find and the number who said business conditions are bad declined.


Consumers were even more optimistic about the next six months. An index of future expectations rose to 1113.3 from 109, besting a smaller increase in a gauge of current conditions. The present situation index edged up to 153.9 from 152.

80% Chance of a Bitcoin Crash?  

Mark Hulbert -- MarketWatch
There’s a greater-than-80% chance that bitcoin will soon crash.


To be sure, mine is not the first column to suggest that a bitcoin crash is imminent, especially as bitcoin’s price tops $10,000. But you may not realize just how high the probability of a crash has become.


The reason I am able to estimate a crash’s probability is a recent study of what has happened on prior occasions when an asset’s price has skyrocketed. Bitcoin’s extraordinary price run-up far exceeds the threshold for when a crash becomes nearly certain.


This study, titled “Bubbles for Fama,” was published earlier this year by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Its authors are Robin Greenwood, a finance and banking professor at Harvard Business School and chair of its Behavioral Finance and Financial Stability project; Andrei Shleifer, an economics professor at Harvard University; and Yang You, a Ph.D. candidate at that institution.


The researchers defined a bubble as a sharp price run-up over a two-year followed by at least a 40% drop over the subsequent two years. When the price run-up is 100% or more, they found the probability of a crash becomes 50%. When focusing on price run-ups of at least 150%, that probability becomes 80%. As price run-ups become even bigger, a crash becomes “nearly certain.” 


To put those thresholds in context, consider that bitcoin’s runup over the last two years is nearly 2,500%. That’s more than 10 times greater than the threshold the researchers found was associated with a “near certain” subsequent crash.


To be sure, the authors focused on the stock market in their study, not crypto-currencies. But I nevertheless am confident that their conclusions apply to bitcoin too, since they analyzed nearly a century’s worth of historical data, both in the U.S. and in foreign stock markets as well, and found broadly similar conclusions regardless of the time period or the country.


They furthermore were unable to find any evidence that the probability of a crash was dependent on any fundamental factors. That’s a crucial detail, since many of bitcoin’s true believers insist that the fundamental case for bitcoin is unique, and that therefore historical precedents don’t apply. Yet every prior bubble was accompanied by similar claims of historical uniqueness. (Can you say “dot-com bubble”?)


It’s often said that the four most dangerous words in investing are “this time is different.” Bitcoin investors in particular should not forget that.

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



Looking Ahead:.The NWS WPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for liquid precipitation accumulations of 2-to-5 inches in western Washington and 1-to-2 inches across the Northern Rockies of Idaho and Montana. Accumulations of 0.5-to-1 are forecast for the central and southern Rockies. Accumulations of an inch are expected in the lower Midwest and northern portions of the South. 


The CPC 6–10-day outlook calls for a high probability of above-normal temperatures across the eastern half of the conterminous U.S. as well as in western Arizona, California, and western Nevada while below normal temperatures are expected in a swath extending from west Texas to eastern portions of the Pacific Northwest. In terms of precipitation, below normal precipitation is expected across the western third of the conterminous U.S. while a high probability of above normal precipitation is forecast for the eastern third of the U.S. and eastern portions of the Desert Southwest.



Digital Disrupters

Ag Center Cattle Report
The technology-fueled changes brought about by the development of the internet, bandwidth speeds, connected devices, and e-commerce are moving forward at high velocity speed.  Innovation will lead the change. Some will embrace the change, others will be swept along, and still others will refuse to follow, ignore the changes and slowly disappear.


The new digital economy will manage the physical world with data driven transactions and no industry will be more impacted than agriculture. Digitization of all transactions involving the transfer of title and the exchange for money following the buying and selling of agricultural products will undergo a transformative overhaul. The new services will be the key to driving productivity gains for the industry. 


Productivity gains are not delivered by a faxed or scanned invoice any more than an overnighted check for payment for cattle. Data driven transactions will happen in real time and settlement and clearing will be triggered by electronic notices either email or text followed by electronic money transfers called ACH transactions to quickly settle the trade. 


