November Live Cattle Imports Above 2015, Below Average

November live cattle imports from Mexico rose in November, while those from Canada declined slightly, but both rates were above year-earlier numbers and below the 2010-2014 average.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service put November live cattle imports from Mexico at 113,008 head, up 60,866, or 116.7%, in a seasonal spike from October’s 52,142.

Actually, November’s spike in imports from Mexico were a month late.  Records show that the fall spike in cattle imports from Mexico usually starts in October and goes through November.

The result was that November’s imports were above the 2015 rate of 95,032 head by 17,976, or 18.9%.  However, the November rate was 48,939 head, or 30.2%, below the five-year average rate of 161,946.

November US cattle exports to Mexico continued October’s meteoric rise but actual numbers fell far short of US imports.  USDA data show November exports to Mexico at 5,362 head, up 1,998, or 59.4%, from 3,364 in October and 4,838, or 923.3%, from 524 in September.

November exports to Mexico also were 2,541, or 90.1%, from 2,821 a year earlier and 3,916.6, or 271.0%, above the 2010-2014 average of 1,445.4.

US cattle imports from Mexico are mostly feeder cattle while US exports to Mexico usually are breeding stock.




At the same time, US cattle imports from Canada declined slightly from October, which was up only slightly from the September rate.  In November, the US imported 64,004 head of cattle from Canada, down 998, or 1.54%, from 65,002 in October and 378, or 0.59%, from 64,382 in September.

However, last year, US cattle imports from Canada declined more sharply in response to seasonal factors.  This put October and November imports above the same period last year but kept it below the 2010-2014 average since the average pace in those years was for a much steeper increase in October.

November US cattle exports to Canada also rose sharply in September, October and November, resulting in a rate that was higher than even the 2010-2014 average.  However, as with cattle exports to Mexico, US export numbers paled in comparison with imports.

USDA data showed the US shipped 7,202 head to is north-of-the-border partner in November, up 3,526, or 95.9%, from 3,676 in October and up 4662, or 183.5%, from 2,540 in September.

Compared with the November 2015 rate of 3,521 head, US cattle exports to Canada were up 3,681, or 104.5%, from 3,521.  November exports were up 3,062.6 head, or 50.0%, from the 2010-2014 average of 6,129.2.

US imports from Canada are mostly feeder cattle, although some dairy and breeding stock are included in the mix.  US exports consist mostly of breeding stock, but some dairy and feeder cattle can change hands as well.




Average fed exchange auction prices Wednesday were $1.35 per cwt higher at $120.52, versus $119.17 a week earlier.

Cash cattle then traded lightly at $120 to $121.25 on a live basis, steady to up $1.25 to $2.  No dressed-basis trades were reported but traded last week at $186 against the previous week’s $188.

The USDA’s choice cutout Wednesday was up $1.60 per cwt at $193.22 per cwt, while select was up $0.83 at $188.06.  The choice/select spread widened to $5.16 from $4.39 with 98 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $132.37 per cwt, down $0.19.  This compares with Wednesday’s Jan settlement of $131.00, up $0.07.