Cattle report on target with trade expectations – Wisconsin State Farmer

Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports.

The March 19 Cattle on Feed Report offered little in the way of surprises. The on feed number totaled 12.0 million head on March 1. While that number is 2 percent higher than a year ago and represents the second largest March 1 on feed number since the report began in 1996, it was on target with trade expectations

Placements into feedlots in February were 2 percent below last year and marketings were almost 3 percent lower than a year ago. Cash cattle are $1.00/cwt higher this week, after being stuck on steady for six weeks. Wholesale beef prices are higher this week, with the Choice carcass cutout value at $236.45 Thursday afternoon.

Carcass weights were a pound higher than the previous week at 871, but that’s still 2 pounds lighter than the same period last year. Harvest was estimated at 624,000 head last week, almost 4 percent lower than the previous week. Weekly export sales were for 18,900 metric tons of US raised beef. While that is a drop from the previous week, it is 37 percent higher than the same week a year ago.

Hog supplies boosting prices

It’s been a year since COVID-19 plant slowdowns and temporary closures slowed the pork supply chain. Hog supplies are now boosting prices and that’s quite a change from 2020. Cash hogs and pork cutouts are higher again this week. In fact, last on March 19, the pork cutout was $27 higher than the same time last year. The pork cutout value was $109.24 Thursday afternoon. 

Harvest estimates for last week came in at 2.524 million head. The USDA released their latest Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report Thursday. Unlike the Cattle on Feed report, this report was a shock as every data point came in below the low end of trade estimates.

All hogs and pigs nationally are down1.8 percent from the same report in 2020. Hogs kept for breeding was 2.5 percent lower than a year ago and hogs kept for marketing was 1.8 percent lower. Sows farrowed December through February was almost 1 percent lower and farrowing intentions for the remainder of 2021 are down as well.

The latest export report indicates 38,700 metric tons of US raised pork was sold to foreign buyers. That is equal to the same week a year ago. China purchased 10,000 metric tons of that total. Swine herd expansion certainly continues in China as evidenced by their large purchases of corn and soybean meal recently. China’s purchase of pork and 3,600 metric tons of beef this week shines some light on the slowdown African Swine Fever (ASF) is having on that expansion, however. 

Household meat, poultry purchases at record high

Household meat and poultry purchases are at a record high. A study called the Power of Meat was conducted by 210 Analytics on behalf of FMI—The Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute’s Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education. It was released during the American Meat Conference.

Grocery sales of meat rose by 20 percent from 2019 to 2020. The number of Americans who agree meat belongs in a healthy diet rose by 20 percent during the pandemic. Total of American households purchasing meat in 2020 was 98.4 percent with 43 percent saying they buy more meat than before the pandemic, mostly due to the increase in meals prepared at home. 

The proportion of meals prepared at home peaked in April 2020 at 89 percent and remained at 84 percent in December. The number who purchased groceries online rose by 40 percent in 2020 with 59 percent of online shoppers expecting to continue purchasing the same amount of meat online during 2020.

Wisconsin markets remain steady

Choice beef breed steers and heifers at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were fully steady to $1.00/cwt higher. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought 92.00 to 111.00/cwt. with some groups $112.00 to $116.00. Choice and Prime Holstein steers were bringing $88.00 to $98.00/cwt.

There were several reports of high-yielding, calf-fed, Holstein steers with an overnight stand selling from $98.00/cwt to $100.00/cwt. Silage fed, under finished or heavy dairy breed steers brought $70.00 to $90.00/cwt. Dairy x Beef steers were mostly $92.00 to $105.00/cwt. 

Cows were higher at $47.00 to $62.00/cwt. Blemish free cows in fleshier condition were selling to the low $70’s. Dairy breed bull calves were steady at $50.00 to $100.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $150.00/cwt. Beef and Beef Cross calves brought up to $265.00/cwt. 

Market lambs remain lightly tested. 110 to 140 pound lambs sold in a wide range, topping at $205.00/cwt for new crop lambs. 

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Illinois Beef Expo lets young ranchers showcase their cattle – HOI ABC

PEORIA (HOI) — This weekend, the famous Illinois Beef Expo made its way to the Peoria Expo Gardens.

Cattle ranchers young and old came together to have fun and boast their beef.

Sunday’s events included a cattle trade show and a heifer show – which featured young female cows judged on characteristics like size and muscle structure.

11-year old William Miller brought his cow, Fluffy, to the show Sunday. He said he has attended events like this for several years.

“I started this when I was eight – I was raised on a cattle farm in Gridley,” Miller said. “It’s a lot of fun. You get to go new places, meet new people and have fun with your animal.”