In the physical world of agriculture, digitization is already occurring at supersonic speed in farming. Farm tracts are being analyzed down to the square foot to determine nutrient requirements that are applied in variable levels to accommodate differences within the field. Precise plowing and planting is digitized and mapped for tractor applications that will soon be self-operated using accurate GPS coordinates. Seeds are genetically designed to protect and enhance increasing yields free from chemical applications. The results from each effort will be digitized into data to make the next decision a better decision. 


Raising cattle for beef will mirror digital activity in all other sectors of agriculture. Seedstock choices will be data driven. Individual animal ID will track each health record, performance check points for weight, and finishing performance. The tracking will continue in the beef plant with both in live and carcass data allowing producers to let the information drive their decisions at each fork in the road. 


Trading in all ag products will move to the web allowing best buyer to find best sellers at every point of transfer. The internet provides transparency and a centralized marketplace where both the buy side and the sell side are always finding the best price for each. Block chains, created by each transaction, will create the foundation for settling futures contracts in a manner instilling confidence of more traders. That confidence will translate into new liquidity in the futures contracts. 


Payments for cattle will be electronically settled to bank accounts immediately on delivery with both buyer and seller protected against fraud and misrepresentation. Smart contracts for the purchase and sale of cattle will include protocols and standards to drive the transaction. This will include confirming the transaction, identifying the parties to the transaction and spelling out the terms governing the transaction and the steps necessary to consummate delivery and cash settlement. These digital contracts will be available for accounting purposes, audit control, fraud prevention, legal compliance and finally banking authority. 


At the core of the digital revolution will be security. Transactions, blockchains, and money transfers must be encrypted and verified on both sides of the ledger.  Breaches of computer networks are daily occurrences. Technologies are available to prevent these breaches and data can and will be protected within tolerable risk frameworks. Trust must be present for innovation to move forward and it will be. 

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 = July 19th
  • P/(L) based on the futures when placed on feed:  ($49.21)
Cost of 750 lb. steer delivered @ $149.65 per cwt:        $1,122.38
Feed Cost for 600 lbs. @ $77.15 per cwt:                      $462.90
Interest @ Prime + 2% on cattle cost for 165 days:      $29.17
Interest @ Prime + 2% of the feed cost for 165 days:  $6.02
Total Cost & Expense:                                                      $1,623.36


Sale proceeds: 1,350 lb. steer @ $121.00 per cwt:        $1,633.50


This week's Profit/(Loss) per head:                                $13.03


Profit/(Loss) per head for previous week:                    ($22.54)
Change from previous week:                                           +$35.57


Sale price necessary to breakeven:                                $120.03

Projected closeout for steers placed on feed this week:

  • Projected Sale Date @ 165 days on feed = May 15th
Cost of 750 lb. steer delivered @ $157.95 per cwt:        $1,184.63
Feed Cost for 600 lbs. @ $73.22 per cwt:                          $439.32
Interest @ Prime + 2% on cattle cost for 165 days:         $32.13
Interest @ Prime + 2% of the feed cost for 165 days:      $5.96
Total Cost & Expense:                                                        $1,662.03


Sale proceeds: June Futures @ $115.77 per cwt:         $1,562.90


This week's Profit/(Loss) per head:                               ($99.14)


Profit/(Loss) per head for previous week:                    $25.04
Change from previous week:                                        -$124.18


Sale price necessary to breakeven:                                $123.11



Typical closeout for hedged steers sold this week: ($49.21) 
Typical closeout for un-hedged steers sold this week: $13.03 
Projected closeout for steers placed on feed this week: ($99.14)



Slaughter Cattle:

Slaughter Cattle: Friday trade was light to moderate on light demand in the Northern Plains and the Western Cornbelt. In Colorado compared to last week, live purchases traded unevenly steady from 120.00-121.00. In Nebraska a few live purchases traded from 120.00-121.00 with dressed purchases steady compared to Thursday at 190.00. On Thursday in Nebraska, live purchases traded mostly at 121.00. In the Western Cornbelt a few dressed purchases traded from 189.00-190.00. On Thursday, live purchases ranged from 120.00-121.00 with a few up to 122.00 and dressed purchases at 190.00. Trade was very limited on light demand in the Southern Plains. The latest established market was on Thursday, when live purchases traded at 121.00 in the Texas Panhandle and from 120.00-121.00 in Kansas.


