Since the early 1970s, the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) has estimated cow/calf returns over cash costs plus pasture rent based on typical production and marketing practices in the Southern Plains, but does not include other economic costs like family labor and management.
As with the prior week, cash fed trade developed earlier than usual last week. A trickle of trade began Tuesday with Wednesday seeing the majority of trend-setting prices. Trade on Thursday was in clean-up mode as almost 70,000 head were confirmed sold week-to-date.
With all the rain in July, things are looking a little more optimistic for wheat and stocker cattle operators than in the past four years in the Rolling Plains of Texas and southern Oklahoma, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist.
The tax law defines a hedge as a transaction in the normal course of business to minimize the risk of price change with respect to inventory or supplies. This requires a producer to have a hedging position that’s opposite the physical position on the farm and within normal production ranges.
The rollback in price between stocker purchase price and feeder sales price, along with overall price level, is the principal determinant of the gross margin, i.e., value of gain, for stocker production. For example, Oklahoma feeder prices last week indicated that the value of 250 pounds of gain for a 450-pound steer was $1.
Japan banned beef from the U.S. and Canada in 2003 because of BSE. The beef came back in 2006, albeit limited to meat taken from cattle aged up to 20 months as an anti-BSE measure. Certain “specified risk materials” (SRMs) with high risk of carrying BSE were also forbidden.
As with July, the August World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report showed most things up from previous estimates. Production estimates for beef, the other major competing proteins, corn, and soybeans were all up for 2014, and up for most in 2015.
The cash fed trade developed earlier last week than usual, though the prices left a lot to be desired from the cattle feeders’ perspective. Tuesday saw a surprising number of cattle trade in the Corn Belt at $154-155 live and $245-248 dressed. This was lower than the prior week’s cash trade, which was itself lower than the week before that.
Beef exports were up 5 percent in volume; 106,609 metric tons (mt) which equals 2,204.622 pounds) in June and set a new monthly value record of $631.7 million ( 12 percent). First-half export value also set a new record of $3.27 billion ( 16 percent).
Cash fed cattle trade took its own time in happening last week. By close of the markets on Thursday, 18,288 head had been confirmed sold over the course of the week—not exactly sluggish, but not overly speedy either. The bulk of that volume traded Thursday at $159-162 live and $253-255 dressed, steady to down $4 in both areas.
Good said the industry is accelerating the rate of expansion, and “it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the trend.” However, while the fundamentals are “friendly,” he said, “the market will have a correction.” And that correction could be soon.
Cash fed trade was slow to develop last week as packers, reportedly flush with cattle sufficient for their reduced production rates, were content to let the cash market cool off. Analysts expected trade to be steady with the prior week’s $160-165 live and $255-262 dressed.
Two key cattle reports were released at the end of July: the biannual Cattle Inventory report and the monthly Cattle on Feed report. The reports were called bullish with both the Inventory report showing continued tightening of the cattle herd and the Cattle on Feed report showing decreased populations, placements, and marketing activity.
Corn importers don’t have to look far for supplies, either. With China’s hesitance to take U.S. corn, due to that country’s failure to approve corn with the MIR162, South Korea is enjoying the availability of Asia-bound freighters and lower prices. Imports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) also are doubling.
The number of cattle slaughtered is 5.7 percent lower than last year. Plain says the drop in cow and heifer slaughter has tightened up the beef supply, driving up prices. With high feeder cattle prices and good pastures, producers are now looking to increase the breeding herd, which eventually will bring prices down.
The most recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report showed an increase in many things. Beef production and availability was up. Soybean acres increased. Ending stocks of corn went up… again.
The cash fed cattle market developed reasonably early contrary to expectation. The majority of the purchasing occurred on Wednesday with clean-up trade on Thursday. The prices were mostly in line with expectations, at least at the beginning.
Most all of Oklahoma received considerable rain from late May into early July. This resulted in much needed forage growth in all regions, including some of the worst drought areas. However, the heat of summer has arrived in July and forage growth has slowed abruptly.