The volatility in the cattle futures has caused much tongue wagging and heartburn for producers. But our futures markets have a long history in which to develop problems. Elsewhere in agriculture, a new market is being created and its stewards are hoping to avoid a lot of those problems before they begin.
On Thursday, Oct. 13, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack sent a letter to livestock industry groups. It indicated the USDA will move forward with a trio of proposed rules to the Packer and Stockyards Act (PSA). The rules were proposed in part back in 2010.
Cash fed cattle trade got underway relatively early last week. On Thursday afternoon, over 83,000 head had been confirmed sold, half of it that day, but the other half of it on Tuesday and Wednesday. The apparent trend towards earlier trading and more distributed sale volumes might be a good thing, but the prices sure weren’t.
If you’re a market watcher, you’ve noticed the extreme drop-off in trim prices this year. A history-focused market watcher would additionally note today’s 50 percent lean trim prices are almost half of what they were when consumer panic over “pink slime”— properly called lean fine-textured beef—tanked that market in 2012.
There’s a truism in life that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Physics brings us another consideration, however; measuring an outcome can change it. This dynamic seems to apply in the cattle and beef markets and USDA’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) program, often called “Mandatory Price Reporting” in the cattle industry.
Despite calls for a late-week trade in the cash fed cattle market, by Thursday afternoon over 62,000 head had been confirmed sold throughout the week. Prices were slightly lower than the prior week—$99-103 live and $157-160 dressed—which was in keeping with early-week expectations, but the speed at which the trade was accomplished was unexpected.
He explained that creek water, in addition to being cold because it is generally snow melt/snow runoff, is coldest because of its exposure to the air. Keeping things—water, pipes, or stock tanks—in the ground helps keep them insulated and warmer than things exposed to the air.
Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida are all widely considered toss-up states in this year’s election. Most of those states additionally see so-called “freshman” senators—those who have only served one term—defending their seat for the first time.
Do you have your market umbrella out? The sky is falling again. The cash fed cattle trade was ugly last week as cash prices again flirted with the $100 point. Trade volume was surprisingly high and sales came surprisingly early. Over 60,000 head had been confirmed sold by close of trade Wednesday at $103-104 live and $160-163 dressed prices.
American television sets were tuned to the first 2016 general election presidential debate, breaking previous records. Many additional millions watched the debate online. There’s no telling exactly how many Americans—or non-Americans—viewed the debates, but estimates range above 100 million.
The cash fed trade was almost non-existent ahead of the September Cattle on Feed report last week. By close of trade Thursday, not even 3,000 head had been confirmed sold. On the Fed Cattle Exchange, four lots totaling 775 head of mixed steers and heifers from Kansas sold for $110-110.50.
Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a public hearing on the federal government’s management—some said mismanagement—of wolves. Two vastly different visions of reality were presented at the hearing.
In “Effect of antimicrobial use in agricultural animals on drug-resistant foodborne campylobacteriosis in humans,” researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina reviewed existing literature to assess the existing evidence regarding the...
Cash cattle traders were sitting on their hands last week after the prior week’s precipitous fall. By Thursday afternoon, not even 3,000 head had been reported sold, this not including the almost 1,000 head that sold at auction via the Fed Cattle Exchange.
But, while potent, auctions are not the only form of cash price discovery. When it comes to the fed cattle markets, auctions are almost unheard of—the Fed Cattle Exchange notwithstanding (see the story on this issue’s cover)—and concern over negotiated cash fed trade grows as its volume declines.
Ten lots of steers and one heifer lot ranging from New Mexico to the Corn Belt were offered for sale. Some lots didn’t sell, but at the end of the rapid-fire sale almost 1,000 head had been sold at prices ranging from $105-108.
“Become an agvocate,” they say to farmers and ranchers. “Tell your story. Agvocate!” It is indeed valuable to tell the story of agriculture. Market research repeatedly finds consumers trust farmers and ranchers above most other sources when it comes to information about food.