USDA Expects Fed Cattle Prices To Reach $160/Cwt

   Domestic beef demand was up 8 percent in May, but foreign demand was down 9 percent. U.S. beef imports were up 24.8 percent in May with large increases in imports from Australia, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico. May beef exports were down 14.4 percent compared to 12 months earlier. There were big declines in exports to Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, and Canada. May beef imports equaled 16 percent of U.S. production and exports equaled 10 percent of production.
   During the first five months of the year, beef imports were up 37.3 percent and exports were down 9.5 percent compared to January-May 2014.
   Cattle imports during May were down 10.3 percent with 42,377 fewer cattle coming south from Canada than a year ago, but 23,601 more cattle coming north from Mexico.
   Today’s USDA WASDE report cut expected 2015 beef production by 0.8 percent and increased 2016 production by 0.5 percent. They now predict 1.8 percent less beef this year than last and 4.3 percent more beef in 2016 than this year. They expect fed cattle prices to average close to $160/cwt both this year and next.
   Fed cattle prices this week were slightly higher on good sales volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $151.43/cwt, up 7 cents from last week, but down $4.56 from the same days last year. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $240.27/cwt, up 39 cents compare to last week, but down $6.95 compared to the same week last year.
   Beef cutout took a big hit this week. This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $239.03/cwt, down $11.24 from the previous Friday. The select carcass cutout was $236.04/cwt this morning down $12.38 from last week.
   This week cattle slaughter totaled 551,000 head, up 5.8 percent from the week before, but down 4.8 percent from the same week last year.
   The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on June 27 was 872 pounds, unchanged from the week before, up 15 pounds compared to the same week last year, and above the year-ago level for the 54th consecutive week.
   Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City this week were steady on very light volume. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $306-$310, 450-500# $297-$309, 500-550# $279-$280, 550-600# none, 600-650# $230-$251, 650-700# $232.50, 700-750# $230.50, 750-800# $227, 800-900# $220 and 900-1000#, $208-$209/cwt.
   Fed cattle futures were lower this week. The August live cattle futures contract settled at $148.47/cwt today, down $2.75 for the week. October fed cattle settled at $151.80/cwt, down $2.32 from the previous week. December fed cattle lost $1.87 this week to settle at $152.85/cwt.
   The August feeder cattle contract ended the week at $211.75/cwt, down $5.70 for the week. The September feeder cattle contract closed at $210.22/cwt. ∆
   DR. RON PLAIN AND DR. SCOTT BROWN: Agricultural Economists, University of Missouri
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