US - USDA-NASS has released its June monthly livestock slaughter numbers. Although USDA-AMS reported daily slaughter gives us a fairly clear picture of what monthly slaughter was before the monthly report comes out, the monthly numbers are helpful in terms of putting longer term trends in perspective, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
With this, starting with cattle, June Federally Inspected (FI) cattle slaughter was the largest for the month since 2013. The majority of the increase in slaughter came from an increase in FI steer slaughter, which was up 12 per cent (up 167,000 head) yearover-year and the largest for June since 2011.
FI heifer slaughter was also up year-over-year, but to a lesser extent of 5 per cent (up 28,000 head) compared to 2015.
Heifer slaughter in June was still below 2014 levels though. Cow FI slaughter also increased compared to last year, up 10 per cent (up 40,000 head), with almost all of the increase coming from beef cow slaughter.
For the first half of the year, FI heifer slaughter was actually down 2 per cent (down 82,000 head) and beef cow slaughter was up 8 per cent (or up 95,000 head). Four consecutive quarters of declines in calf prices so far are not enough to induce a significant increase in female cattle slaughter.
On the weights side, average steer dressed weight for June was 865 pounds, 5 pounds below year ago.
Also, from May to June, average steer dressed weight only increased 4 pounds. Over the past 10 years the average month-to-month increase was 13 pounds, and this year was the smallest May to June increase since at least 2006.
Heifer average dressed weights were 795 pounds, 3 pounds above June of 2015. From May to June heifer weights declined 1 pound, and this is the first month-to-month decline (for May to June) in the past 10 years. With the significant increase in steer slaughter, and additional increases in heifer and cow slaughter, even though weights are generally lower, FI beef production was the largest for June since 2012 at 2.2 billion pounds.
Domestic and international demand have been stable. Beef production for spring quarter was up 5 per cent year-over-year, following a similar gain during the first quarter of 2016. This incentivized consumers through lower prices which were a result of increased supply. However, the fall fat cattle futures are much more pessimistic than the market fundamentals would suggest.
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