Weekly Livestock Update with Scott Brown, December 24th 2018

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Some highlights from this week’s Weekly Livestock Market Update: •This week in markets – Cash cattle traded $1.75 higher. Feeder cattle were steady to $3 higher. Cattle futures were virtually unchanged in both live and feeder cattle contracts. Choice box beef price was $.50 lower on the week with pressure from much lower rib prices. Cash hogs were unchanged for the week. February lean hog futures dropped $3.30. Pork cutout value was $1.75 lower, pressured by weakness in hams and bellies. Pork production set another record at 584 million pounds. The combination of beef and pork production is at record levels. •Hogs and Pigs report – Kept for breeding numbers came in at 102.4, which is below the pre-report average guess, but still suggests expansion in pork production in 2019. The September through November pigs per litter was only .2 of a percent higher than a year ago, falling outside the pre-report range. Suggestion fewer pigs than we would have expected. We have seen revisions to the pig crop for the first and second quarter resulting in a decline of about 430,000 head. The less than 50 pound hog category was only .9 of a percent in the report, falling outside fo the range of pre-report estimates. That suggests smaller growth in hog runs in late-Spring of 2019. •Cattle on Feed – Cattle placements in November were down 4.9 percent, near the pre-report average. That suggests placements are trailing year-ago levels and is likely a result of pulling cattle forward due to drought condition. Cattle on Feed as of December 1, came in at 101.9, suggestion inventory is still above year-ago levels. •Livestock Slaughter – Beef production for November was 2.3 billion pounds. That is 1 percent above year-ago levels. Pork production totaled 2.4 billion pounds, up 5 percent on the year. Year-to-date red meat production totaled 49 billion pounds, an increase of 3 percent from 2017. Beef cow slaughter fell below year-ago levels for the first time in November. While this is just one month of data, it could suggest slightly more beef cows come the January cattle inventory report. •Cold Storage – Beef freezer stocks totaled 515 million pounds in November, that’s up 6 percent on the year. Pork was 1 percent higher at 508 million pounds. Red meat stocks were above what many analysts were expecting and total red meat stocks were 4 percent higher than last year and more than 1 Billion pounds. Total poultry stocks were down 13 percent on the month, but are still 2 percent higher than year ago levels. Brown says poultry supplies are becoming more in-line with the demand pictures. •As we wrap up 2018 and look ahead to 2019 – Demand will be key. •Next week’s reports – No reports next week.

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