Ross Bronson, Ag Risk Consultant, Redd Summit Advisors
Cattle Market Report
Live cattle have continued their steady climb as packers are starting to feel the crunch of their cow slaughter numbers being down. The question now is how long it will take until the higher cattle prices move on to the consumers. Then, how the consumers will react in their spending. Feeder cattle are still lagging, but it does seem that they have started to rally a bit the last little while. My opinion is that we are just slowly moving down the line and will see the focus on the lack of fed cattle move on to the lack of feeder cattle. That will most likely happen sooner than later as cattle move out of the pens and on to the rail. I watched 450-pound heifers go for $221 at my local sale barn last Friday. Right now, that is the exception not the rule, but I still see those prices on the horizon. Especially as we continue to watch precipitation move through a lot of the county. Carcass weights have been down adding to the struggles keeping beef moving through.
Grain Market Report
Corn has been in a strong downward trend the last week or two. I imagine this is a driver behind the continued increase in fed cattle prices. It sounds like Brazil is having strong grain crops and will hopefully offset struggles in other South American countries like Argentina. A lot of talk concerning the next crop season with strong plantings forecasted for both corn and soybeans. Snow on the fields helps optimism for good moisture this year.
Sheep Market Report
Lamb prices are higher as Easter and Eid al-Fitr approach. Hamilton was higher this week, as was Fredericksburg and Goldthwaite. San Angelo came in steady to $10 higher. The USDA estimated domestic lamb and mutton meat production for the week ending February 18th totaled 2.41 million pounds on a 37,000 head slaughter this week compared to 2.24 million pounds and 35,000 head the previous week. Imported lamb and mutton meat for the week ending February 11th totaled 6.67 million pounds which is 302 percent of the domestic production for the same period.
Hay Market Report
Retail is steady in the alfalfa market. However, in general things are mostly status quo. There does seem to be more hay in the barn coming into the last parts of winter than most expected. It is middle to low quality hay though. Dairies and ranchers are buying on an as need basis, and exporters are still not doing much.