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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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So far in 2018, beef production is higher year over year as expected, with increased cattle slaughter and carcass weights. Beef demand has continued strong, carrying forward momentum from 2017. Cattle prices, both feeder and fed, along with wholesale and retail beef prices have generally been higher year over year so far this year.

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The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its semi-annual Cattle report. The number of cattle and calves estimated on Jan. 1, 2018, reached 94.4 million head, which was 0.7 percent higher year-over-year and the fourth year of expansion.

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The USDA Cattle on Feed report was released Friday, and the news was neutral to longer term bearish. Marketings matched pre-report expectations; on-feed inventories were slightly heavy but again close to expectations, while placements were above the highest estimate for the range of expectations.

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In October and November, dry conditions persisted in the Southern Plains, stressing pasture and forage supplies and likely directing calves that might have otherwise been placed on pasture into feedlots.

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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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