Cattle Outlook: Beef Imports Down in August

US - Beef imports totaled 263 million pounds in August, down 16.0 per cent compared to a year ago, and down 2.2 per cent compared to the month before, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown, Ag Economics, MU.
calendar icon 10 October 2016
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Reduced shipments from Australia accounted for all of the decline. Improved pasture conditions down under ared riving reduced their cattle slaughter and reduced beef exports in Australia.

Beef exports totaled 228 million pounds in August, up 29.5 per cent from August 2015 and up 5.5 per cent from July 2016. South Korea, Japan and Mexico led the way in increased purchase of US beef.

Imports equaled 11.6 per cent of US beef production during August. Beef exports equaled 10.1 per cent of US production.

Live cattle imports from Mexico were down 32.7 per cent year-over-year. Shipments from Canada were up 1.1 per cent compared to August 2015. In total, 98,209 cattle were imported during August.

Fed cattle prices this week were lower on heavy sales volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $100.91/cwt, down $2.45 from last week's average and down $17.61 from a year ago. The 5-area dressed steer price averaged $159.06/cwt, down $2.86 from the week before and down $30.94 from a year ago.

Beef cutout value was lower this week. This morning, the choice boxed beef cutout value was $183.52/cwt, down $4.42 from the previous Friday and down $19.45 from this week last year. The select carcass cutout this morning was $174.92/cwt, down $4.01 from last week and down $23.01 from a year ago.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 605,000 head, down 1.0 per cent from last, but up 9.4 per cent from a year ago.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on September 24 was 904 pounds, down 1 pound from the week before, down 16 pounds from a year ago, and below the year-ago level for the 21st week in a row.

Feeder cattle prices were $4 to $8 lower this week at the Oklahoma City auction. Stocker cattle prices were $10 to $15 lower. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $134-$145.50, 450-500# $117-$143.50, 500-550# $118.50-$133, 550-600# $110-$134, 600-650# $112-$135, 650-700# $107-$131, 700-750# $108.50-$137, 750-800# $122.50-$129.50, 800-900# $108-$126.50 and 900-1000# $112-$117.75/cwt.

Although cash cattle prices were lower this week, cattle futures ended the week higher.

The October live cattle futures contract settled at $101.87/cwt today, up $2.97 for the week. December fed cattle settled at $103.05/cwt, up $2.93 from the previous Friday. February fed cattle futures settled at $103.80/cwt, up $3.20 from the previous Friday.

October feeder cattle futures ended the week at $127.62/cwt, up $4.47 from a week earlier. November feeder cattle gained $3.12 this week to settle at $122.77/cwt. The January contract closed the week at $118.55/cwt.

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