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"Cattle on Feed" report reveals largest total for month since 2011.

Beef: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) monthly “Cattle on Feed” report confirmed the market's expectation for larger placements, bolstering total on feed inventories as of Nov. 1, which were reported at 11.33 million head. The year-over-year change in on feed inventories, at 106.3% of the prior year, is the second- largest year-over-year increase and the third-largest absolute change for November since 1996. The range of pre-report placement estimates was double-digit wide for the fourth month in a row and, similar to last month's report, came in near the upper end of the range. Placements throughout the month of October were reported at 2.39 million head, 110.2% larger than the previous year, and further mounting additional supplies of cattle into 2018's late-winter to early-spring time frame.

Pork: As November closes, so does the September-to-November pig crop, specifically in regard to the available number of market hogs and how many of those are left over after getting processed through the system. This is a calculated number, of course, based on the available market hogs in each weight category, distributed throughout the specific quarter and tallied against animals harvested throughout the same time period. The number of hogs and pigs on farms as of Sept. 1 was 73.549 million. Not all of those were going to be harvested, but the potential was there for a strong majority (up to 67.462 million) of those to end up on the packer's floor. In figuring the number of animals actually processed through packers, however, the pig crop report implied that there could have been more. This implied pig crop time table suggests that 3.2% more hogs may have been processed compared to the same time last year.

Poultry: The USDA “Chicken & Eggs” report released last week showed broiler-type egg production up 2.8% from year-ago levels for October, totaling 1.083 billion. On a cumulative basis, broiler-type egg production in 2017 stands at 10.46 billion, representing a 0.6% increase from the January-to-October 2016 period. In addition, the report provided estimates on broiler-type layer inventories, which averaged 57.1 million for October. This was a rather robust improvement over October 2016, despite the marginal increase from the prior month. Flock adjustments are projected to show moderate fluctuations over the next several months but remain substantially higher than was afforded to the industry the prior year. The primary incentive for increased layer supplies continues to be lower productivity and hatchability rates from the current flock. During October, the chicks hatched per layer total remained just shy of 14 per layer, at 13.9, which was up slightly from September but down exactly 4% from 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.

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