Marketing

Weighing the Market

Bullish market fundamentals continue Cattle markets were seasonally sluggish in mid-July, but prices remained at or near record-high levels, bolstered by strong domestic consumer beef demand and supply fundamentals.  Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University provided perspective on prices through the first half of 2024, in ...

Is it time to cull the mature female and replace her with a heifer?

I had a discussion recently concerning selling older cows and replacing them with bred heifers. This is an important decision for most cow-calf producers including myself as I have bred heifers for sale, and I have some older cows whose useful life in the breeding herd is extremely short. Thus, ...

USDA Beef Quality Grades: What do they mean?

A large portion of beef sold at retail in the United States is accompanied by a USDA quality grade label, such as USDA Choice. However, the label can be confusing to consumers. This article will discuss how quality grades are determined, what they mean, and how they are used. Factors ...

Corn and feeder cattle price connection 

The ups and downs of summer weather are upon us affecting a host of agricultural markets. The focus of this note is looking at how feed costs can affect cattle markets, specifically corn prices.  In general, if growing conditions are worse than expected (e.g., a drought), corn prices increase because ...

2024 National Feeder and Stocker Receipts Down 6 percent from 2023

The number of feeder and stocker cattle sold during the first 19 weeks of 2024 was about 6 percent below the number sold during the same period in 2023 according to data from the USDA-AMS National Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary. The combination of fewer cattle and  better pricing opportunities have ...

Weighing The Market

Avian Influenza adds market uncertainty Supply fundamentals remain bullish despite recent pressure on Cattle Futures tied to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle (see below). Cattle price expectations continued to rise in March as cattle numbers decline. Compared to the previous month, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) increased ...

Surging cull cow prices

Cull cow prices have surged in recent weeks, along with calf and feeder prices. Southern Plains auction prices for 85-90 percent lean cows jumped from $85 per cwt to $105 per cwt over the last two weeks. National average cutter quality cows hovered around $100 per cwt. Cull cow prices ...

Managing feeder cattle price risk

Futures prices have rallied to around $265-270/cwt. However, weather, global conflict, or other factors could negatively impact the 2024 market. Prices were relatively high throughout 2014 in response to a drought-induced decline in cow numbers, but during the fall of 2015 prices declined rapidly. While market fundamentals may currently be stronger in 2024 ...

Weighing the Market

Cattle prices crawl higher Tightening cattle supplies continue to boost cash cattle and futures prices to their highest levels since last fall and the highest of this year.  USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) increased the forecast weighted average five-area direct fed steer price for the remainder of this year, in ...

January Placements Above Expectations, but Total On-feed Inventory is Dropping

The feeder cattle market has been on a run since late 2023. For perspective, I am writing this on March 1st and the March CME© feeder cattle futures contract has increased in value by more than $25 per cwt since the first of the year. As has been the case a ...