Less Beef This Year, More Beef Next

   On Wednesday, the U.S. House voted 300-131 to repeal the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) law for beef, pork and poultry. This vote followed the fourth ruling against the U.S. law by the World Trade Organization and is an attempt to keep Canada and Mexico from implementing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. Action by the Senate is still needed.
   The June WASDE reduced USDA’s forecast of 2015 beef production by 1.1 percent, but increased their 2016 prediction by 0.9 percent. They are now predicting 1 percent less beef this year than last and 3 percent more beef in 2016 than in 2015. USDA is predicting that slaughter steers will average in the low $160s this year and a bit lower next year.
   USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report says 74 percent and 69 percent respectively of corn and soybean acres were in good or excellent condition on June 7.
   Fed cattle prices this week were lower on light volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $154.86/cwt, down $2.42 from last week’s average, but up $5.49 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $245.19/cwt, down $2.68 for the week, but up $8.81 compared to the same week last year.
   This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $247.14/cwt, up $1.97 from the previous Friday and up $15.61 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $241.30/cwt this morning up $2.47 from last week and up $17.41 from a year ago.
   Cattle slaughter this week totaled 542,000 head, down 1.5 percent from the week before and down 10.6 percent from the same week last year.
   Year-to-date cattle slaughter is down 7.2 percent and beef production is down 5.0 percent.
   The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on May 30 was 864 pounds, unchanged from the week before, up 20 pounds compared to the same week last year and above the year-ago level for the 50th consecutive week. Slaughter weights should remain above the year-ago level at least until fall.
   Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were mostly steady to $2 higher this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $310.50-$327.50, 450-500# $293-$314, 500-550# $275.50-$292, 550-600# $265-$284.50, 600-650# $245-$269, 650-700# $235-$252, 700-750# $225-$239.25, 750-800# $220-$233.50, 800-900# $206-$225.75 and 900-1000#, $195.25-$210/cwt.
   Fed cattle futures were little changed this week this week. The June live cattle futures contract settled at $152.45/cwt today, down 37 cents for the week. August fed cattle settled at $150.80/cwt, up 23 cents from the previous week. October fed cattle gained 83 cents this week to settle at $153.20/cwt.hea
   The August feeder cattle contract ended the week at $223.45/cwt, up $1.55 for the week. September feeders closed at $221.52/cwt, up 1.02 from the previous Friday. ∆
   DR. RON PLAIN AND DR. SCOTT BROWN: Agricultural Economists, University of Missouri
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