Negotiated Sales: Confirmed: 27,420    Week Ago: 1,341    Year Ago: 3,393


Formula Purchases: Net - Dressed 
Head count priced today: 21,600 
Weighted avg weight:      884.00 
Weighted avg net price:  189.92


The FCE On-Line Auction offered 967 head on Wednesday with no sales.  Bids of $117 and $118 were passed by feedyards and asking prices of $120 were passed by packers.


Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection:
                                    CATTLE      CALVES    HOGS        SHEEP 
Friday  (est             118,000     2,000       465,000       7,000 
Week ago (est)       116,000     2,000       437,000      4,000 
Year ago (act)        112,000     2,000       429,000       6,000 
Week to date (est)  595,000   10,000    2,290,000     41,000 
Last Week (est)      476,000     8,000    1,817,000     29,000 
Last Year (act)       572,000   11,000     2,189,000     41,000
Saturday  (est          54,000        0             245,000      1,000 
Week ago (est)        96,000        0            340,000         0 
Year ago (act)         44,000        0             354,000         0 
Week to date (est) 649,000   10,000      2,535,000     42,000 
Last Week (est)     572,000     8,000      2,157,000     29,000 
Last Year* (act)     616,000   11,000      2,543,000     41,000 
2017 YTD          29,327,00  460,000 110,803,000 1,770,000 
2016 *YTD         27,810,00  436,000 108,183,000 1,845,000 
Percent change      5.5%        5.6%           2.4%         -4.1%


Farmed Protein Leader in 2025 

Mack Graves
What Farmed Protein will be the world’s leader in 2025?
Had you guessed chicken would be the global farmed protein production leader in 2025, you would have been correct.  Pork is second and third is, are you ready for it -- Aquaculture.  Say what?  Not beef?  Let me explain.


Thomas Elam, Ph.D. of FarmEcon, LLC, has estimated that chicken will grow from 100 million metric tons to nearly 150 million from 2017 to 2025.  Pork which has been the world’s production leader since 1977 will grow at a slower rate and be surpassed by chicken in 2021.  And, Aquaculture, the fastest growing protein, will grow from fifth place at about 50 million metric tons in 2017 behind beef, eggs, chicken and pork to over 120 million by 2025.


Where in the world is all this aquaculture being grown and consumed?  Look to the Far East.  The top producing country at four times larger than the next one is China at 58.8 million metric tons followed by Indonesia at 14.4, India at 4.9, Vietnam at 3.4 and the Philippines at 2.3.  Eleven of the top fifteen are located in Southeast Asia.


The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service, estimates that fish and seafood are consumed at the rate of about 15 pounds per capita in the US.  The majority of that is imported from, you guessed it, those countries who rank highest in farmed aquaculture protein.


Will this dramatic increase in aquaculture and subsequent consumption in China et al portend a dramatic decrease of U.S. beef consumption in China, Japan and Korea that has been the backbone of U.S. imported beef recently?  And, will it mean more fish consumption in the United States at the expense of beef and pork?


I think not.  Why?  Because as countries and people move up in economic well-being they tend to move up the food chain from subsistence types of crops to more protein that is usually more costly and perceived as for those of more affluence. 


Sure there will be dramatic growth in fish consumption in the Asian countries, but it will probably be in the lower economic strata as opposed to those who are becoming more affluent.  These folks will still want their pork and beef in record numbers.  In the United States, exotic fish species may become cachet, but will not take much away from the traditional chicken, beef and pork consumption.


However, we face a paradox in the United States.  We have a wealthy populace able to pay for the higher priced proteins, i.e. beef, pork and to a degree chicken.  We also have many dietitians and physicians telling their patients to cut back on red and processed meats.  We have scientists of every ilk saying, factually or not, eat more fish (and chicken) in place of “fatty” beef and pork. 


