Livestock Feeding To Remain Economical

US livestock and poultry feeding was expected to remain economical for the foreseeable future after the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service caught grain markets flat-footed Thursday with an unusually large 3.6-bushel-an-acre jump in its US yield estimate for corn.

The result was a boost in estimated corn production to a record 14.578 billion bushels.  The resulting lower price estimates prompted NASS economists to raise “feed and residual” and “export” use by 75 million bushels each.

But slipping below the radar for many was the USDA’s World Outlook Board’s forecast for lower red meat and poultry production for 2017 in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.  Lower beef, pork and turkey production forecasts more than offset calls for higher broiler production.

The report showed an estimate for total US red meat and poultry production of 100.430 billion pounds, down 156 million pounds, or 0.16%, from the October estimate of 100.586 billion.

For 2018, the total red meat and poultry forecast was raised from the October report to 103.611 billion pounds from 103.335 billion as higher expected beef and pork production more than offset anticipated reductions in turkey production.  This was a gain of 276 million pounds, or 0.27%.




The 2017 beef production estimate was reduced by 149 million pounds, or 0.56%, to 26.400 billion pounds from 26.529 billion in the October report on slower expectations for fourth-quarter marketings for fed cattle along with expectations for lighter carcass weights.

The 2018 beef production estimate, however, was raised 325 million pounds, or 1.19%, to 27.620 billion pounds from 27.295 billion last month.  Higher expected placements late this year and in first-half 2018 were forecast to support higher marketings and fed cattle slaughter.  However, carcass weights were expected to be slightly lower.

Beef imports for 2017 were forecast to be higher than in the October report, but no changes were made to the 3.030-million-pound 2018 beef import forecast.  Specifically, 2017 beef imports were forecast at 2.966 billion pounds, up 9 million pounds, or 0.30%, from 2.957 billion in the October report.

Beef export predictions for 2017 and 2018 were raised from the October report on expectations of strong demand for US beef.  The new 2017 export prediction was 2.855 billion pounds, up 21 million, or 0.74%, from 2.834 billion in October.

The 2018 beef export forecast was raised to 2.970 billion pounds from the October estimate of 2.910 billion, a gain of 60 million, or 2.06%.




Cattle price predictions were raised for 2017 and first-half 2018.  The new 2017 price prediction was $121.80 per cwt, up from $119.55 in the October report.

For 2018, the new annual price prediction was placed in a range from $113 to $122 per cwt, up from the October prediction of $111 to $120.




About 465 head of fed cattle sold on the Livestock Exchange video auction Wednesday at $124 per cwt, up $4 from a week earlier.

Light trade was reported Tuesday in the Plains at $124 per cwt on a live basis, steady to $1 lower than the bulk of last week’s action.  More trading was reported Wednesday at $123 to mostly $124 and at $191 to $194 on a dressed basis, down $1 to up $3 from last week.

The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was down $0.39 per cwt at $212.74, while select was off $0.59 at $198.30.  The choice/select spread widened to $14.44 from $14.24 with 72 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $158.98 per cwt, down $0.03.  This compares with Thursday’s Nov settlement of $158.47, up $1.15.