Further increases in beef cutout values expected into mid- or late May.

April 30, 2019

2 Min Read
semi truck hauling livestock
Stefonlinton/iStock/Getty Images

Beef: The two-tiered cash cattle market continued last week, although the price differentials narrowed. Cattle in the South at midweek were steady at mostly $126/cwt. live, although some weaker sales were reported late in the week. Producers in the North gave up $2, with live sales in the $127-128 range. Dressed sales declined to mostly $205/cwt., down $3 from the prior week. Cutout values were a little firmer last week, although they were modestly lower at the end of the week compared to the start of the week. The loin primal provided the strength, while the rest of the primals held steady. Further increases are expected on cutout values into mid- or late May. Given the additional 34,000 head placed in the first three months of 2019 and expectations for larger placement patterns to extend well into late summer, fed cattle harvests moving into the peak slaughter months (June through August) are expected to be well supplied.

Pork: Pork prices started rising quickly in March, with fears that the price increases might hinder cold stock levels. The forecast was such that stock building was suspected for helping support the price increases in March. This materialized, with ending levels in cold storage in line with the forecast and at healthy levels for product continuity when drawn down. Totals at the end of March revealed 610 million lb., on par with the prior year and the prior month. Levels fell short of the strongest March -- in 2015 -- by 62 million lb. (more than 10%). Typically, there is continual building of inventory levels in April with this forecast. Part of the reason for higher prices in April than many prepared for was due to continual stock building, shorting some of the marketplace on available fresh supply. Stock levels are expected to finish off before April is over, save for the hams.

Poultry: The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released an updated “Poultry Slaughter” report, which included monthly harvest and production totals for broilers and chickens processed during March. Young chickens slaughtered during March totaled 730 million head, or nearly 98.3% of the same monthly total reported a year earlier, according to USDA. While the March harvest was down from the prior year, there was one less processing day this year; accounting for this provided a 3.0% increase in broiler harvest compared with a year ago. Ready-to-cook (RTC) broiler meat production during March was down 2.4% from the previous year, at just 3.4 billion lb., but this was up 2.3% from the prior year on a daily basis. RTC broiler meat production was down 2.6% overall during the first quarter of 2019 compared with the prior year.

For a more detailed look at the weekly forecasts for the various .meat sectors and meat cuts, subscribe to the "Meat Price Outlook." Contact Susan Dahlgren at [email protected] for more information.

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Feedstuffs is the news source for animal agriculture

You May Also Like