Extreme heat cools off bids in southern markets

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

Extreme heat in the south has caused some feedlot operators there to accept lower bids to move heat-stressed cattle. In other parts of the country, cattle feeders were holding out for higher bids the first three days of the week. Overall, the cash fed cattle market is lower.

Show lists are projected to be the largest of the summer during the next two weeks. Market cow prices are lower as cows continue moving to market from drought stricken areas.

Wholesale beef prices have been strong, with the Choice beef cutout reaching its highest value of the summer on Tuesday ($272.56) before losing $2.04 on Wednesday. Harvest will likely be short of last week’s 677,000 head estimate.

The composite retail price for beef in June was $7.66/pound, 2.6 percent higher than a year ago. Ground beef prices have increased 7.4 percent since the beginning of the year.

The USDA will release its mid-year Cattle Inventory and the July Cattle on Feed report on Friday, July 22. The average trade estimate is for cattle on feed inventories to be slightly above a year ago.

Hog market trends leave analysts guessing

It has been difficult to predict short-term trends in the hog market. Pork cutout values continued upward momentum ending last week at $122.18, a gain of $5.30 over five days and was $125.12 Tuesday afternoon this week. Cash hog prices have been increasing, although the rising cost of feed and other inputs has made it difficult for hog farmers to be profitable.

Last week’s estimated harvest of 2.255 million hogs was 33,000 hogs below the same week last year. The average price for pork in June was $4.93/pound, and increase of 8.6 percent from June 2021.

The latest agricultural export report showed a 13 percent improvement over the previous week with 20,600 metric tons of U.S. raised pork sold to foreign buyers. Mexico was once again the largest buyer at 10,500 metric tons, with 2,600 sold to Japan and 2,500 to China.

Drought drives market numbers

Similar to large runs of early-weaned calves at Texas auction markets due to drought, early weaned lambs are being sold in large numbers there as well. Ranchers and shepherds are holding off selling their breeding flocks, however.

Both fed and feeder lamb prices were lower nationally last week. Sheep and lamb harvest was an estimated 33,000 head last week. While that is 8,000 head more than the holiday shortened week prior, it is 7,000 head below the same week last year.

The gross lamb carcass cutout value was $605.77/cwt Tuesday with a net carcass value (Carcass value less process/packaging per cwt cost of $62.00) of $543.77/cwt.

WI crop conditions

Wisconsin corn conditions improved by one percentage point to 77 percent good to excellent in the latest Weekly Crop Progress report. Iowa leads the Cornbelt with 81 percent of their crop rated good to excellent. Wisconsin Soybean condition was 76 percent good to excellent, down two percentage points from the week prior.

All hay condition in the state was reported 83 percent good to excellent condition, up two percent from last week. Pasture condition was rated 74 percent good to excellent, down one percentage point from last week.

State market roundup

Choice beef breed steers and heifers at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were mostly lower. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought $122.00 to $140.00/cwt. There were reports of some bringing up to $143.00/cwt, with some High Choice and Prime type cattle with an overnight stand at the auction market selling higher.

Choice Holstein steers were mixed again this week at $100.00 to $128.00/cwt with high grading Holstein steers bringing $129.00 to $133.00/cwt with a few higher. Silage fed, under finished, or heavy dairy breed steers brought $72.00 to $100.00/cwt. Dairy x beef steers were bringing $107.00 to $144.00/cwt.

Cows were $5.00 to $7.00  lower at $52.00 to $75.00/cwt, with some selling to the mid $80.00s. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $52.00/cwt and down.

Dairy breed bull calves were lower, bringing $50.00 to $125.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $175.00/cwt. Beef and beef cross calves were bringing up to $365.00/head. Market lambs brought $100.00 to $160.00/cwt.