U.S. Herd Expansion Slowed in 2017

The USDA-NASS Cattle report was released last week and it reports the annual cattle inventory estimates for the U.S. There were no big surprises found in this report but it does provide support for the projections that cattle inventory is still expanding but at a slower rate than in past years.
Dissecting this report gives us a little more detail on specific numbers that are of interest to producers. … Continue reading

January 1 Cattle on Feed Report

The latest cattle on feed report showed the total number of cattle on feed was 8.3 percent higher on Jan. 1 2018 than it was on New year’s day in 2017. In total, 11.5 million head of cattle were in feedlots. This is the largest January 1 total since 2012.
Placements of lightweight cattle continued to outpace year-ago levels during December of 2017. … Continue reading

Cattle Market Outlook: LMIC’s Jim Robb in Mississippi

Jim Robb, Director and Senior Agricultural Economist at the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Colorado, spoke to the attendees at Mississippi Farm Bureau Winter Commodity Conference today. The topic was the outlook for the cattle and dairy markets. Jim has been an industry expert for many years and is one of the most respected analysts when it comes to the cattle markets. … Continue reading

Live Cattle Market Situation

Last week’s live cattle average price was just under $120 per cwt. This was the “5-area” average price which simply means that it was the average of the five major feeding and processing areas: Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico; Kansas; Nebraska; Colorado; and Iowa/Minnesota. The live cattle market is heavily influenced by beef demand as this is the stage of the beef production chain where cattle can be turned to beef. … Continue reading

International Trade and Cattle on Feed

Happy New Year! This week’s newsletter will focus on two main topics: (1) the latest international trade data released today and (2) the December Cattle on Feed Report released on December 22nd.
(1) The latest Livestock and Meat International Trade Data was released by USDA ERS today. Total beef and veal exports were up 2.65% during November of 2017 as compared to November 2016. … Continue reading

Rating Price Risk in Crop Insurance Markets

Barry Goodwin, Ardian Harri, Rod Rejesus and I just published a paper in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics examining the use of the Black-Scholes implied volatilities in rating crop revenue insurance.  For those not familiar with futures option implied volatility, it is derived from observed option premiums and known parameters of the option contract. Under certain assumptions it is the price volatility implied by the price of the option contract. … Continue reading

2017 in Review & Market Factors to Watch in 2018


We have covered a lot of ground in the cattle industry in 2017. It was a year that exceeded nearly all expectations in terms of cattle prices. 2017 ushered us out of the market lows we saw in late 2016 – we’ve probably all tried to forget those few weeks of 95 cents/lb. for 600-700 pound steers just 14 months ago. … Continue reading

2018 Cattle Market Outlook Radio Segment

Last week I recorded a segment on Farm and Family Radio with Amy Myers to discuss the 2018 Cattle Market Outlook (listen to the radio segment HERE). I thought the transcript of that conversation would be of interest to readers of this newsletter, too – so here it is!
Amy: Today, … Continue reading

Cattle on Feed Report

The latest cattle on feed report again shows strong placement totals. During the month of October 2017, placements were 10.2 percent higher than during October 2016 – some of which can be attributed to one additional slaughter day in October 2017. While higher than average pre-report estimates, this number was within the range of estimates. Still, … Continue reading

Impressive Beef Exports Continue

The latest trade data released last week showed that the impressive export totals continued through the month of September. Total beef and veal exports were 13.95 percent higher in September 2017 than in September 2016. Year-to-date, total exports are up 14.46 percent over the first nine months of 2016. In total pounds, exports are up about 263 million pounds YTD over last year. … Continue reading