Cattle harvest numbers expected to decrease

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

Fed cattle are steady to higher again this week. Negotiated prices were stronger mid to late week with prices of $144.00 to $146.00/cwt reported in the northern U.S. Live cattle futures have been running a discount to cash with a lack of long positions to push prices higher.

It is expected harvest numbers will moderate and decrease in the weeks ahead as fewer cows head to market until spring calves in the north are weaned this fall. If the drop in numbers materializes, it will go against usual seasonal trends. Last week’s estimated harvest of 651,000 head was 18,000 head lower than the previous week and 7,000 head higher than the same week a year ago.

Wholesale beef prices have come down somewhat, but still holding up well given usual seasonal trends. The Choice beef cutout value lost $0.75 less week, ending Friday at $264.62.

Cash hog prices hold steady

Cash hog prices are steady to higher this week. Lean hog futures have also had a good week. Hog harvest for last week was 2.340 million, 49,000 more than the previous week and 13,000 ahead of the same week last year. Expectations are for a larger harvest over 2.340 million this week.

Newer strains of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) have been limiting production. Feeder pig prices have been pushing higher due to lower supply. The pork cutout valued dropped $0.80 last week to end Friday at $125.03 and finished Wednesday of this week at $123.67.

Fed lamb prices hold steady

Fed lamb prices are beginning to firm being called steady to $20.00/cwt higher last week. The lamb carcass cutout value dropped again, however, to $586.70 on Friday, August 5. Feedlot inventory dropped from 103,032 head on July 1, to 88,610 head on August 1.

The decrease from July to August is typical. Inventories are running well ahead of the five-year average, likely due to early weaned lambs in the South where pasture conditions are not improving. The 2021 August 1 inventory was 67,638 head. Last week’s estimated sheep and lamb harvest was 33,000 head, 1,000 head more than the previous week and 1,000 head more the same week in 2021.

Crop condition update

Pasture conditions in Wisconsin are 68 percent good to excellent, even with the previous week. Precipitation was widespread across the state the week of August 1. The latest Crop Progress and Conditions report indicates top soil moisture is adequate in 72 percent of Wisconsin, however Southeast and West Central Wisconsin remain the driest regions.

The all hay condition in Wisconsin was rated 78 percent good to excellent, up one percentage point from the previous week. Corn condition was 76 percent good to excellent statewide, down one percentage point from last week. Soybean condition was 74 percent good to excellent, down three percentage points from last week.

State livestock market roundup

Choice beef breed steers and heifers at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were steady to $1.00 higher. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought $125.00 to $145.00/cwt. Some markets reported high-yielding steers and heifers from $145.00 to $148.00/cwt and some cattle with an overnight stand at the market selling higher.

Choice Holstein steers were higher to $2.00 higher at $106.00 to $135.00/cwt with high grading Holstein steers bringing $140.00/cwt on some packages. Silage fed, under finished, or heavy dairy breed steers brought $75.00 to $106.00/cwt. Dairy x Beef steers were bringing $107.00 to $146.00/cwt.

Cows were higher at $60.00 to $86.00/cwt with some selling to the low $90s/cwt. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $60.00/cwt and down. Dairy breed bull calves were lower, bringing $50.00 to $140.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $170.00/cwt. Beef and beef cross calves were bringing up to $360.00/head with a few higher. Market lambs brought $100.00 to $135.00/cwt.