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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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Stronger than expected April placements pushed the May 1 feedlot inventories to 102 percent of year-ago levels. April placements were 111 percent of last year, above the average trade guess though not outside the range of expectations. April marketings were 102.7 percent of last year, also above expectations and a continuation of strong feedlot marketings.

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Thus far in 2017, a larger portion of U.S. winter wheat area was under moderate or more intense drought conditions than in 2016. Along with lower prices for wheat, the situation likely provides an option for producers to graze out wheat pastures for backgrounding.

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Total U.S. cattle imports were down 7.4 percent in March compared with one year ago. Monthly imports of cattle from Mexico were down about 1 percent while cattle imports from Canada were down 17 percent year over year.

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Small-grain cattle grazing in the Southwest and Southern Plains states is likely being hampered by drought and wildfires. Wildfires have burned hundreds of squares miles in the panhandle of Oklahoma and Texas as well as in southeast Kansas and eastern Colorado.

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Trade has been a hot topic in the news for the last several months, with discussions surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), border tariffs and most recently the Brazilian beef scandal.

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Depending on which side of the gate you’re on, it was heartening or worrisome to see cattle and beef prices recover coming into spring. Cattle markets are widely reported in farm and ranch media, but beef and competing protein prices underlie it all.

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