USDA Lowers 2015 Cattle Production and Price Forecast

US – The US cattle industry is forecast to produce 5.9 per cent more beef than last year but at lower prices than expected.
calendar icon 14 September 2015
clock icon 2 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

According to the latest US Department of Agriculture outlook, fed cattle prices will achieve values at $152-$155/cwt, which is $2.50 lower than previously anticipated.

Also lower is the predicted rise in red meat in general.

This is the key message of Professor Ron Plain and Scott Brown’s weekly Cattle Outlook, in which the University of Missouri economists underlined a $3 cut to steer price forecast to $147-$159/cwt.

They write that more Mexican cattle are coming north than last year but fewer are coming south.

“Through July, cattle imports from Mexico are up 15.1 per cet while imports from Canada are down 21.0 per cent,” wrote Professor Plain. In total, cattle imports are down 4.0 per cent compared to January-July 2014.”

Weekly Cattle Price Round Up

Fed cattle prices this week were lower on moderate volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $139.98/cwt, down $1.22 from last week's average and down $18.72 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $220.09/cwt, down $2.03 for the week and down $29.74 compared to the same week last year.

This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $237.98/cwt, down $2.65 from the previous Friday and down $12.55 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $227.13/cwt this morning, down $2.02 from last week and down $8.40 from a year ago.

Because of Labor Day, cattle slaughter this week totaled only 501,000 head, down 9.9 per cent from the week before and down 14.9 per cent from the same week last year.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on August 29 was 906 pounds, up 1 pound from the week before, up 29 pounds compared to the same week last year, above the year-ago level for the 63rd consecutive week, and tied with the record high set last November.

Because of the Labor Day holiday there was no feeder cattle auction at Oklahoma City this week.

The Missouri combined auction report said prices were uneven this week in light volume. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $255-$287.50, 450-500# $239-$292.50, 500-550# $231-$267, 550-600# $230-$257.50, 600-650# $210-$250, 650-700# $209.75-$231, 700-750# $200-$230, 750-800# $190-$212.50, 800-900# $182.50-$203.50, and 900-1000# $198/cwt.

Cattle futures were mixed this week. The October live cattle futures contract settled at $140.60/cwt today, up 13 cents for the week. December fed cattle settled at $142.37/cwt, down 40 cents from the previous week.

September feeder cattle ended the week at $200.70/cwt, down 67 cents from seven days earlier. The October feeder cattle contract lost 60 cents to close at $195.10/cwt.


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