Calves and yearlings traded near steady in a holiday-shortened week that was also disrupted by winter weather. Week-to-week, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.11 higher except for $1.40 and 65¢ higher at the back of the board.
U.S. beef exports continue to run ahead of last year’s record pace, according to September statistics released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation this week. The export value per head of fed slaughter in September was $249.00, up from $227.65 a year ago.
“Choice boxed beef prices have averaged above $200/cwt. for the last four weeks and fed cattle prices have averaged above $130/cwt. for the same period,” says Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University extension livestock marketing specialist.
The Environmental Protection Agency proposes to reduce the levels of renewable fuels for blending into gasoline and diesel next year. According to the proposal, "While this range represents a reduction in comparison to the statutory volumes for 2014, it nonetheless represents an increase relative to projected 2013 corn-ethanol consumption of about 12.3 billion gal…”
Estimated cattle feeding returns finally started turning positive in September after 29 consecutive months of losses. But, analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center say losses could resurface as early as next month because of the high prices feedlots must pay for calves and feeder cattle.
Judging by chatter and heifer prices at auction, more producers are at least contemplating herd expansion. But, looking at the mix of heifers on feed, Nevil Speer at Western Kentucky University says, "Producers don’t appear to be settling into the commitment associated with heifer development.” He adds that could change as marketing season continues.
WASDE pegs this year’s corn crop at a record-large 14.0 billion bu., 1% more than the previous forecast. That would make the crop a staggering 30% larger than last year. The season-average corn price was lowered 30¢ at both ends of the range to $4.10-$4.90/bu.