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CME: Cattle Weights Stay Below Last Year's Levels

02 November 2016

US - Federally Inspected (FI) steer dressed weights have tracked well below 2015’s levels for the past 24 weeks in a row, according to Daily Livestock Report is published by Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

For those last 24 weeks, on average, steer dressed weights have been 9 pounds below year ago levels. However, the gap has widened in the latter part of that time frame.

Looking back over the past 10 years, on an annual average basis, FI steer dressed weights have increased about 1 per cent per year. Using the Livestock Marketing Information Center’s forecast for weights through the end of 2016, this year’s average steer dressed weight is set to come in about 0.5 per cent below 2015’s.

The second chart shows the annual average steer dressed weight since 1960, including the significant uptick in weights during 2015, then the levelling off of weights expected for 2016’s average.

Weekly steer slaughter levels have been at impressive levels, posting above year ago numbers 38 out of the 41 reported weeks so far this year. Can you imagine if we were experiencing this same level of steer slaughter with weights that matched the past 10 year growth rate?

Based on calculations using LMIC forecasts for total steer slaughter and annual average dressed weight for 2016, we would have produced an additional 200 million pounds of beef which would have increased our year-over-year beef production almost another 1 per cent, if weights had increased 1 per cent year-over-year.

This is not accounting for changes in forecast heifer dressed weights, which have also tracked below their year ago levels for the past couple months. Yes cattle weights have been increasing since May, but this is seasonally normal.

The take-away is the weights have consistently stayed below year-ago levels, curbing some of the potential year-over-year increase in beef production and supporting the fact that feedlots are relatively current regarding their fed cattle supplies.

The hog industry has also experienced a significant increase in slaughter numbers compared to 2015, up almost 2 per cent to date compared to last year. Pork production is only up 1 per cent year-over-year so far however, and this is attributed to dressed barrow and gilt weights staying in check.

On average in 2016 barrow and gilt dressed weights have tracked about one pound below year ago levels on a weekly basis. The industry has done a good job managing these weights in the face of a forecast 2 per cent increase in annual hog slaughter.


Daily Livestock Report - Copyright © 2008 CME. All rights reserved.

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