Some highlights from this week’s Weekly Livestock Market Update:
•This week in the markets – Cash fed cattle were down more than $3.50 this week and cash feeder cattle sales were steady to $1 lower. The April live cattle futures contract closed more than $4 lower this week and the April feeder cattle futures contracts closed nearly $3.50 lower. The May corn futures contract closed $.22 lower this week. The Choice Box Beef price was $.75 lower this week, driven by primarily by lower rib and brisket prices. Cash barrow and gilt prices were almost $9 higher, which the April lean hog futures contract closed nearly $1 lower. The pork cutout value was more than $6 higher this week in strength in all components. For the first time in several weeks, the pork cutout value has exceeded year-ago-levels.
•Quarter Hogs and Pigs report – Showed continued expansion in the pork industry. Sow inventory was 2.2 percent above year-ago levels and total hogs and pigs were 2.1 percent above year-ago levels. The pig crop and market hog inventory numbers suggest pork production will continue to exceed year-ago levels by 3 or 4 percent.
•Planting intentions – The USDA suggested 92.8 million acres of corn to be planted this year and 84.6 million acres of soybeans. But weather concerns, the already wet spring, and flooding may create less corn and more soybeans as we move forward.
•Monthly Trade Data – Both beef and pork exports from the US slipped in January. Total beef exports were 2.9 percent below year-ago levels and totals exports 2.1 percent below year-ago levels. Lower beef exports were driven by a sharp decline in lower shipments to Hong Kong. The largest decline in pork exports came from lower trade with Mexico.
•USDA long-term – Pork production is projected to surpass beef production by over the next decade. What does that mean for the big picture of beef and pork in the US.
•Following the initial shock and sadness of the floods in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri – can we talk about the potential impact of those losses.
•Cattle quality – There’s been a lot of talk about the deterioration of quality in some of the cattle after this winter… what are your hearing/seeing in your area and how does that play out in the markets.
•Next week’s reports – Job’s report next Friday. We’ll also dig more into this week’s Restaurant Performance Index, and look at the larger demand picture.
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