Unprecedented beef cow cull rate of 13.5% expected in 2022

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

Feedlot operators started the week asking for higher prices and packers offering stable money compared to last week. The country’s trade was too light to identify a price trend, and prices in auction markets were mixed.

It is still unclear where the number of beef cows will end up given the liquidation and mass culling in the dry parts of the country. However, Lance Zimmerman, a North American beef analyst at Rabobank, told DTN earlier this month that “we are on course to have a slaughter rate of beef cow herds this year at 13, 5%.

“We’ve never seen such a high kill rate. It’s an extreme that we’re going to have to digest and it’s a paradigm shift for analysts who earlier this year thought the odds of seeing the The stock bottoms of 2014 and 2015 weren’t likely. Well, they seem pretty likely now.

Last week’s crop estimate of 638,000 head was 40,000 head lower than the previous week and 17,000 head higher than the same week last year.

Wholesale beef prices rose on lower production, but that wasn’t enough to erase losses earlier in the week, ending Friday at $259.42, down $3.45 from to the previous Friday.

This week’s short production schedule will provide continued support for wholesale prices. Beef production in the fourth quarter is expected to fall 5.1% from the fourth quarter of last year. Some analysts report that retailers want to buy beef now, fearing they will be caught out later if they don’t buy now.

Record turkey prices on the horizon?

Pork production in the fourth quarter of 2022 is expected to decline 1.6% from a year ago. It is reasonable to believe that the seasonal lows are being established.

Some analysts predict record turkey prices as the holiday season approaches. This could benefit the pig to a large extent. The prices don’t make it too attractive for countries looking for pork, but rising pork prices in China could cause the country to look to the United States. However, more COVID-19 related shutdowns and reports of a weakening economy there could negatively impact the opportunity.

China released the first batch of pork from its central reserves this week ahead of the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday. The estimated pig harvest last week was 2.350 million head, 55,000 head down from the previous week and 17,000 head up from the same week last year. Lower ham and belly primals drove pork carcass cut value lower last week, ending Friday at $102.25, down nearly $3.75 from the week former.

Lamb market price

USDA Market News called market lambs $5.00 to $20.00/cwt higher last week, noting that “very, very heavy” lambs were selling for $5.00 to $15.00/cwt. less cwt. Gross lamb carcass value was lower at $561.25 on Wednesday this week.

The estimated sheep and lamb harvest last week totaled 32,000 head, equivalent to the previous week and 4,000 head less than the same week a year ago. Year-to-date lamb and mutton production, measured in pounds, is down 5.5% from 2021, while the total lead sheep and lamb harvest is 9 .8% compared to last year.

Wisconsin Livestock Market Overview

Prices were mixed for most categories of cattle at auction markets in Wisconsin and surrounding states. Prime beef steers and heifers were mostly flat to down from last week. However, some markets reported strength later in the week.

High yielding, high quality cattle fetched between $122.00 and $142.00/cwt. Some markets reported steer and heifer packages of $142.00 to $147.00/cwt and some exceptional groups above.

Choice Holstein steers were flat at $2.00 less, between $107.00 and $132.00/cwt, with premium Holstein steers earning $132.00 to $137.00/cwt, some packages selling for more. Silage fed, underfed or heavy dairy steers fetched $75.00 to $107.00/cwt. Dairy steers x beef fetched $105.00 to $142.00/cwt.

Cows were mostly under $50.00 to $74.00/cwt with some selling for as much as 80 and reports of some types of beef selling for more. Questionable health and lean cows brought in $50.00/cwt and below.

Dairy bull calves were mixed fetching $40.00 to $125.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $160.00/cwt. Beef calves and beef crosses were generally flat to higher, selling at $370.00/head.

Market lambs returned from $110.00 to $120.00/cwt with reports reporting highs at $160.00/cwt.

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