Weekly US Cattle Outlook - Cow Slaughter was Up

US - Weekly Cattle Outlook, 7th November 2008 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 10 November 2008
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Cow slaughter for the year through the week ending October 18 was up 9.5 percent from last year and up 17.3 percent from two years earlier. Dairy cow slaughter in 2008 through the week ending October 18 was up 3.5 percent and beef cow slaughter was up 14 percent.

For the four-week period ending October 18, cow slaughter was up 7.9 percent from last year. Dairy cow slaughter for these four weeks was down 4.2 percent from 12 months earlier, but beef cow slaughter was up 18.3 percent for this period from 2007.

This is strong evidence that beef cow producers are reducing the cow herd at least at a modest rate.

The prices for replacement cows at Oklahoma City last week were relatively close to feeder heifer prices. These cows were pre-tested for Bangs, pregnancy and age. Cows 1-4 years old weighing 975-1,100 pounds, bred seven-eight months, high quality black sold from $820-885 per head. These were the highest prices paid for replacement cows at Oklahoma City last week.

Demand at the consumer level for all meats for January-September was down from a year earlier. Beef was down 4.1 percent, pork down 3.8 percent, broilers down 4.2 percent and turkey down 4.1 percent from a year earlier. The poultry demand estimates for January-August were posted but we had an error in calculations and the estimate was incorrect.

The weak consumer demand is probably due mostly to the weak general economy and high energy prices.

Demand for live fed cattle for the first nine months of 2008 was up 1.1 percent, and live hog demand was up 8.5 percent from 2007. The stronger live demand then consumer demand is due mostly to growth in exports.

The feeder cattle market at Oklahoma City is on a yo-yo with big changes week to week in opposite directions. The prices this week was up about as much as it was down last week. Feeder steers were $3-5 per cwt higher, heifers were $4-6 per cwt higher, steer calves were $5-10 per cwt higher and heifer calves were $2-5 per cwt higher than a week earlier.

The prices by weight groups for medium and large frame No. 1 steers were: 400-500 pounds at $114-130 per cwt, 500-600 pounds at $102-117 per cwt, 600-700-pound calves at $87-100 per cwt, 700-750-pound calves at $85.50-93 per cwt, 600-700-pound yearlings at $98.25-106.50 per cwt, 700-800 pounds at $96.75-102 per cwt, and 800-900 pounds at $96.25-101.75 per cwt.

Wholesale beef prices pushed substantially higher this week with Choice beef at $150.75 per cwt Friday morning, up $9.08 per cwt from last Friday. Select beef at $142.29 per cwt was up $6.20 per cwt from seven days earlier.

The price for the five-market area weighted average for live cattle was pushed $90.10 per cwt down this week at $1.10 per cwt through Thursday. The weighted average negotiated carcass price for the five-market area through Thursday at $143.50 per cwt was up $3.00 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 621 thousand head, down 3.4 percent from a year earlier.

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