All of these recommendations are made to convince the eater that fish and chicken will somehow prevent or aid in avoiding cancer while helping a person live longer and healthier.  Who doesn’t want to do that?


Ah, but there is another fly in the ointment -- the environmentalists.  Aquaculture is an environmentalist’s dream and nightmare.  If you think that we in the meat and poultry industries are attacked because of our impact on the environment, the aquaculture industries are attacked for the same reason. 


So aquaculture that is the physicians/dietitians recommendation for healthy eating is the environmentalists dream because it offers them another “factory farmed” production system to attack.  It seems that the environmentalists can find no one in the protein production system that is efficient enough to supply a majority of the populace that meets their guidelines for responsible environmental stewardship.  Vegan diet anyone?


We are left with a conundrum.  Fish comes relatively cheap in comparison to beef, pork and chicken and it is promoted as a healthy alternative to other proteins.  But, it, too, may pose problems for a sustainable environment.


Aquaculture may grow to be the number one farmed protein in the world.  Will it surpass chicken, beef, turkey and pork to become the number one marketed and consumed protein in the United States?  No, unless we abdicate marketing our meat and poultry products aggressively, proactively and persuasively letting fish swim in the door.


National Grain Summary:

Compared to last week, cash bids for corn, and wheat were mixed, sorghum washigher, and soybeans traded lower.  Weather and soybean crop conditions in South American have improved this week, putting some pressure on soybean markets.  Export sales and shipments for corn last week totaled 23.6 million bushels and 25.6 million bushels.  Soybean sales and shipments totaled 34.6 million bushels and 81.0 million bushels, and wheat sales and shipments totaled 6.8 million bushels and 12.4 million bushels.  Sales and shipments for last week can be seen as bearish for all three commodities.  Wheat was mixed, from 25 cents lower to 1 cent higher.  Corn was mixed from 9 1/2 cents lower to 3 cents higher.  Sorghum was 4 to 21 cents higher. Soybeans were 1 1/2 to 11 1/2 cents lower.


The USDA released their baseline projections for new crop corn acreage on Tuesday morning, showing an estimated 91.0 million acres for the 2018/19 year. That is up modestly from the current year’s 90.4 million acres. They also estimate next year’s yield would average 173.5 bpa, down from the NASS record projection of 175.4 bpa for 2017/18. It is worth noting that since 2013/14, 4 of the 5 years the final yield number has exceeded the baseline estimate. Their preliminary estimate of 2019 ending stocks balloons to 2.607 billion bushels.


Corn futures posted 2 to 3 cent gains on Friday, as 3 consecutive days in the green led to a gain of 2.5 cents on the week. A private export sale of 130,000 MT of corn was reported by the USDA this morning through the FAS daily reporting system. The sale is for 17/18 shipment to Unknown Destinations. During October, 470.091 mbu of corn was crushed for ethanol usage, 3.13% large than last year and 5.51% more than in September. Argentina’s corn crop was estimated at 38.2% planted by the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange as of Thursday, inching along from last week’s 35.8%. Brazil’s corn exports during November totaled 3.519 MMT according to the country’s trade ministry. That is 30% lower than October but more than 3.5 times larger than a year ago.


Wheat futures were 5 to 6 cents higher in most CBT and KC contracts on Friday, with MPLS up 8 to 9 3/4 cents in the front months. Taiwan purchased 81,780 MT of US wheat on Friday, with Jan/Feb shipment. Japan purchased 151,853 MT on wheat on Friday with origins of Australia, Canada, and the US. Of that total, 57,430 MT was bought from the US. Argentina’s wheat harvest was reported at 31.4% complete as of Thursday, up from 20.6% last week according to BAGE. The Friday Commitment of Traders report showed the big spec funds adding to their short Chicago SRW positions, tacking on another 14,108 contracts in the week ending November 28. They were net short 122,774 contracts at that time.


Five Year Moving Average - Corn & Wheat:


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