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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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May feeder cattle futures prices have dropped about $10/cwt since the beginning of April despite nearly a $1/bu drop in May corn futures prices during that time. The weakness in feeder cattle prices resulted from an almost $12/cwt drop in live cattle prices in the past six weeks. Thus, projected losses on current placements are in excess of $100/head. Placements in April, though, would have had somewhat better projected profit prospects. This Friday's Cattle on Feed report is expected to show April placements up around 6 percent compared to last year.

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meatfreezer_regExports of U.S. beef and pork continued on a record-setting pace in March, with beef posting a 65 percent gain in value versus year-ago levels and pork showing an impressive 40 percent increase, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

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The corn market has been the “poster child” for the sharp increase in agricultural commodity prices that began last summer and extended into the spring of 2011. Higher corn prices were driven by a combination of shortfalls in crop production, including the U.S. corn crop, and strong demand.

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marketcattle_regThe spring feeder cattle marketing season in the Northern Plains is wrapping up, as most backgrounded cattle reached market weights and have been sold to feedlot buyers. Many auction markets are reporting sales volumes at 20 to 30 percent of peak runs in February. And the percentage of heifers selling is outnumbering steers as the heavier weight steers were sold earlier.

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0611pc_marketreport_1Cattle prices peaked-out at the end of the first quarter with all classes posting impressive new all-time highs that far surpassed previous records. However, April saw market levels begin to retreat with pressure looming from higher inputs (grains and fuel) and the tapering-off of demand for stocker cattle and calves. The first week of April marked the first time since the winter storms cleared-up that the demand for feeder cattle actually outweighed that for stockers. Feedlot replacement cattle sold $1 to $4 lower for the month, while lighter-weights lost $3 to $8 of value. Fed cattle ended April $8 off their late-March highs, but feedlots were mostly able to keep cash sales at a premium to the Board.

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