Year-to-date 2018 export values for beef and veal exports have the highest value of meat and poultry products, averaging $2.36 per pound, driven largely by high-value markets in Asia, said the USDA in a recent report.
And, despite representing less than 0.1% of total 2018 US animal protein export volumes, lamb and mutton shipments have the second highest unit value, with a YTD average of $2.28 a pound, the USDA said.
The unit value for turkey, $1.02 per pound, closely approximates the unit value of turkey shipments to Mexico, which constitute more than 64% of the US turkey export market, the USDA said.
The unit value of pork, $0.99 a pound, is heavily influenced by markets in Japan, which are higher value, South Korea (mid-value markets) and Mexico (lower value markets).
Finally, broiler exports, which are dominated by lower-value dark meats, have the lowest unit value at $0.46 a pound, the USDA said,
Fourth-quarter 2018 likely will be characterized by feedlots feeding cattle longer than previously expected, lowering expected fourth-quarter fed cattle slaughter and the 2018 commercial beef production forecast to 26.9 billion pounds from 27.05 billion the previous month, the USDA said.
The beef production forecast for 2019 was raised 190 million pounds to 27.9 billion on greater expected placements in second-half 2018 and first-half 2019, leading to more fed cattle being marketed and slaughtered in 2019, the USDA said. However, carcass weights were lowered for the early part of 2019.
Based on the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Cattle on Feed report, net placements in August in feedlots with 1,000 head or greater capacity reached 2.1 million head, 7.2% above year-earlier levels, and September placements totaled 2.05 million, 5% below 2017.
For the first 2 months of second-half 2018 (July-August), net placements were 7.2% higher year over year. Placements typically increase seasonally month over month from July through October.
Feedlot placements in September, October and November 2017 exhibited large year-over-year growth from the same period in 2016. The USDA said last fall, dry conditions in much of the Southern Plains affected potential winter forage availability. It is likely that much of the year-over-year increase in placements in fall 2017 was the result of calves that might have gone on winter pasture going directly into feedlots instead.
This year, increased availability of winter forage, a larger calf crop and higher cattle imports than last year likely support the availability of feeder cattle for pen and pasture, the USDA said. The number of feeder cattle marketed in July-September was up 5.6%, based on the AMS National Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary report.
The fed cattle price forecast for fourth-quarter 2018 was raised from last month, but the 2019 price forecast was left unchanged.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Cash cattle traded early last week at $111 to $112 per cwt on a live basis, up $0.50 to $1 from the previous week, and at $174 to $175.50 dressed, steady to up $0.50. Then on Friday, cattle traded at $114 to $115 live, up $3.50 to $4, and at $180 dressed, up $5 to $6.
The USDA choice cutout Thursday was up $1.62 per cwt at $218.55, while select was up $0.22 at $204.25. The choice/select spread widened to $14.30 from $12.90 with 81 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
There were 24 steer delivery tenders and no other retenders, demands or reclaims Thursday.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday, was $154.18 per cwt, up $0.05. This compares with Thursday’s Nov settlement of $153.30, down $0.17.