Cattle Outlook: Cash Receipts from Cattle Sales Down in 2015

US - There were 467 million pounds of beef in cold storage at the end of March. That was 5 per cent less than the month before and 3 per cent less than a year earlier, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown, Ag Economics, MU.
calendar icon 3 May 2016
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

The amount of pork in cold storage at the end of March was down 8.7 per cent year-over-year, but frozen chicken stocks were up 4.6 per cent.

USDA's annual publication, Meat Animals Production, Distribution, and Income, says US cash receipts from cattle sales totalled $78.2 billion dollars last year. That was down $3.2 billion from the 2014 record.

Five states had more than four billion dollars in sales in 2015: Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, Iowa and Colorado. At $12.5 billion, Nebraska had a billion dollars more in cash receipts than number two Texas. Missouri ranked ninth at $2.1 billion in cash receipts from cattle sales.

Compared to a year ago, there were 1.3 per cent fewer steers on feed at the start of April, but 4.5 per cent more heifers on feed. This is the first year-over-year increase in the number of heifers being fed since July 2012. It is an indication that the growth in the cow herd may be starting to slow.

Beef cutout values were sharply lower last week. On Friday morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $212.05/cwt, down $8.45 from the previous Friday and down $42.45 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout on Friday morning was $203.17/cwt, down $8.39 from the previous week and down $39.21 from a year ago.

Fed cattle prices were lower last week in heavy volume. Through to Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $123.87/cwt, down $1.71 from the previous week's average and down $35.30 from a year ago. The 5-area dressed steer price averaged $194.50/cwt, down $10.86 from the week before and down $59.40 from a year ago.

Last week's cattle slaughter totaled 590,000 head, up 0.5 per cent from last week and up 4.6 per cent from a year ago. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on April 16 was 878 pounds, down 2 pounds from the week before, but up 6 pounds from a year ago. This was the 96th consecutive week with steer weights above the year-ago level.

Prices for feeder cattle last week at the Oklahoma City Stockyards were $1 to $4 lower compared to the previous week. Calves were steady to $3 lower. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $186.50-$198.50, 450-500# $179.50-$190, 500-550# $157-$183, 550-600# $163-$182, 600-650# $145-$176.50, 650-700# $164-$167.50, 700-750# $141.50-$153.50, 750-800# $137.50-$145.75, 800-900# $130-$143.75 and 900-1000# $120-$133/cwt.

On Friday, the April live cattle futures contract settled at $123.10/cwt, down $1.62 for the week. June fed cattle settled at $114.92/cwt, up 27 cents from the previous Friday. The August contract ended the week at $112.42/cwt, up 87 cents from the previous Friday. May feeder cattle ended the week at $140.42/cwt, down $2.03 from a week earlier. August futures lost $1.73 last week to close at $140.37/cwt.

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