June Cattle on Feed Report Shows Inventory Up From a Year Ago – Farm Bureau News

The Cattle on Feed report provides monthly estimates of the number of cattle being fed for slaughter. For the report, USDA surveys feedlots of 1,000 head or more as this category of feedlots represents 85% of all fed cattle. Cattle feeders provide data on inventory, placements marketings and other disappearance.

The report showed a total inventory of 11.7 million head for the United States on June 1. This increase of 1.6% is slightly above average analyst expectations, as most industry analysts were predicting a year-over-year increase in feedlot inventories of 1.3%. 

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As usual, Texas, Nebraska and Kansas lead the way in total fed cattle numbers, accounting for just under 7.7 million head, or approximately 65% of the total on-feed inventory in the country. 

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While total inventories are an important component of the report, other key factors include placements (new animals being placed on feed) and marketings (animals being taken off feed and sold for slaughter). Typically, May tends to be a larger month for placements, in part due to animals moving off wheat pasture in the southern Plains, and other backgrounding operations elsewhere into feedyards. However, this May most analysts were predicting a rather significant drawback with a 4.1% decrease on average, and some analysts predicting as much as a 7% decline from a year ago. Placements in May totaled 2.06 million head, which is 3% below 2018 levels. Marketings in May were 2.07 million head, up 1% from a year ago and in line with the average analyst expectation of an increase in 0.8%. Moving forward, uncertainty in other commodity markets will spill into the cattle markets.  A result of historic delays in plantings, corn prices are likely to pressure feeder cattle lower as higher feed costs tend to depress what feedlots are willing to pay for feeder cattle. Excellent pasture and range conditions reported in USDA’s Crop Progress report combined with these higher feed costs may incentivize keeping animals on pasture longer, which could result in higher placement weights later on down the road.

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Reduced Cattle Trade Dominates Week's Market – Drovers Magazine

The lack of trade dominated the cattle market last week.

Texas feeders found $112 was the best bid available, and only a few thousand cattle sold at that price. In Kansas, market highs were just as disappointing, combined with the fact the majority of the cash cattle traded last will not deliver until July.

July delivery cattle traded at $110 with a handful of cattle later in the week bringing $111-$112.  Bids were hard to come by last week from any of the packers.  Most packers did not carry a bid, and only offered to call on cattle priced at $110 or lower. 

The north had more success in keeping their market in check with what happened last week. The northern cash trade ranged from $113 to $115 with most of the dressed trading at $184. 

Feeders will have their eye on the packers’ inventory with cattle trading very light last week nationally.  Harvest numbers have progressively increased, while the carcass weights and grades continue to drop.  The combination of higher kills and lower pounds and grade would indicate a potential positive influence on cash prices. This expected market outcome has  eluded cash traders for the past several weeks, and the answer to stop the free-fall of the cash market is still an unknown. 

Related stories:

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Flooding Leads to Cattle Rescues Around the Country – Drovers Magazine

High water in a number of states has forced cattle producers to take desperate measures to care and in some cases rescue livestock. Reports of flooding from South Dakota to Louisiana the past week on pasture land have shown the extent of damage that cattle raisers are dealing with during a near-record moisture year for many parts of the country.

Here is a breakdown of news stories from flooded areas during the end of May and start of June that show the lengths to which ranchers and farmers are going to care for cattle.  

Oklahoma Cowboys Rescue Stranded Cattle

In northeast Oklahoma, a group of cowboys have offered up their services to help save cattle that have been surrounded by floodwaters.

“We just refuse to sit back and watch these livestock drown because I mean, all of us own cattle,” says Cory Conley.

Cattle are being hauled out of the water with horses and boats in an effort to get cattle to higher ground.

A prison farm near Taft was forced to move cattle out of flooded pasture using a tractor and hay acreage appears to be wiped out by water.

“I’ve been at Jess Dunn for 20 years and have never even [seen] anything close to this,” says Terry Fry, with the Department of Corrections Agri-Services Division.

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In some cases cattle haven’t been able to be rescued. Rancher Larry Washom says the flooding is worse than what he endured in 1986 because he has lost cattle. He estimates that 28 cattle worth about $30,000 were killed by the flood.


