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Weekly US Cattle Outlook: Beef Market Down

14 August 2009
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

US - Weekly Cattle Outlook, 7th August 2009 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.

There has been substantial press about the July 1 cattle inventory probably being the smallest since 1959 and the calf crop in 2009 being the smallest since 1950.

Beef and veal production in 2008 at 26.7 billion pounds was the third largest of record and only 2.2 percent below the record high annual production of beef and veal.

With the development of the current feeding segment of the beef industry and the large percent of the calf crop that now is fed to a weight above 1,000 pounds per head the amount of beef and veal produced per calf in the calf crop is at a record.

These are interesting statistics but being the smallest calf crop in 50 years is not very important when we are getting about 2.4 times as much beef and veal produced per calf than in the early 50's.

The 2009 extension outlook summary of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association shows beef production in 2010 expected to be down from 2009 but by only 1.3 percent. However, beef demand is expected to be enough stronger in 2010 than 2009 to result in choice slaughter steers to average $90 per cwt up about 6.5 percent from 2009.

Feeder steers weighing 750-800 pounds at Oklahoma City averaging $103.55 per cwt up about five percent from 2009.

In our opinion, these estimates are likely to be a little higher than we will have for cattle prices in 2010.

Feeder steers and heifers at Oklahoma City this week were steady with a week earlier. Steer and heifer calves were $1-2 per cwt higher than seven days earlier at Oklahoma City.

The prices by weight groups for medium- and large-frame Number One Steers were:400-500 pounds $112-119 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $103-114 per cwt, 600-700 pound calves $95-106.50 per cwt, 600-700-pound yearlings $101.50-109.50 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $100-106 per cwt and 800-1,000 pounds $93.75-102.25 per cwt.

Wholesale beef prices were pushed lower Friday morning with Choice beef at $140.57 per cwt, down $1.09 per cwt from last week. Select beef at $133.98 per cwt was down $1.34 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Live fed cattle prices weighted average for the week through Thursday for the five-market area at $81.27 per cwt was down $1.34 per cwt from a week earlier. The weighted average negotiated price in carcass for the week through Thursday for the five-market area at $129.61 per cwt was down $2.02 per cwt from last week.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection at 627 thousand head down 6 percent from a year earlier.

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