COLUMNISTS

Feedlot operators gain some bargaining power

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

Governor Evers has directed the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) to provide another round of the Farm Support Program. On Mon., Nov. 1, 2021, DOR began sending letters to pre-qualified applicants. These letters are being sent to farmers with at least $10,000 but less than $5 million in gross income.

In the letter, farmers will obtain information about the program and a Letter ID, which is required to complete the application. The application link will be live at 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2021 and close at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2021. For more information, see DATCP’s Farm Support Center webpage.f

Gaining bargaining power

Feedlot operators gained some bargaining power with cash fed cattle prices $1.00 to $2.00 higher at the end of last week. Trade developed early this week with prices higher at midweek. Last week’s estimated harvest of 668,000 head was up 7,000 head from the previous week and 20,000 head higher than the same week a year ago.

There is a large supply of market ready cattle, while carcass weights are running about 14 pounds below a year ago, indicating the fed cattle supply is as current as it has been in quite some time. Packers will likely be motivated to keep line speeds as brisk as staffing levels allow heading into the holiday season.

The Choice beef cutout value has been making modest gains. Retailers have expressed interest in featuring beef during the holidays, but there are reports of some pushing back on price. Feeder sales have been brisk, even with higher feed costs, with many reports last week of sales $2.00 to $3.00/cwt higher. 

Pork cutout value breaks $100 level

 The pork carcass cutout value made gains and broke through the $100.00 level on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Cash hogs continue to lose ground, but Lean Hog futures contracts were sharply higher Wednesday and opened higher Thursday.

Last week’s estimated weekly harvest of 2.551 million hogs was 47,000 head below the previous week and 143,000 below the same week a year ago. Sales of Brazilian pork to China had been on the rise, giving the U.S. competition.

Sales to China by both the U.S. and Brazil have dropped as overproduction in China has caused over supply and low prices. After a two-week absence, China once again purchased 16,000 metric tons of U.S. pork according to the latest export report.

Harvest winds down

Seventy-four percent of corn and 79 percent of soybeans have been harvested nationally. In Wisconsin, 61 percent of corn harvest is complete with soybeans 84 percent complete.

The average price received by farmers for corn during September in Wisconsin was $5.83 per bushel, 34 cents below the August price but $2.57 above September 2020. The average price received by farmers for soybeans was at $11.90 per bushel.

All hay prices in Wisconsin averaged $147.00 per ton in September. The September 2021 alfalfa hay price, at $160.00, was $12.00 below the previous month but $1.00 above September 2020. The average price received for other hay during September was $110.00 per ton. This was $3.00 below the August price but unchanged from September 2020.

State market trends

Choice beef breed steers and heifers at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were steady to higher. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought $110.00 to $125.00/cwt with some selling to $130.00/cwt.

Choice and Prime Holstein steers were mostly steady at $91.00 to $112.00/cwt. Some packages were selling from $112.00 to $117.00/cwt. Silage fed, under finished, or heavy dairy breed steers brought $70.00 to $91.00/cwt.

Dairy x beef steers were mostly $99.00 to $122.00/cwt. Cows were lower, bringing $34.00 to $53.00/cwt. Blemish-free cows in fleshier condition sold into the $60.00s/cwt. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $34.00/cwt and down.

Dairy breed bull calves were steady to higher at $50.00 to $90.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $190.00/cwt. Beef and beef cross calves brought up to $350.00/cwt. Market lambs sold to $225.00/cwt.