Weekly Livestock Market Update
■ The Choice beef carcass cutout finished last week at $281.04, gaining over $7.75 on the week and is now above levels from a year ago. Wholesale prices continue to move higher this week. Fed cattle show lists are shorter in most of the country’s cattle feeding areas. Harvest volumes have been decreasing since the beginning of the year with last week’s estimate of 627,000 head being 3,000 head below the previous week and 43,000 below the same week last year. The USDA will release a Cattle of Feed report and it will give a clearer picture of fed cattle supplies. The average trade estimate is for on feed inventories to be nearly 4% lower than a year ago. Winter weather in many parts of the nation added challenges to cattle movement this week. The average beef retail price for beef in January was $7.57/pound, 1.6% higher than December. Looking back further, the retail price is 29% higher than pre-COVID-19 levels of January 2019. A case of BSE was confirmed in Brazil this week. Brazilian protocols call for a voluntary suspension of beef exports to China in the event of a confirmed case. Brazil is the largest exporter of beef to China. #
■ Lean hog futures contracts were sharply higher on Tuesday of this week but lost the upward momentum on Wednesday and were mixed Thursday. There is discussion that futures prices are putting in lows, but that thought isn’t unanimous among traders. Cash hogs were $3 higher last week with the pork carcass cutout value up $1.75 last week to finish Friday at $82.09. Much like beef, pork wholesale prices continued to work higher this week. Last week’s estimated harvest of 2.505 million was 19,000 more hogs than the previous week and 23,000 more than the same week last year. While carcass weights have been lighter than last year, pork production in 2023 is still nearly 2% higher year-to-date due to higher weekly harvest totals. Pork’s retail average price in January was $4.79, down 9 cents from December. Identical to beef, that is 29% higher than January 2019. #
■ Cash lamb prices have been holding mostly steady. Lamb and mutton production is running 3.5% ahead last year by volume and 8% higher by head. Last week’s estimated harvest of 37,000 head was 2,000 head more than the previous week and 5,000 head higher than a year ago. The gross lamb carcass cutout value ended last week at $532.87 making it 71 cents lower on the week. #
■ The joint operation of Huth Polled Herefords and S&H Livestock Enterprises, LLC, in Oakfield was selected as one of seven regional winners of the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, made the announcement during the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans. A national winner will be selected in April. The Wisconsin Beef Council nominated Jerry Huth and Joshua Scharf for this honor. Jerry and Joshua are the first regional winners from Wisconsin to receive this award. #
■ Fed cattle prices at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets were steady to higher again this week. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought $135 to $160/cwt. Groups of high Choice and Prime lots sold from $160 to $169/cwt. The Holstein steer market was mostly steady to higher this week ranging from $115 to $143/cwt with a few packages selling to $148. Silage fed, under finished or heavy dairy breed steers brought $78 to $114/cwt. Dairy x Beef steers were bringing $107 to $150/cwt with a few to $155. Cows were $2 higher. A bulk of the cows brought $64 to $84/cwt with some selling into the high $90s. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $64/cwt and down. Dairy breed bull calves were steady, bringing $50 to $150/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves selling up to $200/cwt. Beef and Beef Cross calves were selling to $360/cwt. Shorn market lambs were bringing $135 to $150/cwt, with unshorn lambs bringing $130 to $145/cwt. Some lighter lambs sold to $175/cwt.
Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist.
–Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection