California, Nebraska and Washington saw the largest year-to-year increases in the cattle on feed population. Compared with April 1, 2011, California was up 9 percent, with 490,000 cattle on feed. Nebraska saw a 6 percent increase from last year’s numbers with 2.
Futures rallied slightly in the wake of a less sensationalized media presentation of the BSE story, a welcomed change from the reception of lean finely textured beef (LFTB). Word that the case was atypical tempered the reaction of importers of U.S. beef to minimal at best.
It’s no shock that input costs for corn production have staged four years of sizable price increases. But unlike past seasons, higher overheads will be exposing producers to more serious marketing risks in 2012, cautions financial adviser Sam Bachman with AgriSolutions.
South Plains cattle started Wednesday steady at $119-120 but closed the day trading at $122. North Plains saw steady selling at $122 with Nebraska and Iowa seeing slightly higher live prices than the rest of the north, as high at $123.50, and dressed prices at $194-195 with a few instances of $196.
USDA’s account of all South American crops continued to shrink leading up to last week’s Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, with news of smaller and smaller harvests in key areas. Those smaller supplies have supported U.
The U.S. cattle on feed rose, as did placements, in February and March. But continued high placements are unsustainable and many project a drop in placements which will result in shorter meat supplies later in summer. Recent rains in drought-stricken areas will also tighten numbers as more heifers are kept as replacements rather than feeders.
Fed cattle prices started last week steady with the prior week. Compared to the previous week, live sales sold $1 lower at $125 in Kansas. In Nebraska, dressed sales sold $1-2 lower at $202 with live sales on Wednesday from $126-127.
“It looks like a lot of eastern Corn Belt farmers are hoping to have some early-harvested corn to use in capturing old-crop premiums before the main harvest season gets underway.Things could get exciting in the markets if there would happen to be widespread frost in late April,” according to Bob Wisner, Iowa State University.
Texas is by far the leading lamb-producing state, so what happens there also affects the entire country. On Jan. 1, 2011, there were 515,000 ewes in Texas, which is more than the next two leading states combined (California with 273,000 and Wyoming with 220,000).
Beef projections are expected to be slightly higher from February with prices getting stronger. Export is expected to remain unchanged, but domestic slaughter is expected to be low. Slight overall increase is small, but still well below numbers from past years.