Helicopters Deliver Hay in Arkansas

Hay was airlifted to cattle stranded along the flooded Arkansas River in Conway County, Arkansas, by Arkansas National Guard helicopters.

Below is a series of photos from the Arkansas National Guard showing the delivery effort that started on June 4:


200 Cows and Calves Moved Before Louisiana Flooding

Before the Morganza Spillway gates opened and flooded nearly 350 acres of pasture, Ricky Rivet, owner of Ricky Rivet Farms near Morganza, Louisiana, moved his whole herd out of the path on May 29.

“I don’t want to do this at all, but it’s something I have to do. I mean, this is the reality. This is going to happen and I have to do it,” Rivet says. He moved about 200 head of cows and calves out of the potential flood plain.

In an effort to relieve the Mississippi River the Morganza Spillway was opened, but it is estimated that the water released will flood about 25,000 acres. Approximately 10,000 acres is farmland with the remainder being timber or pasture land.


Levee Breach in Missouri Forces Horse and Cattle Rescue

When a levee breached near Levasy, Missouri, people went out on boats to lead horses and cattle out of the water.

Here are some social media posts by Ariel Rothfield from KSHB that show the rescue effort that involved removing cattle seeking shelter on a house’s front porch:


Kansas Ranchers Dealing with Flooding

Similar to other states, cattle producers in Kansas are also having to move cattle because of a glut of rain. Jeff Dewerff, a rancher near Ellinwod, has moved his cattle several times to avoid high water.

“It’s very dangerous for the little baby calves,” Dewerff says. “This water can sweep them away.”

He’s been dealing with problems like pneumonia and grass dying off following the continued flooding.


South Dakota Rancher Uses Kayak to Check Cattle

A rancher near Freeman, South Dakota, who can’t access his cattle with a truck or ATV has resorted to using a kayak as a means to look at his cows and calves.

“We tried to go through this field over here, but that was too wet,” says Patrick Hofer. “We almost got stuck with the four-wheeler so then Laura and I had the idea. Well maybe we should take a kayak down the creek.”


Managing Cattle on Flooded Pasture

Below is a video from Oklahoma State University Extension beef specialist David Lalman offering advice on how to feed and care for cattle that have been on flooded pasture:

For more on what you can do for cattle following a flood read the following articles:

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Cattle disease found in South Dakota herd – San Francisco Chronicle

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A disease that can cause cows to abort has been found in a cattle herd in southwestern South Dakota.

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board said Thursday that two bulls from a beef cattle herd in Oglala Lakota County have tested positive for the parasite-borne disease known as trich.

The board is working with the herd owner and their veterinarians to develop a management plan to control the disease, which is transmitted between cows and bulls during breeding and can cause early term abortions.

Producers often are unaware of the problem until the disease is established. Signs include a higher-than-expected number of non-pregnant and late-calving cows.

To prevent herds from becoming infected, producers should only purchase and use virgin bulls for breeding. Non-virgin bulls should be tested for trich prior to breeding.

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Cattle head off to greener pastures – Concord Monitor

<br /> Cattle head off to greener pastures<br />

  • A Scottish Highlander steer munches the grass at the St. Paul School pasture on Silk Farm Road in Concord. Courtesy of Carole Soule

  • A Highlander heifer and Hereford steer munch the grass on the first day of Cow Summer Camp at the St. Paul School, Audubon pasture on Silk Farm Road in Concord. Three tanks that hold 6,000 gallons of water and the cow taxi are in the background. Courtesy of Carole Soule

For the Monitor

Published: 5/24/2019 5:36:16 PM

Modified: 5/24/2019 5:36:03 PM

Miles Smith Farm Summer Camp is about to begin its 2019 season. This is not a typical summer camp. It opens in May and does not include swimming, archery or ghost stories. It’s selective about its clientele, too. Requirements include cloven hooves, a tail, and a love of green grass. This is a grazing camp, where cows can eat their daily fill of abundant, luscious forage.

All winter our cattle ate baleage: fermented hay that contains 50 percent more protein than non-fermented feed. They like the baleage, but they love the fresh green grass.