The first Illinois Beef Expo was held in 1988. Now, more than 700 animals are evaluated annually by the judges.

For more information on upcoming events, visit the Illinois Beef Expo website at

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LIVESTOCK-Cattle, hog futures firm as U.S. stimulus plan fuels optimism – Successful Farming

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, March 8 (Reuters) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange
(CME) live cattle futures firmed on Monday, recovering from a
seven-week low hit last week, on optimism that the $1.9 trillion
COVID-19 relief bill will spur the U.S. economy and bolster
demand for meat, traders said.

CME April live cattle futures settled up 0.325 cent
at 119.350 cents per pound, with June up 1.150 cents at
119.150 cents a pound.

CME April feeder cattle futures settled 0.650 cent
higher at 139.675 cents per pound.

Traders shook off pressure from expectations of lackluster
cash cattle trade this week and softening wholesale beef prices.

“The market is trying to push through that, and look more
toward this stimulus. And, we are getting closer to grilling
season,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S.

After the stimulus bill won U.S. Senate approval on
Saturday, President Joe Biden said he hoped for quick passage by
the House of Representatives so he could sign it and send $1,400
direct payments to Americans.

Hog futures also firmed on hopes that the COVID-19 relief
bill would spur consumer demand.

Most-active CME April lean hog futures ended up 0.125
cent at 87.300 cents per pound on Friday, hovering below a
life-of-contract high of 90.675 cents on Feb. 25.

Optimism about export demand for U.S. pork lent support as
China, the world’s biggest pork consumer, struggles to stamp out
African swine fever in its massive hog herd.

China imported 1.6 million tonnes of meat in the first two
months of the year, customs data showed on Sunday, up 27.6% from
the same period a year earlier.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said it
will crack down further on illegal production and sales of
African swine fever vaccines. Industry insiders believe that use
of illicit vaccines has caused a new, chronic form of the
disease that is more difficult to detect.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Olymel LP began to gradually reopen its
Red Deer, Alberta, pork processing plant on March 4 after a
temporary closure due to COVID-19 infections, a spokesman said.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; editing by Richard Pullin)

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Click For Restrictions –

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NCBA Welcomes Discussion on Cattle Market Transparency Act – Drovers Magazine

Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) today introduced the Cattle Market Transparency Act in the U.S. Senate. If enacted, this legislation would direct the Secretary of Agriculture and the Office of the Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish regional mandatory minimums for negotiated trade of fed cattle. It would also direct USDA to establish a library of cattle formula contracts, amend the definition of “cattle committed” to expand the delivery window from seven to 14 days, and clarify confidentiality rules for administering Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR).

“Cattle producers continue to face serious obstacles when it comes to increasing profitability and gaining leverage in the marketplace,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “Leveling the playing field and putting more of the beef dollar in producer pockets remains the top priority of this association. NCBA shares Senator Fischer’s objectives, as do its affiliates and indeed the entire industry. The best way to achieve those objectives, however, continues to be hotly debated by the very cattle producers this legislation would directly impact. We have worked and will continue to work alongside our affiliates, Congress, and USDA toward regionally robust negotiated trade, the establishment of a cattle contract library, and commonsense in USDA’s rules of confidentiality by taking direction from our membership through the grassroots policy process.”

Cattle producers make science-based, costly investments in cattle genetics and feeding innovations in order to improve the quality of their product. Formula pricing agreements pay producers a premium for this more desirable beef, allowing them to capture more of the beef dollar. The details of these agreements, however, vary widely and this lack of transparency can potentially act as a barrier to producer profitability. A cattle contract library, similar to the existing USDA swine contract library, will help producers evaluate their marketing options and make more informed decisions for their business.

USDA currently reports the number of cattle committed to meatpackers in seven-day increments. Expanding this to 14 days will help producers better anticipate packer needs for cattle and increase their leverage as prices are negotiated.

LMR is an Act of Congress which requires large meatpackers to report market information to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), who then release it to the public. AMS is also mandated by LMR to keep the “proprietary business information” of reporting entities confidential. In some major cattle feeding regions, like Colorado, USDA’s rules of confidentiality oftentimes prevent any price information from being publicly available. Cattle producers rely upon transparent reporting of transaction prices to make marketing decisions. By clarifying Congress’ intent behind LMR, USDA can equip producers with the data they need to make critical marketing decisions while still protecting sensitive business information.


Cattle producers have long witnessed the decline of negotiated trades in the fed cattle complex, and NCBA has been at the forefront of this conversation. While the use of formulas, grids, and other alternative marketing arrangements (AMAs) help cattle producers manage risk and capture more value for their product, these AMAs depend upon the price discovery that occurs in the direct, buyer-seller interactions of negotiated transactions. Current academic research has shown that more negotiated trade is needed to achieve “robust” price discovery within the industry, but each of the five USDA reporting regions contributes to this price discovery differently. To truly contribute to an environment with robust price discovery, policies must factor in the unique characteristics of each reporting region.

