Feeder cattle futures continue to set record highs

It was another quiet day in cattle country with asking prices around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South and 265.00 to 270.00 in the North, but so far not even a token bid on the table. Significant trade volume will be delayed until Thursday or Friday. The kill totaled 113,000 head, 1,000 below last week, and 10,000 smaller than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were higher on moderate to fairly good demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was 1.52 higher at 262.86 and select was up 1.80 at 260.83.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile exchange settled 25 to 107 points higher. Futures trended higher at the open and traded on a firm basis throughout the session. Contracts were supported by signs of strong late July beef demand and friendly cash expectations. August settled 1.07 higher at 159.85, and October was up .85 at 159.92.

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Wednesday midday cash livestock markets

The country is quiet and so far no bids on the cattle have been reported. Significant trade will likely be delayed until Thursday or Friday. Asking prices are around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South and 265.00 to 270.00 in the North.

The boxed beef cutout value is significantly higher with the choice up 1.69 at 263.03, and select is 2.47 higher at 261.50.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards at West Plains, Missouri totaled 2486 head. Compared to last week, feeder steers traded 10.00 to 15.00 higher, while feeder heifers were 5.00 to 10.00 higher. Demand was very good on a moderate supply. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 550 to 600 pounds brought 247.00 to 262.00 per hundredweight. 5 to 6 weight heifers traded from 230.00 to 247.50.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade are 2.04 lower the West is down 1.98 with a weighted average of 120.00 on a carcass basis in both regions. Eastern direct trade is not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is 1.00 to 3.00 lower from 114.00 to 115.000. Barrows and gilts at Midwest markets are 1.00 lower to 1.00 higher on a live basis from 83.00 to 95.00.

The pork carcass cutout value is 1.73 lower at 129.40 FOB plant.

There’s an increasing amount of trade talk that processors will soon begin manufacturing hams for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The strong domestic pull for the product should limit downside potential in the near-term.

Faced with extremely tight ready hog supplies, many pork plants will be dark on Friday with the total kill probably reduced to around 255,000 head. It sounds like the weekly kill will fall 9% or more below 2013.

Manure application technology on display

How technology can help address water quality and nutrient management concerns will be the focus of field day on Thursday, July 31, near Maria Stein, Ohio.

Terry Mescher, Ag Engineer with the Division of Soil and Water at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) says some of the manure application technology being featured has the potential of providing livestock farmers with options.

“Historically we’ve gotten to a point where we apply most of our manure in the fall after crops have been harvested,” Mescher said. “What we are trying to do with this field day is to display some technology where we are applying manure to an existing or a growing crop, as opposed to  waiting until after the crops been harvested.”

The Western Ohio Manure Application Technology Field Day will be held Thursday, July 31, at Homan Inc., 6915 Olding Road at Maria Stein beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Mescher says field demos will be held beginning at 1 p.m. and then again during an evening session beginning at 6 p.m.

Audio: Terry Mescher, Ag Engineer, ODNR (4:20 mp3)

New programs for sheep producers

Two new programs to assist sheep producers with the production and marketing of their products has been announced.

USDA has added sheep to the USDA Grass Fed Program. The program targets producers that market lambs produced from 99 head of ewes or less per year. Producers certified under the new program will receive certificates that allow them to market their sheep as USDA-Certified Grass Fed.

“We’re committed to support your efforts to obtain higher returns for producers,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Ed Avalos. “It’s important to emphasize that if it wasn’t for that producer, when that lamb drops on the ground the opportunity for everyone else to make a living, to earn revenue, so it’s very, very important to support that lamb producer.”

The second program announced by the Under Secretary was authorized in the new Farm Bill.

“I’m also announcing the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, it provides $1.5 million dollars in grant funds to assist and support the U.S. sheep industry,” Avalos said.

Eligible organizations have until August 27 to submit an application for the grant program.

Audio from the ASI, Under Sec. Avalos teleconference call (4:50 mp3)

Mandatory COOL upheld in appeals court

The U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia upheld mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for meat and meat products.  The 9-2 decision supports an earlier appellate court ruling which determined that labeling was needed to prevent deception.  Judge Stephen Williams cited consumer interest and health concerns, saying the government’s interest in country-of-origin labeling for food make the interest substantial.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson called the decision a victory in the battle to uphold the enforcement of the COOL regulation.  He says that American consumers want to know where their meat comes from, and livestock producers, proud of what they produce, are happy to let consumers know where it comes from.

The meat industry and some livestock groups have attempted to block COOL, saying compliance with the rule is costly and it provides no health benefits to consumers.

Boxed beef cutouts end sharply higher again

Feedlot country was at a standstill on Tuesday afternoon. Clearly, significant trade volume will be delayed until at least Wednesday or Thursday. Some showlists have been priced around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South and 265.00 plus in the North. The slaughter totaled 115,000 head, 1,000 more than last week, but 9,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were sharply higher on good demand and moderate offerings. Choice beef was up 2.04 at 261.34, and select was 2.86 higher at 259.03.

Live cattle futures were mixed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday. The nearby contracts were under moderate pressure. Trade volume was slow as bulls and bears probably will stall until cash prospects become clearer. Boxed beef cutout values were sharply higher at midday lending support to the complex. August settled .27 lower at 158.77, and October was unchanged at 159.07.

