Latest market report offers no surprises

Jeff Swenson

Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports.

Jeff Swenson

The June 25 Cattle on Feed report didn’t offer many surprises. The On Feed number was slightly higher compared to June 2020, making it the second largest June inventory since the report began in 1996.

Cattle placed in feedlots during May was 93.1 percent compared to a year ago. Cattle marketed were 23 percent higher than last year when COVID-19 was challenging the supply chain. Feeder cattle supply is tightening and some feeders are opting for empty pens after calculating profit/loss on the cattle available.

Pasture conditions continue to deteriorate in parts of the country. Beef cow harvest in the region including Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii is 58 percent higher year-to-date compared to 2019. Dairy cow harvest nationally has been running below year ago levels indicating expansion in that sector is ongoing.

Wisconsin’s pasture is rated 60 percent Good to Excellent. Just 31 percent of pasture is rated Good to Excellent nationally, and there are 13 states where no pasture falls in to the Excellent rating.

Estimated cattle harvest for last week was 661,000 head, 2,000 head lower than the previous week. Wholesale beef prices are declining with the Choice beef cattle cutout dipping below the $300.00 mark this week.

Cash prices remain steady to higher. Weekly export sales for US raised beef was 12,100 metric tons. 2,100 metric tons was purchased by China, compared to 1,500 metric tons of pork.

Hog market sees selloff

The hog sector experienced a sell-off in the Lean Hog futures contracts, a drop in pork cutouts and a dip in cash hog prices last week. The market is stabilizing.

Last week’s Hogs and Pigs report indicated a 1.5 percent decline in breeding hog numbers and lower farrowing intentions. Estimated harvest last week was 2.368 million head. That’s 69,000 head lower than the previous week and 258,000 head lower than the same week last year.

Hog supply continues to tighten and lower hog weights are contributing to lower pork production. Current feed costs and continued grain complex volatility will also contribute to lower carcass weights the rest of the year.

The latest weekly export total for US raised pork was 28,600 metric tons. China purchased just 1,500 metric tons. This may be the first time China purchased more beef than pork as they bought 2,100 metric tons of beef.

Grain stocks lower than a year ago

The National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) released a Grain Stocks report showing grain supply lower than a year ago – corn stocks are down 39 percent from last year and soybeans in storage down 65 percent from a year ago.

NASS also released an Acreage report showing corn acres planted 2 percent higher than last year and soybean acres 5 percent higher. Even with more acres planted the increases were below trade expectations.

The average price Wisconsin farmers received for corn in May was $5.93/bushel. That’s.78 higher than April and $2.84 above May last year. The May soybean price was $14.70/bushel, .12 higher than April and .20 higher than May 2020. Last week’s rain was a welcomed sight for many, although not every area of the state saw the precipitation.

State markets remain steady

Choice beef breed steers and heifers at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were steady. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought 110.00 to 124.00/cwt. There were some reported highs around $126.00/cwt again this week.

Choice and Prime Holstein steers were bringing $90.00 to $108.00/cwt. There were some packages of Holstein steers selling from 108.00/cwt to $115.00/cwt. Silage fed, under finished or heavy dairy breed steers brought $70.00 to $99.00/cwt. Dairy x Beef steers were mostly $88.00 to $115.00/cwt.

Cows were lower at $40.00 to $58.00/cwt. Blemish free cows in fleshier condition were selling to the mid $60.00s/cwt. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $42.00/cwt and down.

Dairy breed bull calves were lower again this week at $35.00 to $70.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $140.00/cwt. Beef and Beef Cross calves brought up to $320.00/cwt. New crop fed lambs sold to $270.00/cwt.