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Market Reports

Read new forecasts and indicators involving beef cattle and feed markets. Find out what factors are affecting prices.

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During the course of the year, the U.S. Drought Monitor indicated drought conditions in many parts of the U.S. California, one of the most extremely impacted states, is still categorized as “D4 Exception Drought.” Portions of Texas and Oklahoma, home to approximately 17 percent of all cattle and calves in the U.S., faced difficult weather conditions in the earlier part of the year.

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Click the date to see the latest Progressive Cattleman Market watch. (PDF)

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As is common for the start of each new year, multiple analysts are sharing their views on what will be key factors impacting the meat and livestock markets in 2015. A nice summary of points I have been sharing and fully concur with are those provided on Dec. 31 by the authors of CME's Daily Livestock Report. (PDF, 216KB)

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U.S. beef export volumes trended lower in November, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, the cumulative 2014 volume totals were still higher year-over-year, with January through November beef exports up 2 percent to 1.1 million metric tons (mt).

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The euphoria of high cattle prices in 2014 leads, for some cow-calf producers, to uneasiness and indecision in 2015. The question is how to best take advantage of the current market. The answer to that depends on several factors including:

  1. The current status of the operation, i.e., is the operation at full capacity or is there room to grow?
  2. The producer’s market expectations for the next several years.
  3. For older producers: Is there a time frame for retiring or exiting the business?

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Everyone is familiar with the phrase, “What goes up must come down.” Grain prices seem to be following this old axiom, with substantial questions remaining of “how far down?”

For U.S. animal product consumption, the phrase could be reversed: “What goes down must come up.”

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