It was all about the numbers last week as a pair of slaughter reports were released. Monday welcomed the annual Livestock Slaughter, documenting the next-to-nonexistent decline in heifer and beef cow slaughter between 2012 and 2013.
The cash fed trade developed in a slow trickle throughout the week last week. By Thursday afternoon, over 59,000 head had been confirmed sold for the week at a weighted average of $146.79 live and $233.33 dressed. That was decidedly lower compared to the prior week’s $147-148 live and $240-241 dressed prices.
California is nothing if not skilled at stirring up the passions of the people, even when the issue at hand exists largely (or wholly) outside its borders and is addressed in numerous laws. Case in point last week: the question to list the gray wolf..
When it comes to handling cattle, any sort of distractions—anything from a coat hanging on a post to something new—has the potential to cause stress to the animals. This stress is multiplied when it comes to handling cattle through a chute or pens.
Packers are bleeding out red ink again, and last week looked like the cash fed cattle market was going to wring a bit more red out of them. By close of trade Thursday afternoon, barely 5,000 head had been confirmed sold for the whole week, and then only at $150 live and average $240.
It’s never fun to try to organize a big party, only to learn some of the key guests are planning their own festivities on the side. For some, this can be a social “faux pas” that goes well beyond hurt feelings and ruffled feathers.
Last Wednesday saw the release of the most recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. The report was called bullish for corn given the increases made to corn export to reflect the quick pace of corn trade in recent months, and not all that surprising for meat.
The cash fed cattle trade decided to play an opposite day prank for the week of April Fools. Compared to the prior week, where the bulk of a very large weekly cash fed trade took place early in the week for surprisingly higher money, last week was sluggish, inactive, and what few trades did occur prior to publishing were depressed.
Though the voluminous work covered a myriad of literally global topics, its impact on agriculture was a frequent theme. And unsurprisingly, one environmental group’s response to the report was entertainingly agriculturallythemed—cherry-picking—though they seemed to be reaching for fruit that wasn’t there.
Every year, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) collects surveys from a large number of American farmers and ranchers asking what they plan to plant. This information is collected into the Prospective Plantings report, and the information is invaluable to the markets and subsequent reports.
It is such an alien thing to report these days, but cash fed cattle trade was wrapping up Wednesday last week, with the prices paid surprising even bullish analysts. Live cattle went for $150-154, with most volume in the $152-154 area—up $4 in the Southern Plains and steady to up $1 in the Corn Belt—and $242-245 dressed.
Tuesday of last week saw the joint release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps’) proposed rule defining the “waters of the U.S.” The rule will be up for public comment for 90 days once it is published in the Federal Register sometime this or next week.
There were some definite surprises in the most recent Cattle on Feed report, released Friday, Mar. 21. Onfeed numbers were higher than expected and placements were much higher than expected. These realities paint a picture of the unique marketing situation facing the cattle world today.
The topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a sure thing for a media frenzy. The American public just can’t agree and argues viciously over the topic with passion usually reserved for religious conviction. But forget the GMOs themselves, what people think about them has been in the spotlight lately.
Cash fed cattle trade was slow to develop last week, but by Thursday afternoon a light trade had taken place at $150 live and $240 dressed. These prices were mostly seen in the Texas Panhandle and Kansas. Comparatively, the prior week had seen prices at $148- 148.
When it comes to disputes of a factual nature, the referee comes wearing solid white rather than zebra stripes. But problems arise when two lab-coated refs show up claiming to have seen vastly different plays, and arguments over whose science is best are never pretty.
When a big player like Mc- Donald’s says they want something, the response needs to be a big one. So when offering a definition of sustainable beef, one international organization gave a global answer. The definition isn’t new, but the approach might be.
Things slowed down in the cash fed cattle markets last week. By Thursday afternoon, barely 3,000 head had been confirmed sold. Though the volumes were too low to name it the price for the week, the steers that sold graded 80 percent Choice or greater and went for $148 live.
According to the Rolling Stones’ popular song, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need.” That wisdom permeates the most recent agreement on the Klamath Basin water war, which may prove to be the final word in this decadeslong conflict.
Despite the perceptions of the mainstream population, those in agriculture are a technologically advanced lot. Cutting-edge? Try bleeding edge. Technological advancement and adoption of the most recent science—particularly in the pursuit of the best genetics—is par for the course on many ranching operations.