Cattle Outlook: Positive Outlook For Exports

US - Beef exports in August were up 19.6 per cent compared to a year earlier, says Ron Plain, University of Missouri. Mexico, our biggest foreign customer, and Viet Nam our fifth biggest, purchased less US beef during August, but most everyone else purchased more than in August 2009. In total, 8.7 per cent of US August beef production was exported.
calendar icon 19 October 2010
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Beef imports were up 3.1 per cent in August. Our three biggest suppliers, Canada, Australia and New Zealand each shipped more to us than in August 2009. August beef imports equaled 9.1 per cent of US production.

The overall trend in beef trade is quite encouraging. During the first eight months of the year, beef imports were down 10.2 per cent and beef exports were up 17.1 per cent compared to the same months of 2009.

August cattle imports from Canada were up 22 per cent from August 2009 but imports from Mexico were down 4.9 per cent compared to last August. During the first 8 months of the year cattle imports were up 16.3 per cent compared to January-August 2009.

The boxed beef cutout rose this week. On Friday morning, the choice boxed beef carcass cutout value was $1.5426/pound, up 2.92 cents for the week and 15.72 cents higher than last year. The select cutout was up 2.82 cents from the previous Friday to $1.4677 per pound.

Fed cattle prices were higher this week along with the cutout. The 5-area daily weighted average price for slaughter steers sold through Thursday of this week on a live weight basis was $96.41/cwt, up $1.57 from a week earlier and $15.18 higher than a year ago. Steers sold on a dressed weight basis this week averaged $152.20/cwt, $1.83 higher than the week before and $27.01 higher than last year.

This week’s cattle slaughter totaled 659,000 head, down 0.8 per cent from the previous week and up 4.8 per cent compared to the same week last year. Year-to-date, beef production is down 0.1 per cent.

Steer carcase weights averaged 854 pounds during the week ending October 2. That was up 2 pounds from the week before, but 14 pounds lighter than a year ago. This was the 45th consecutive week with steer weights below year earlier levels.

Cash bids for feeder cattle this week were mostly in the range of steady to $4 lower. This week at Oklahoma City price ranges for medium and large frame #1 steers were: 400-450# $116.50-$131, 450-500# $121.90, 500-550# $109-$118.25, 550-600# $105-$115, 600-650# $96-$114.25, 650-700# $107-$109, 700-750# $107-$112, 750-800# $106-$109.50, and 800-1000# $97-$108/cwt.

The October fed cattle futures contract ended the week at $98.15/cwt, up $2.60 compared to last Friday’s close. For the week the December contract gained $1.25 to end at $100.12/cwt. The February contracted closed out the week at $102.57/cwt and April settled at $105.07/cwt.

December corn futures ended the week 35 cents higher at $5.63/bushel.

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