Wes Ishmael

Calf Prices Meet Resistance
Tumbling wholesale beef values pressured cattle markets this week. On the one hand, declining wholesale beef values point to tougher sledding with consumers, especially as more volume enters the market. On the other hand, spot Live Cattle futures continue to offer cash support to fed cattle.
Hope for COOL Injunction Lives On 10
The move for the court to vacate its own decision is unusual, observers say. All 11 judges who sit on the appeals court will now review the case, with oral arguments set for May 19.
Corn Prices Gain on Plantings Report
At trend line yields, planting intentions for corn would still yield the second largest U.S. corn crop in history.
Battle For Grass Calves Stretches Prices Further
Although demand for calves and feeders should soften as orders are filled, AMS analysts note, “Many market watchers feel there is still some fuel left in these rockets with available supplies of feeders seasonally tightening and ample on-farm feed storage.”
Pork Production Remains Murky
“In the U.S., we see the outbreak of PEDv causing a significant shortfall in the availability of market hogs in 2014 – to the tune of 12.5 million hogs or 11% of annual slaughter,” says William Sawyer, a Rabobank analyst.
Fed Cattle Prices Record-High Again
Rather than drifting lower by the end of March, fed cattle prices continued to gain ground with feedlot supplies remaining current and cold weather continuing to impact availability.
Calf Prices Show Signs Of Leveling
Stocker and feeder cattle sold unevenly steady to $3 higher. Grass-ready calves near the major grazing regions (6-weight steers) continued to bring more than $200/cwt.
Cull Cow Prices Continue Higher
"If herd expansion plans move forward on adequate or better forage conditions, cull cow prices will likely stay above $90/cwt. for the remainder of the year and average in the mid $90s or higher,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
Exports Continue To Support U.S. Cattle And Beef Prices
U.S. beef exports accounted for 13% of total beef production in January, and 10% of muscle cuts alone. The export value per head of fed slaughter was $219.73, up $14.79 from last year.
Grass Plans—Tight Supply Lifts Calf Prices Higher
“Many backgrounders are facing the realization that they are going to run out of money before their pastures are filled, with stocker cattle prices roughly 25% higher than last year,” AMS analysts say. “Cattle growers may be afforded a rare opportunity to lease pastures in the major grazing areas (like the Flint Hills of Kansas) as grazers start to scale back the number of head they turn out, either due to a lack of capital or a lack of nerve.”
Winter Weather Increases Beef Prices And Volatility
Reduced beef production and marketing disruptions are helping underpin beef prices while creating more price volatility.
Calf-Feeder Prices Higher Amid Light Receipts
Feeder and stocker cattle sold steady to $4 higher while Feeder Cattle futures received mid-week pressure.
Cattle Producers Fail To Sway National Beef
Added concessions weren’t enough for National Beef to overcome dwindling cattle numbers and will move ahead with the closure of its packing pant at Brawley, CA.
More Expansion Perspective
“Some cow-calf operations will see 2014 as the golden opportunity to get out with record-high cow prices,” says Chris Hurt, Extension agricultural economist at Purdue University. “But the greater tendency will be for producers to hold on to the cows for the profitable opportunities that are expected over the next three or more years.”
Tight Supplies Keep Pushing Cattle And Beef Prices Higher
“Live-cattle futures have jumped 10.2% so far this year, a gain that is leading to higher wholesale beef prices and is widely expected to result in record U.S. consumer prices for steaks, ground beef and other products this year,” says John Otte, Penton market analyst.

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