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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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It’s good news for the Midwest and Southeast in 2017, but the Pacific Northwest will likely encounter major drought. Why? “A new El Nino is coming,” said CattleFax meteorology analyst Art Douglas as he addressed the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Cattle Industry Convention (CIC) attendees in Nashville.

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After several years of strong net farm income, the recent decline in commodity prices, slow-to-adjust input expenses and falling net farm income is uncomfortably similar to the conditions producers faced in the 1980s, a period often referred to as the “farm financial crisis.”

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The Cattle on Feed report released by the USDA on Nov. 18, 2017 – reported 5 percent year-over-year lower cattle placements in October. The reduced pace of placements is likely to slow beef production increases in the first half of 2017.

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Although analysts project cattle prices to be lower than 2016 for year-over-year averages, several factors are poised to have a significant effect on 2017 cattle and beef markets and may change current price expectations.

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“Why do you hang on to your calves?” the beef economist asked cow herd owners in the room.

Scott Brown answered his own question: “Because their price is going up. Right?”

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Cattle prices in 2017 are expected to average close to fourth quarter 2016 levels, though they will be lower than 2016 for year-over-year averages. Several factors may have a significant impact on cattle and beef markets in 2017 and may change current price expectations. These factors bear close watching in the coming year.

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