Weekly Livestock Update with Scott Brown, December 17th 2018

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Some highlights from this week’s Weekly Livestock Market Update: •This week in the markets – Live cattle about steady for the week. Cash feeder cattle prices range from $2 to $8 higher. The February live cattle futures contract closed $1 higher this week, January feeder cattle futures were nearly $3 higher. Choice box beef price was unchanged for the week, as weakness in rib prices offset strength in other components. Cash hogs closed around $1 down this week with exceptionally large slaughter runs. February lean hog futures contract closed $3 lower on the week. Pork cutout value gained nearly $1 this week. Driven by strength in bellies. •Large slaughter totals for both beef and pork – As long as the USDA doesn’t make any adjustments, pork production is pegged to break 2.6 million head this week. This is the second week in a row that beef and pork production will break a record. •WASDE – 2019 Discussion. The first estimates for 2019 came out in May. From that time to the most recent estimates we’ve seen about a 1.5 pound decline for availability for 2019. That’s driven in large part by a stronger export picture for both beef and pork. •Farrow to finish returns – For November, producers lost $16.38 per head. That’s the fourth consecutive of negative margins and the 7th negative month in 2018. •November retail prices – Retail beef prices continue to move higher. Relative to a month ago they’re up 7.1 cents. Pork retail prices fell by 2.6 cents month over month. Chicken retail prices declined by 3.6 cents. Relative to what these prices average for November from 2000 to 2009, beef prices are 35 percent higher, pork is 25 percent higher, and chicken is 11 percent higher. Beef demand continues to be the strongest and chicken demand the weakest. •Next week’s report – Livestock Slaughter, Hogs and Pigs, Cold Storage, and Cattle on Feed.

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