Beef exports mark milestone

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

Cash cattle trade is quiet with prices being called $2.00/cwt lower nationally. Fed cattle prices at local auction markets followed the lower trend according to early-week reports.

Cattle harvest last week was estimated at 657,000 head, 11,000 head lower than the previous week and 2,000 head higher than the same week last year. Cattle harvest is 2.8 percent higher year-to-date. Many large establishments are reporting they will end production at noon on Christmas Eve and be dark on Christmas day.

The Choice beef cutout value ended the week at $263.01 and is holding steady to open this week. Lower wholesale beef prices will have retailers and exporters replenishing supply after the increased holiday demand.

Cash hogs finish lower

Cash hogs finished last week lower. The carcass cutout value dropped by $5.67 last week and finished at $85.82 on Friday. It was posted at $86.49 at noon on Monday, but dropped to $84.91 on Tuesday.

Estimated harvest last week was 2.645 million head, 75,000 more than the previous week and 155,000 head less than the same week last year. Hog harvest is running 2.3 percent lower year-to-date compared to 2020.

Pork exports have been disappointing late this year, but year-to-date sales are still ahead of last year. Mexico has become an increasingly important buyer of U.S. raised pork.

Lean Hog futures contracts opened higher on Wednesday. Strength in futures prices heading into the end of the week would be welcomed as the pork complex has been struggling to gain momentum in recent weeks.

Exports growing

Beef exports in October were 7.5 percent higher than the same month last year. Beef exports reached 115,709 metric tons (mt), while export value climbed 48 percent to $956.9 million – the second-highest total on record behind August 2021. Through the first 10 months of the year, beef exports are up 17 percent from a year ago.

Beef export value per head of fed cattle harvest equated to $439.46 in October, up 55 percent from a year ago. October exports accounted for 14.3 percent of total beef production.

October pork exports were below last year’s large total but year-to-date shipments remained slightly above the record pace of 2020. Pork exports in October were down 7 percent from a year ago, while export value slipped 3.5 percent.

For January through October, pork exports were up slightly from a year ago in volume and increased 8 percent in value. Pork export value per head harvested equated to $55.83 in October, up 5 percent from a year ago.

The January-October average was up 10 percent. October exports accounted for 26.5 percent of total pork production, up from 26 percent a year ago. October exports of U.S. lamb totaled 1,075 mt, up 56 percent from a year ago, and reached $1.95 million in value, up 56 percent and the highest since January 2020. Through October, lamb exports increased eight percent.

State market roundup

Choice beef breed steers and heifers at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were mostly steady to $1.00 lower. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought $127.00 to $141.00/cwt with reports of some selling in the mid $140.00s/cwt.

Choice and Prime Holstein steers were mostly steady to $1.00 lower this week at $93.00 to $115.00/cwt. Some packages were selling to $117.00/cwt with a few packages above. Silage fed, under finished, or heavy dairy breed steers brought $70.00 to $94.00/cwt. Dairy x beef steers were mostly $95.00 to $136.00/cwt.

Cows were $1.00 lower at $32.00 to $54.00/cwt. Blemish free and beef breed cows in fleshier condition sold into $60.00s/cwt. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $34.00/cwt and down.

Dairy breed bull calves were higher, bringing $50.00 to $115.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $140.00/cwt. Beef and beef cross calves were lower bringing up to $310.00/cwt. Market lambs were lower, selling to $235.00/cwt. 

Processor webinar

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