Weekly US Cattle Outlook - Cattle On Feed Number May Decline

US - Weekly Cattle Outlook, 20th April, 2007 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 23 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The trade expects the cattle on feed number for April 1 to show a decline of 2% from last year. Placements on feed during March was forecast at an increase of nearly 7% from 2006, and marketings during March down 3.9% from 12 months earlier. The number of cattle placed on feed during March of last year was quite large, up about 5% from March 2005. If the number on feed comes in at the trade estimates it will be the smallest number on feed since November 1, 2006, but only slightly lower than March 1, 2007.

Choice retail beef prices in March were up 3.3% from February this year and up 4.3% from March of 2006. Choice retail beef prices for January-March of this year were up 0.3% from 12 months earlier.

Fed cattle prices for the first three months of 2007 were up 0.9% from 2006 and the highest of record for the first three months of a year.

Beef exports in January and February of 2007, were up 23.8% from a year earlier. Exports of beef during these two months were up sharply in percent to Japan and Taiwan because their borders were still closed to beef last year because of BSE. Our exports for these two months were up to Canada by 21%, down to Mexico by 5.3%, up in the Caribbean by 22.8% and other up 138.7%.

Beef imports for January and February were down by 7.8% from 12 months earlier. Net beef imports as a percent of production was down from 10.1 in 2006, to 7.7% in 2007. In other words, beef supplies domestically were reduced by about 2.4% in January and February of this year compared to last year.

Feeder cattle imports from Mexico for the first two months of 2007 were down 51.5% from last year, but live cattle imports for these two months were up 12.9% compared to 12 months earlier. Total live cattle imports for January and February were down 20.5% from a year earlier.

Fed cattle prices for the week through Thursday were down $2.62 per cwt from a week earlier at $96.05 per cwt weighted average for the five-market area. The weighted average carcass price through Thursday at $154.30 per cwt was down $4.85 per cwt from 7 days earlier for the five-market area.

Wholesale beef prices for Choice beef Friday morning were down $8.61 per cwt at $163.05 per cwt compared to a week earlier. Select beef prices at $151.85 per cwt were down $7.52 per cwt from Friday morning last week.

Feeder cattle and calf prices at Oklahoma City this week were $3-5 per cwt lower, mostly $3-4 per cwt lower than 7 days earlier.

The prices by weight groups for medium- and large-frame, number one steers were: 400-500 pounds $132.50-144 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $120.50-132 per cwt, 600-700 pounds $117.50-128.25 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $106.75-117.25 per cwt, and 800-1,000 pounds $91.10-110.75 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 647 thousand head, up 3.2% from a year earlier.

The Cattle on Feed report came in a little more bearish than the trade estimates. The number on feed was 1% below a year earlier. The trade average estimate was for a decline of 2%.

Placements in feedlots during March were up 7%. The trade average estimate was for an increase of 6.9% and marketings during March were down 6% from 2006.

A more detailed summary will be in next week's letter.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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