Grass starts out in early May as delicious tender shoots. Eating it at this stage would destroy the root system. (One inch of grass means there’s one inch of roots). Letting the grass grow six inches high means the root system is also six inches deep. A sound root system is required to aerate the soil and, during a drought, to reach underground moisture. Earthworms love aerated soil; they can burrow in it and add their own nutrients to the dirt. Good roots make for good soil, and good soil captures carbon dioxide and keeps it out of the atmosphere.

If the grass is best at six to eight inches, why not let it reach 12 or 14 inches? The taller, the better, right?

Not quite.

At 12 inches it gets dry, brittle, and goes to seed. Unless they’re starving, cattle will not eat the stuff. They will sleep in it and trample it, but won’t munch on it.

So, summer camp starts when the grass reaches six inches. Miles Smith Farm doesn’t have enough grass to feed the whole herd on our 37-acre farm, so we rent pastures. St. Paul’s School has leased us two fields; one near the Audubon on Silk Farm Road, and the other in the middle of the campus. The first day of camp will be at the Audubon pasture.

Before the campers arrive, Bruce removes trees that have fallen on the fence line, repairs damage from wildlife, and replaces broken fence posts. Since there is no water source at the Audubon pasture, a swimming pool company delivers 6,000 gallons of water to fill three tanks. Each cow drinks an amazing 20 gallons a day so 35 cattle – we keep 15 of them at home – will consume this water in 10 days. Not to worry, though. The water isn’t lost; 90 percent of it, greatly enhanced, is excreted back onto the ground and becomes the perfect fertilizer to improve soil and feed the grass.

We load selected cattle into the “Cow Taxi,” a 12-foot stock trailer, and transport them to camp. This will take several trips. Some of the cattle arriving in the pasture actually jump for joy. Eating and excreting sound like a poor selection of activities for a summer camp – but they are the cattle’s two favorites! Way better than braiding lanyards and singing around the campfire.

Of course, our jobs as food-service managers aren’t done. The 20-acre pasture is divided up so the cattle will efficiently graze it up, section by section. Opening up the next grassy paddock is like putting a fresh platter of cheeseburgers in front of hungry Boy Scouts. In addition to that kind of management, we have to keep the water tanks filled, while preparing the next pasture for use when this one is exhausted.

If you walk the paths around the Audubon pasture, you’ll be treated to a scene of contentment. You may find yourself envying the happiest campers on God’s green earth – where the siesta never ends, and the s’mores grow right out of the ground.

(Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm, where she raises and sells pork, lamb, eggs and beef. She can be reached at cas@milessmithfarm.com.)

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In The Cattle Markets: Beef Contribution in 2018 from Dairy Cattle – Drovers Magazine

By: Jared Geiser and Brenda Boetel, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Dairy cattle continue to be a significant contributor to the commercial U.S. beef supply. Despite growing beef cattle inventories since 2014, dairy animals have been a stable source of beef and continue to play a key role in filling U.S. beef demand. In 2018 the dairy sector contributed 5.6 billion pounds (21.0 %) of beef to the U.S. commercial beef supply from finished steers, finished heifers and cull cows. Although down from the peak of 24% in 2015, the dairy cattle contribution is still significant.

In 2018 total U.S. commercial beef production was 26.9 billion pounds, the highest production since 2002. Between 2002 and 2018 U.S. commercial beef production has ranged from a low of 23.7 billion in 2014 to a high of 27.0 billion in 2002, with dairy animals contributing 22% in 2014 and 18% in 2002. The contribution from dairy cattle varies based on the size of the native cattle herd and its contribution to the beef supply, as well as the number of cull dairy cows. The percentage of dairy beef contribution has ranged from 18% to 24%, while the actual pounds of dairy beef contribution have ranged from 4.7 to 5.7 billion pounds.

Finished dairy steers are the largest beef contributor from the dairy industry followed by cull cows and finished heifers.  In 2018 finished dairy steers contributed 3.37 billion pounds (12.6%) to the total pounds of beef harvested. Since 2002 dairy steers have made up between 10.8% and 14.7% annually.  Cull dairy cows contributed 1.8 billion pounds (7.0%) in 2018, and historically have made up from 5.8% and 8.0% of beef production since 2002. Finished dairy heifers contributed 419 million pounds (1.53%) in 2018, historically ranging from 0.6% to 1.7% of total beef production.

