Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist
Recent Stories by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist
The Cattle Inventory report from USDA offered few surprises.
December placements were up 0.8% year over year, slightly more than expected. This follows large year over year placement increases in September, October and November.
Drought conditions in the U.S. have expanded rapidly in recent weeks.
There is much interest in the market potential for U.S. beef in China since access was achieved in 2017.
Continued growth in beef production in 2018 is likely to pressure cattle and beef prices.
The latest Cattle on Feed report pegged the December 1 feedlot inventory at 11.512 million head, 108 percent of last year.
Increased beef consumption does not, by itself, indicate anything about beef demand.
The beef cow herd began recent expansion in 2014 growing 0.75 percent followed by more significant growth in 2015 (2.95 percent) and in 2016 (3.46 percent).
The latest weekly carcass weight data for the week ended November 18 showed steer carcass weights at 902 pounds for the third consecutive week.
Earlier in 2017, Oklahoma State University, in conjunction with USDA, conducted a comprehensive survey of Oklahoma cattle producers.
Strong stocker demand pushed calf prices counter-seasonally higher before Thanksgiving.
Current cattle markets are a series of bad news-good news. Bad news—cattle prices pulled back last week. Good news—the jump in prices earlier this month has current levels at or above most expectations.
Despite a seasonal decline, as of mid-October this year, calf and stocker prices are down only about two percent, indicating strong stocker demand despite larger calf supplies.
Wheat pasture has developed relatively slowly in Oklahoma so far this fall, but September prices for stocker steers and heifers average 14% to 18% higher than last year.
Cattle markets in 2015 transitioned from what 2014 was to more like what 2016 will be. Beef production will be up three to four percent annually from 2015 levels, which was the lowest since 1993.