Feeder cattle ended the session 62 to 127 points higher supported by follow through buying and the recent $7.00 surge of the cash index. The market is at a stage where every tick higher effectively rewrites the record book. August settled 1.25 higher at 221.42, and September was up 1.25 at 222.45.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock at Worthing, South Dakota totaled 1722 head on Wednesday. Compared to two weeks ago. Feeder steers were 10.00 to 15.00 higher. Heifers were too lightly tested in recent weeks to make a good comparison. There was very good demand for all weights of feeder cattle. Buyers were eager bidders after last week’s sharp run-up in the cash fed market and the subsequent rise in live and feeder cattle futures. Feeder steers averaging 733 pounds traded at 239.32 per hundredweight. 595 pound heifers brought 243.00. [Read more...]

Tuesday Midday cash livestock markets

It is typically quiet in cattle country on Tuesday. Bids and asking prices are not fully developed. However, a few showlists have been priced around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South, and 265.00 to 270.00 in the North. Significant trade volume will probably be delayed until the second half of the week.

Boxed beef cutout values are significantly higher in the morning report. Choice beef is up 2.60 at 261.90, and select is 2.77 higher at 258.94.

The beef carcass value continues to move impressively higher thanks to the bullish combination of reduced midsummer tonnage and solid demand. Both choice and select cut-outs set new all-time highs on Monday with box demand described as moderate.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock at Worthing, South Dakota totaled 1722 head on Wednesday. Compared to two weeks ago. Feeder steers were 10.00 to 15.00 higher. Heifers were too lightly tested in recent weeks to make a good comparison. There was very good demand for all weights of feeder cattle. Buyers were eager bidders after last week’s sharp run-up in the cash fed market and the subsequent rise in live and feeder cattle futures. Feeder steers averaging 733 pounds traded at 239.32 per hundredweight. 595 pound heifers brought 243.00.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade opened 1.23 lower at 121.15 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West is down 1.04 at 121.14, and Eastern hogs are .40 lower at 120.74. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady to 1.00 lower from 115.00 to 118.00. Barrows and gilts at Midwest markets are steady to 2.00 lower from 86.00 to 95.00 on a live basis.

The pork carcass cutout value is 2.52 higher at 133.46 FOB plant. Bellies, ribs, hams and loins had substantial gains.

While the bullish threat tied to PED has lost much of its sting this summer, it’s still quite possible that the spring pig crop was significantly cut in size, less than the winter pig crop, but still substantial by this devastating disease.

Feeder cattle sell higher at Monday auction

Feedlot country was quiet on Monday afternoon following the distribution of the new showlists. The late July offering appears to be somewhat larger than last week. Although asking prices are not well defined, a few producers have priced cattle around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South and 255.00 to 270.00 in the North. The slaughter totaled 111,000 head, 4,000 below last week, and 7,000 smaller than a year ago.

Boxed beef cutout values were higher on moderate demand and light offerings. Choice beef was up 1.92 at 259.30, and select cuts were 1.84 higher at 256.17.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts were 1.70 higher to 72 lower. The nearby contracts opened significantly higher but quickly attracted long liquidation and speculative selling. The trade remained volatile through much of the session. Perhaps not surprising given the thin air that typically accompanies record prices according to John Harrington at DTN. Floor talk is blaming nervous ties to wholesale beef demand. Can it be sustained at current levels? August settled .05 lower at 159.05, and October was down .72 at 159.07.

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Property taxes are big topic in Nebraska

Property taxes being paid on farm and ranch land in Nebraska continue to skyrocket.  Laura Field, director of legislative affairs for Nebraska Cattlemen, says those taxes increased an average of 29 percent statewide over the past year.

Field says her group will resume its push for property tax relief in the 2015 legislative session. That task will be made more interesting with the election of a new governor and as many as 17 new state legislators this fall.

“We’ll have a new governor for the first time in ten years here in Nebraska.  Both candidates who are running for governor have made statements about property tax relief, so I think it’s something that’s on the forefront of their agendas,” Field says, “and we’ll have 17 new senators—at a minimum—and I fully expect that we’ll see some ideas come forward with those folks when they get down to the legislature.”

A move to lower the value of ag land for taxation purposes, from the current rate of 75 percent of market value to 65 percent of market, value failed to gain much traction in the last legislative session.  Field says that plan could resurface in 2015, but she expects some new proposals as well.

“I think we’ll see some discussion around should there be some caps on ag land valuations, how much can they increase every year, should they only be allowed to increase a certain amount,” she says, “and I think that we’ll see some more discussion on money that’s put into the property tax credit cash fund.  There was some additional money added this year and I think that’s a really popular idea that will come back up as well.”

Field made those comments in an interview with Brownfield at a Nebraska Cattlemen “Road Trip” meeting in Wahoo.

AUDIO: Laura Field (4:03 MP3)

Learning more about Indiana Beef

Rick Davis of Thorntown, Ind. is the president of the Indiana Beef Cattle Association.  During a recent conversation with Brownfield, Davis outlined some of the activities the association does on behalf of its members.

On the consumer side, he says some of what they do is education through promotional efforts in different parts of the state.  On the member side – they work to keep producers educated about the issues that could affect their operations.

To learn more about the Indiana Beef Cattle Association visit www.indianabeef.org.

AUDIO: Rick Davis, President – Indiana Beef Cattle Association (6:30mp3)