Cattle Market Updates

Posted on: Oct 17, 2017

Nationally, the cattle market is improving. U.S. beef exports are outpacing 2016 levels and are expected to remain strong through the end of 2017, with an expected increase of 7.1 percent in the forth quarter. The growth of global market-share is attributed to the softening value of the dollar, challenges with Brazilian beef packer JBS, and growth in Asian markets, including Japan, where U.S. beef exports have increased by 27 percent year over year through July 2017, according to Northwest Farm Credit Service.

Market opportunities for cow-calf producers are improving as feeder calf futures climbed through September 2017 and continued to be well above last year’s lows. The increase in number of calves from 2017 to 2016 due to relatively inexpensive feeder calves purchased in late 2016 has yet to push prices to seasonal fall lows as demand has outpaced expectations throughout 2017, according to Northwest Farm Credit Service.

In the northwest, extremely poor pasture conditions as a result of fires and drought have led to increased cull rates and higher demand for feed in areas of eastern Montana and North Dakota. Otherwise feed costs have been stable across the Northwest.

More locally, sale prices continue to remain strong, and in some cases trend higher, according to the Wyoming Weekly Summary released by USDA AMS as of Oct. 7, 2017. At that point in time steer and heifer calves under 650 lbs sold mostly steady. Yearling steers and heifers also sold steady. Slaughter and feeder cows sold and slaughter bulls all trended higher. Young cow/calf pairs traded between $1,275 and $1,400 per pair and young bred cows sold between $1,175 and $1,385 per head.

In Montana, the fires and drought have combined to create a higher summer selloff, which has resulted in somewhat lower prices for breeding stock in select areas. Another effect is that calf prices have risen. Prices for calves have increased $60 to $80 a head or 20 percent higher, which equates to about $2.10 to $2.20 per pound compared to $1.80 last year on a 400-pound calf.

Post Categories: Industry News


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