Did Pumpkins Cost You More in October 2020 Than in Previous Years?

It depends on whether you will be carving a jack-o’-lantern, decorating, or baking a pumpkin pie. And if carving a jack-o’-lantern, on what size. The U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) surveys large retailers, and every week, publishes a national retail report of advertised specialty crop prices ending during a given period, usually an almost 2-week window. … Continue reading

What Can Google Searches Tell Us About Changes in Consumer Behavior Toward Food and Plants Beyond COVID-19?

Google Trends is an online tool that allows you to analyze the popularity of Google Search inquiries. If you enter a search term, the site randomly samples Google Search’s massive database to produce indicators of Google users’ past interest in that term. For a given region and time range, the site calculates an index between 0 and 100 for each point in time and produces a chart of interest over time, … Continue reading

September Seasonal Price Impacts

The past few weeks we have focused on market reactions to the Tyson beef plant fire (read again HEREHERE, and HERE). This event negatively impacted cattle prices and will remain a key topic throughout the Fall. But this is far from the only factor affecting cattle prices, … Continue reading

Price and Production Impacts

Special Note: News over the weekend reports that the U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle to a deal that would reduce tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Japan. There are few details now and the agreement is not formal yet, but overall it is great news for the beef industry. I’ve discussed how important a deal with Japan would be many times in this blog (see hereContinue reading

Week in Review and a Look Ahead

Wow, what a week. The fire at the Tyson and the crop production report pushed markets into a frenzy during the first few days of the week. Fears of a slowdown in slaughter pushed beef prices higher and live cattle prices lower. This drove up the margins for packers and gave a strong incentive to absorb some of the lost slaughter caused by the fire. … Continue reading

Some Hard Data on Lab-Grown Meat

Lab-grown meat (and plant-based meat) has been a major topic of discussion in cattle groups over the past few years. Most of this discussion has centered around questions and speculative answers. The first questions centered around “Can beef really be grown in a lab?” The answer to that one has proven to be yes. The next logical question is “how much will it cost?” … Continue reading

Cattle Cycle Dynamics

There were no big surprises in the recent July 1 Cattle Inventory report. The beef cow herd was estimated to be the same as a year ago while the number of heifers held back for replacements was lower than a year ago. These estimates were in line with what was expected following the January report.

There has been plenty written about the current cattle cycle topping out and this report was another piece of evidence supporting that story. … Continue reading

June Feeding Closeouts Dip into the Red

Cattle feeding closeouts turned negative in June for the first month in 2019. The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) calculations show the June closeout was -$60.66 per animal sold for feeding-out a 750-pound steer in a commercial Southern Plains feedlot. Similarly, calculations by Iowa State University (ISU) for steers placed as yearlings and calves and sold at slaughter-weight in June were also negative. … Continue reading

Level U.S. Cattle Inventory

USDA-NASS released the mid-year cattle inventory report last Friday. This is an annual report that estimates the number of cattle on July 1 each year. It is not as comprehensive as the January 1 report in that there is no state-by-state breakout. However, the information in the report is a useful look over time to get an estimate of the cattle inventory cycle. … Continue reading

Wettest Spring Since 1995 Leads to Lush Pastures

Range and pasture rated in either good or excellent condition as of July 7 stood at 69%, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) in their weekly crop weather bulletin. Last year, 51% of pasture were judged that favorable. At the other end of the spectrum, 8% of pastures were rated in poor to very poor in the latest week compared to 21% a year ago. … Continue reading