Weekly Cattle Summary: January Beef Exports Down, Imports Down Too

US - January US beef exports slipped 5.3 per cent compared to the prior January and imports also fell, report Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri.
calendar icon 17 March 2014
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Hong Kong, Japan and Mexico were the major growth markets. January exports equaled 9.42 per cent of U.S. beef production.

January beef imports were down 9.1 per cent from a year earlier with most everybody except Canada sending us less beef than a year ago. January imports equaled 8.46 per cent of production.

Cattle imports were down 0.2 per cent in January with cattle from Mexico up 0.1 per cent and cattle imports from Canada down 0.5 per cent.

Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $147.92/cwt, down $1.21 from a week ago, but up $21.41 from a year ago. Steer sales on a dressed basis averaged $239.80/cwt this week, up $1.51 from a week ago and up $36.95 from year ago.

This morning, the boxed beef cutout value for choice carcasses was $240.63/cwt, up $3.75 from the previous Friday and up $44.71 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout is $236.79/cwt, up $3.52 from last week and up $42.59 from last year.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 564,000 head, up 2.9 per cent from the previous week, but down 7.2 per cent from the corresponding week last year.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on March 1 was 863 pounds, down 3 pounds from the week before, but up 5 pounds from a year earlier.

Feeder cattle prices at this week's Oklahoma City auction were called steady to $3 higher than the week before. This week's prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight were: 400-450# $223-$250, 450-500# $220-$244, 500-550# $212-$226, 550-600# $199-$216.50, 600-650# $185.50-$204, 650-700# $171-$192.50, 700-750# $172-$183.50, 750-800# $153-$176.50, 800-900# $155-$168.75, and 900-1000# $147.75-$157.50/cwt.

Cattle futures were higher this week. The April live cattle futures contract closed at $145.25/cwt today, up $2.00 from last week's close. June fed cattle settled at $137.85, up $1.98 for the week. August settled at $135.47/cwt, up $1.62 from the previous Friday.

Feeder cattle futures followed fed cattle futures higher. The March feeder cattle contract ended the week at $174.60/cwt, up $2.23 for the week. April feeders closed at $177.22/cwt, up $3.57 from the previous Friday. The May feeder cattle contract gained $3.90 this week to end at $178.30.

Corn futures were relatively steady this week. March corn futures ended the week at $4.72/bushel, down 9 cents from the week before. May corn settled at $4.86/bushel, off 3 cents from the previous Friday. The July corn futures contract ended the week at $4.905/bushel.

March soybean meal ended the week at $449/ton, down $16.00 for the week. May soybean meal futures closed at $444/ton.

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