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Cattle Outlook: US Repeals COOL Law

15 June 2015

US - On Wednesday, the U.S. House voted 300-131 to repeal the mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL) law for beef, pork and poultry, says a University of Missouri weekly update.

This vote followed the fourth ruling against the U.S. law by the World Trade Organization, write Professors Ron Plain and Scott Brown.

This is an attempt to keep Canada and Mexico from implementing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. Action by the Senate is still needed.

The June WASDE reduced USDA's forecast of 2015 beef production by 1.1 per cent, but increased their 2016 prediction by 0.9 per cent. They are now predicting 1 per cent less beef this year than last and 3 per cent more beef in 2016 than in 2015. USDA is predicting that slaughter steers will average in the low $160s this year and a bit lower next year.

USDA's weekly Crop Progress report says 74 per cent and 69 per cent respectively of corn and soybean acres were in good or excellent condition on June 7.

Fed cattle prices this week were lower on light volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $154.86/cwt, down $2.42 from last week's average, but up $5.49 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $245.19/cwt, down $2.68 for the week, but up $8.81 compared to the same week last year.

This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $247.14/cwt, up $1.97 from the previous Friday and up $15.61 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $241.30/cwt this morning up $2.47 from last week and up $17.41 from a year ago.

Cattle slaughter this week totaled 542,000 head, down 1.5 per cent from the week before and down 10.6 per cent from the same week last year.

Year-to-date cattle slaughter is down 7.2 per cent and beef production is down 5.0 per cent.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on May 30 was 864 pounds, unchanged from the week before, up 20 pounds compared to the same week last year and above the year-ago level for the 50th consecutive week. Slaughter weights should remain above the year-ago level at least until fall.

Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were mostly steady to $2 higher this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $310.50-$327.50, 450-500# $293-$314, 500-550# $275.50-$292, 550-600# $265-$284.50, 600-650# $245-$269, 650-700# $235-$252, 700-750# $225-$239.25, 750-800# $220-$233.50, 800-900# $206-$225.75 and 900-1000#, $195.25-$210/cwt.

Fed cattle futures were little changed this week this week. The June live cattle futures contract settled at $152.45/cwt today, down 37 cents for the week. August fed cattle settled at $150.80/cwt, up 23 cents from the previous week. October fed cattle gained 83 cents this week to settle at $153.20/cwt.

The August feeder cattle contract ended the week at $223.45/cwt, up $1.55 for the week. September feeders closed at $221.52/cwt, up 1.02 from the previous Friday.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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