Cattle Outlook: USDA Corn Crop Estimates Down

US - USDA's November crop report lowered their estimate of the 2011 corn crop yield by 1.4 bushels to 146.7 bushels per acre. They are now estimating the 2011 corn crop at 12.31 billion bushels, down 123 million bushels from their October.
calendar icon 14 November 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

To account for the smaller crop, they reduced their forecast of feed usage and ending stocks but left their price forecast unchanged at $6.20 to $7.20 per bushel.

USDA also reduced their forecast of 2012 meat production. USDA is now forecasting next year's beef production will be down five per cent from this year, broilers down 1.7 per cent, turkey up 0.7 per cent, and pork production up 1.7 per cent.

Total red meat and poultry production in 2012 is expected to be down 1.6 per cent. Given a growing population and strong export demand the outlook is for high prices in the meat case and strong livestock prices.

Friday morning the choice boxed beef carcass cutout value was $191.01/cwt, up $3.76 from last week. The select carcase cutout was up $1.84 from the previous Friday to $172.19 per hundred pounds of carcase weight. The choice-select spread, $18.82/cwt today, remains unusually large.

Fed cattle prices were higher this week. The five-area average price for slaughter steers sold through Thursday of this week on a live weight basis was $125.39/cwt, up $3.98 from last week. Steers sold on a dressed weight basis averaged $200.08/cwt, $5.47 higher than the week before. This week last year, live steer prices averaged $97.67/cwt and dressed prices averaged $155.77/cwt.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 625,000 head, down 3.5 per cent from the week before and down 5.4 per cent compared to the same week last year. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending 29 October was 862 pounds, down three pound from the week before and up three pounds from a year ago.

Cash bids for feeder cattle around the country this week were mostly $3 lower to $5 higher. Prices this week at Oklahoma City were steady to $3 higher on feeders with price ranges for medium and large frame #1 steers: 400-450# $164-$177, 450-500# $156-$172, 500-550# $153-$164.25, 550-600# $143-$155, 600-650# $142-$150, 650-700# $130-$151.75, 700-750# $142.50-$146, 750-800# $139-$144.25, 800-900# $134.50-$142 and 900-1000# $129-$132/cwt.

The December live cattle futures contract lost $5.35 this week to end at $120.55/cwt. The February fed cattle contract settled at $122.725 today, down $6.22 from the previous Friday. The April contract ended the week at $126.80/cwt.

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