Beef export value in August (most recent data) was 24% less than year-ago levels, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation this week. Export value of $498 million was the lowest in 18 months. By volume, exports were 18% less than a year earlier.
Calf and feeder prices finally reversed course this week. From mid-week onward—thanks to a rally in cattle futures--calves traded firm to $5 per cwt higher (instances of $10 higher) and yearlings brought $3-$10 more, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
The backlog of over-fed cattle continues to pressure calf and feeder prices on one side of the scale and beef prices on the other, while historically high beef prices and the strong U.S. dollar take a bite out of export support.