Additionally, dairy animals contribute to the amount of prime beef supply. With 85-90% of dairy animals being Holstein, Holstein steers contribute the largest portion of dairy beef. Between 2002 and 2018, Holstein steers have contributed between 32 and 60% of prime beef harvested in the U.S. In 2018 we saw the lowest percentage of prime beef (21.3%) contributed by Holstein steers since our data set began in 2002. Note though that the overall percentage of beef that graded prime increased to its highest level ever in 2018, at 8.3% of total U.S. beef production.

Dairy animals had a significant impact on U.S. beef production in 2018. With inventories of native cattle increasing the percentage of beef from dairy animals has reduced incrementally from the highs of 2015, but still remain a major part of U.S. beef production.

The Markets

Tuesday saw live cattle futures contracts lower, with June futures seeing the greatest decrease on limited trading. The market is concerned with recent trade reports showing year-over-year decreases in trade for both beef and pork.  Cash markets are also weak and may have posted their spring highs. Feeder cattle futures are weak, with May contract at the low.

Trade talks with Japan will add uncertainty to the market. Beef demand is strong, as can be seen in the Cold Storage Report, which reports beef stocks down 23.3 million pounds from February and 13.3 million pounds lower than March 2018.

Week of

Week of

Week of

Data Source: USDA-AMS Market News




5-Area Fed Steer

all grades, live weight, $/cwt




all grades, dressed weight, $/cwt




Boxed Beef

Choice Price, 600-900 lb., $/cwt




Choice-Select Spread, $/cwt




700-800 lb. Feeder Steer

Montana 3-market, $/cwt




Nebraska 7-market, $/cwt




Oklahoma 8-market, $/cwt




500-600 lb. Feeder Steer

Montana 3-market, $/cwt




Nebraska 7-market, $/cwt




Oklahoma 8-market, $/cwt




Feed Grains

Corn, Omaha, NE, $/bu (Thursday)




DDGS, Nebraska, $/ton




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LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle sink on fund liquidation, technical selling – Successful Farming

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) – U.S. live cattle futures fell
on Tuesday, with the actively traded June contract down
for a seventh straight session, as fund long liquidation and
technical selling pressured the market.

Before the latest selloff in cattle began, commodity funds
had built a record large net long position, and open interest in
the market had reached the highest on record.

Rainy weather and unseasonably chilly temperatures around
large parts of the United States has, meanwhile, blunted demand
for outdoor grilling of beef and other proteins, while supplies
have remained abundant. Recent stressful weather in some feedlot
areas had raised concerns about large weight losses in cattle.

“There is no shortage of cattle out there and the weight
loss that everybody thought we would see has not materialized,”
said Jeff French, analyst with Top Third Ag Marketing.

“Right now the money flow is wanting to get out of their
positions and this selloff could just be beginning,” he said,
referring to managed commodity funds.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) June live cattle futures
settled down 0.550 cent at 114.250 cents per pound, the
contract’s lowest since Dec. 7. August live cattle ended
down 0.775 cent at 111.775 cents per pound.

Feeder cattle futures followed live cattle futures lower as
funds liquidated long positions and as corn prices edged upward
on worries about rain-delayed U.S. planting.

August feeder cattle fell 1.925 cents to settle at
149.150 cents, a near-three-month low. May feeders, which
expire next month, hit a contract low and settled down 1.800
cents at 141.600 cents.

Lean hog futures were mixed as traders consolidated
positions following a multi-session slide.

Funds have also been liquidating long holdings on hogs, but
the market has been supported at times by strong prospects for
exports to China.

The world’s largest hog and pork market has been culling
hogs to try to control a severe outbreak of African swine fever.
Losses from the disease, deadly for hogs but not humans, is
expected to bolster China’s pork imports this year.

But in what could pose a challenge to U.S. pork exporters,
China has approved Argentine pork for export.

CME June lean hogs ended up 0.175 cent at 88.225
cents per pound and July futures fell 0.175 cent to
92.375 cents.
(Reporting by Karl Plume
Editing by James Dalgleish)

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