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Market Reports

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

LATEST

The National Agricultural Statistics Service released a report Jan. 31 detailing the total inventory of cattle and calves in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2018.

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Christmas shoppers are familiar with Black Friday, the day when spending is strong enough to put many stores’ annual budgets finally into the black.

A similar principle has applied to cattle markets, except the calendar is flipped. Strong cattle sales in the spring must be strong enough to balance the trend of dropping prices in the fall. And in recent years, that drop has slid into a problematic trend.

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Cattle on feed inventories continue to remain above year-earlier levels, and placements continue to reflect the increasing cattle inventory. The number of cattle on feed in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or greater on Nov. 1, 2017, was 6 percent above Nov. 1, 2016, and 5 percent above Nov. 1, 2015.

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Continued growth in beef production in 2018 is likely to pressure cattle and beef prices. Cattle producers have a number of economic conditions to watch that will indicate the impact of factors they cannot control and that will have implications for those factors they do control.

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The latest Cattle on Feed report pegged the Dec. 1 feedlot inventory at 11.512 million head, 108 percent of last year. This is an additional 864,000 head in feedlots compared with December 2016.

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The 2017 U.S. commercial beef production forecast was reduced almost 150 million pounds from the previous month to 26.4 billion pounds on fewer fourth-quarter steer and heifer marketings and lighter carcass weights.

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