Texas markets

Extreme heat cools deals in southern markets

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

Extreme heat in the south has caused some feedlot operators there to accept lower bids to move heat-stressed cattle. In other parts of the country, cattle feeders were expecting higher bids on the first three days of the week. Overall, the cash-fed cattle market is weaker.

The show slates are expected to be the biggest of the summer over the next two weeks. Market prices for cows are lower as cows continue to move to market from drought-stricken areas.

Wholesale beef prices were strong, with the Choice beef cut hitting its highest value of the summer on Tuesday ($272.56) before falling $2.04 on Wednesday. The harvest will likely be lower than last week’s estimate of 677,000 head.

The composite retail price for beef in June was $7.66 per pound, up 2.6% from a year ago. Ground beef prices are up 7.4% since the start of the year.

The USDA will release its Mid-Year Livestock Inventory and July Cattle Fed Report on Friday, July 22. The average trade estimate is that fed cattle inventories are slightly higher than a year ago.

Pork market trends keep analysts guessing

It has been difficult to predict short-term pork market trends. Pork cuts stocks continued their upward momentum ending last week at $122.18, a five-day gain of $5.30 and hitting $125.12 on Tuesday afternoon this week. Spot hog prices rose, although rising feed and other input costs made it difficult for hog producers to profitably.

Last week’s estimated harvest of 2.255 million pigs was 33,000 pigs less than the same week last year. The average hog price in June was $4.93 per pound and was up 8.6% from June 2021.

The latest agricultural export report showed a 13% improvement over the previous week with 20,600 metric tons of U.S.-raised pork sold to overseas buyers. Mexico was again the biggest buyer with 10,500 metric tons, of which 2,600 were sold to Japan and 2,500 to China.

Drought pushes market numbers up

Similar to large runs of calves weaned early in Texas auction markets due to the drought, lambs weaned early are also selling there in large numbers. However, herders and shepherds withhold the sale of their breeding herds.

Feeder and feeder lamb prices fell nationally last week. The sheep and lamb harvest was estimated at 33,000 head last week. Although this is 8,000 head more than the previous shortened holiday week, it is 7,000 head less than the same week last year.

Gross cut value of the lamb carcass was $605.77/cwt on Tuesday with a net carcass value (carcass value less processing/wrapping cost per cwt of $62.00) of 543, $77/cwt.

WI cultivation conditions

Wisconsin corn conditions improved one percentage point to 77% good to excellent in the latest weekly crop progress report. Iowa leads the Cornbelt with 81% of its harvest rated good to excellent. The condition of Wisconsin soybeans was 76% good to excellent, down two percentage points from the previous week.

The condition of all hay in the state was 83% good to excellent, up 2% from last week. Pasture condition was rated good to excellent at 74%, down one percentage point from last week.

State Market Overview

Prime beef steers and heifers at auction markets in Wisconsin and surrounding states were mostly inferior. High yielding, quality cattle fetched between $122.00 and $140.00/cwt. There have been reports of some fetching up to $143.00/cwt, with some High Choice and Prime type cattle with an overnight stall in the auction market selling for more.

Prime Holstein steers were again mixed this week at $100.00-$128.00/cwt with premium Holstein steers fetching $129.00-$133.00/cwt with some higher. Silage fed, underfed or heavy dairy steers fetched between $72.00 and $100.00/cwt. Dairy steers x beef fetched $107.00 to $144.00/cwt.

Cows were $5.00-$7.00 lower at $52.00-$75.00/cwt with some selling in the mid $80.00. Questionable health and lean cows fetched $52.00/cwt and below.

Dairy-bred male calves were lower, bringing in $50.00 to $125.00/cwt with heavier, well-groomed calves up to $175.00/cwt. Beef calves and crossbreeds fetched up to $365.00/head. Market lambs fetched between $100.00 and $160.00/cwt.