Last July, at NCBA’s 2020 Summer Business Meeting, the Live Cattle Marketing Committee heard a wide range of disparate viewpoints from producers on this issue and spent hours in debate to arrive at a compromise. The resulting grassroots policy states that, “NCBA supports a voluntary approach that 1) increases frequent and transparent negotiated trade to regionally sufficient levels… and 2) includes triggers to be determined by a working group of NCBA producer leaders.” The policy further states, “if the voluntary approach does not achieve robust price discovery…and triggers are activated, NCBA will pursue a legislative or regulatory solution determined by the membership.”

In August of 2020, NCBA President Marty Smith appointed a subgroup of the Live Cattle Marketing Working Group to develop the triggers required by the member-approved policy. The voluntary framework — now two months into the implementation phase — established a series of triggers to evaluate negotiated trade volumes in each region and benchmarks for improvement. The subgroup is led by a group of producers from various regions with wide-ranging perspectives and opinions on this issue, and still meets regularly to discuss new and innovative solutions to this issue.

NCBA’s grassroots policy process is the tried-and-true venue for the entire cattle industry, from seedstock producers to cow/calf operators to cattle feeders, to work together on complex issues toward common goals. Everyone has a seat at the table, and all are welcome to join.

Related stories:

Fischer, Wyden Introduce Cattle Market Transparency Act of 2021

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Linn County man charged with neglect after cattle die on his property – KCRG

LISBON, Iowa (KCRG) -A Linn County man was arrested on animal neglect charges after authorities say cattle living on his property were not being properly cared for, resulting in the death of some of the livestock.

Brian Greazel, 43, of Mount Vernon, was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon and charged with Livestock Neglect Resulting in Death, a serious misdemeanor.

On February 11th, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of neglected cattle on a property located at 81 Linn Ridge Rd. in rural Lison.

Authorities say that when deputies arrived, they discovered numerous deceased cattle.

An investigation conducted by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and a veterinarian with the Iowa Department of Agriculture determined that the Angus breed beef cattle on the property were being neglected of sustenance, shelter and other care.

Sheriff’s deputies attempted to work with Greazel and a local veterinarian to ensure the remaining cattle were properly cared for but, after checking back on the livestock at a later date, several more cattle were found deceased.

On Monday, February 15th, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant and successfully rescued 18 head of cattle from the property.

The Iowa Farm Animal Care organization, the Iowa Beef Industry Council, and the Iowa Cattleman’s Association all assisted the Linn County Sheriff’s Office in finding and transporting the cattle to a safe location once they were rescued.

Authorities say Greazel was not living at the property where the cattle were located.

Copyright 2021 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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Profit Tracker: Cattle, Hog Margins Improve – Drovers Magazine

Cattle feeding margins improved $60 per head last week to an average of $85, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Most of the inputs into closeouts are similar to year ago – except cash cattle are trading $5 per cwt. below last year. A year ago cattle feeders saw average profits of $160 per head as negotiated prices averaged $119.

Total costs for finishing a steer averaged $1,462 per head, about $6 per head higher than the second week of February last year.

Cash prices paid to cattle feeders the week ending Feb. 12 averaged $113.76 per cwt., or about $0.25 per cwt. higher than the previous week. Packer margins declined $22 per head, yet remain historically large at $367. The result is a packer/feeder margins spread of $282 per head, down $85 from the previous week’s $367.

Beef packer capacity utilization was estimated at 83.9%, down 5.7% from the previous week, with an estimated 611,000 head slaughtered. A year ago packer capacity was estimated at 86.3% with a weekly kill of 621,342 head. Carcass weights this year are running 12 pounds heavier at 846 pounds.

Beef packer leverage in the current market is evident in the fact cash cattle prices are $5 per cwt. lower than the same week a year ago, yet the beef cutout price was $22 per cwt. higher. A year ago packers saw profits of $77 per head while feeding margins were $160 per head. The Beef and Pork Profit Trackers are calculated by Sterling Marketing Inc., Vale, Ore.

Farrow-to-finish pork producers saw their margins in positive territory for the second consecutive week,  with profits of $14 per head. Lean carcass prices traded at $69.10 per cwt., an increase of $4.61 per cwt. from the previous week, and $13 per cwt. higher than a month ago. A year ago pork producers lost an average of $20 per head.

Pork packer margins averaged a profit of $29 per head, down $1 per head from the previous week, but $14 per head higher than last year. Pork packer capacity utilization was estimated at 94.8%, compared to 92.2% a year ago.

Sterling Marketing president John Nalivka projects cash profit margins for cow-calf producers in 2021 will average $123 per cow. For feedyards, Nalivka projects an average profit of $43 per head in 2021, and packer margins are projected to average $251 per head.

For farrow-to-finish pork producers, Nalivka projects 2021 will produces losses of $13 per head. Pork packers are projected to earn $37 per head in 2021.

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Varilek's Cattle Call: Cattle Deliveries | – Tri-State Livestock News


We saw another excellent finish to the cattle futures trade last week with April live cattle closing above $125/cwt. It was not without hiccups that it was able to accomplish that. Southern feedyards delivered several contracts of cattle against the February board during the delivery process. The February futures were carrying a significant premium to cash prices, so it was a move to narrow up the out of line basis. After two days of heavy deliveries, the funds were back to there ways of running in with buy orders in my opinion. Friday’s close showed another 55 deliveries that the futures will have to react to on Tuesday with the markets closed Monday.

The lean hog market is also picking up steam to provide a helpful boost to cattle prices possibly. The supply of hogs looks abnormally tight with packers searching for hogs to keep up. It is rare that packers are out searching for them with an industry that typically does not trade open cash hogs. The demand for all meats is outstanding, and the limited supply of hogs has summer hog futures trading over $90/cwt. China is also experiencing some disease issues alongside the United States fighting PRRS.

Keep a close eye on the carcass weights for singnals of feedyards becoming current. It does not appear to be soon but always seems to show up when nobody expects it. Winter finally showed up across cattle feeding country to maybe provide some friendly market talk with gains being suppressed with the extremely cold weather. I am sure the grill still works in the cold weather so keep it fired up and have a good week.

Scott Varilek, Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading

The risk of loss when trading futures and options is substantial. Each investor must consider whether this is a suitable investment. Past performance is not indicative of future results.


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Big crowd turns out for annual cattle drive – Yakima Herald-Republic

ELLENSBURG — More than 225 cows sauntering down the road created a welcome spectacle in the Yakima River Canyon on Saturday.

Longtime rancher Don Akehurst — still riding his horse at 89 years old — said he’d never seen so many people come out during his 10 or 15 years participating in the annual Eaton family cattle drive, including two years coordinating the effort. Cars lined the canyon road and packed the parking lots near Big Pines Campground as people waited for a glimpse of the unique trek to the Eaton ranch.

Some, like Dianne LaBissoniere, attend every year to take advantage of an ideal opportunity for amateur photographers. Others merely stumbled into the experience while trying to take the scenic drive through the canyon.

“We were gonna go surprise Mom at work at Costco,” said Brian Robinson, who was with his two children, 5-year-old Apollo and 7-year-old Iris. “It’s cool for them because they get to see it. I don’t think they’ve ever seen anything like that before.”

Akehurst and LaBissoniere agreed that so many events getting canceled over the last 11 months likely brought out more people than usual. Near-perfect weather with temperatures in the 50s only added to the cattle drive’s appeal.

David and Dianne Stoothoff drove up from Yakima and waited for more than an hour to see the cows turn onto the canyon road off of Burbank Creek Road  around 10:15 a.m.

Perhaps the best view belonged to Marty Stingley, who rode in a pickup slightly ahead of the cattle and the lead horseback riders, including her grandsons Jace and Ryker Stingley.

“In our minds it’s still the Eaton cattle drive and it’s honoring their legacy,” said Stingley, whose family has largely taken over the drive and supplied most of the cows headed to Eaton Ranch in recent years. “To just keep the ranching industry alive, as it were, in any way, is an honor.”

Adyson Eaton, 12, carried on her family’s tradition by participating in the cattle drive for the first time atop her pony, Prince. She took on responsibilities such as blocking off driveways to ensure the cows, many of whom are bearing calves, stayed on the right course.

But the toughest work came the day before, when Debby Jackson and a small group of riders spent about four hours rounding up the cattle in preparation for their 6-mile journey. She’s helped the Eatons move cows to pastures where they can be more closely observed while calving every winter for the last 15 years.

Jackson and others don’t always love seeing spectators, since they sometimes get in the way and make the job more difficult. Beneitta Eaton recalled seeing a large crowd during their very first drive, and she and her husband still marvel at how their conventional way of moving cattle has attracted attention throughout the West.

“It’s an experience that not many people have to be that in tune with nature and everything,” said Beneitta, who met the group at Big Pines while the cows took a break near the river. “You wouldn’t want to take that away from memories that people have.”

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