Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 7/31/2018
COW-CALF OPERATIONS: TIME TO PLAN

Some overriding forces are shaping the economic environment for U.S. cow-calf operations. From a longer-term strategic perspective, some planning may pay large dividends for cattle producers. Interest costs are rising, albeit at a measured pace. In terms of basic supply and demand market forces, there is the obvious uncertainty regarding demand for beef and hence cattle, given the international trade environment of tariffs and retaliation that has developed in recent months. Still, stepping back, the U.S. beef sector has so far faced mostly indirect impacts, and U.S.


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DAIRY HERD EXPANSION NEUTRALIZED TO BALANCE DAIRY MARKET VALUES

The NASS estimate of total milk cows at mid-year was unchanged from a year earlier.  This reconciles with other data from NASS showing less than half a percent increase in cows being milked during the spring quarter compared to the same quarter in 2017, which was a decline from the winter quarter milking herd of 3,000 cows (9.403 million cows).  Milk production during the spring quarter was up 0.8% from a year earlier, which compares to a 1.5% increase, year-over-year, during the winter quarter.  The slowdown in production reflects a sensitivity to lower milk prices (down close to 10% this


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RED MEAT IN COLD STORAGE DECLINES; POULTRY INCREASES

Amidst trade tariff and retaliation tariff cycles, one of the big takeaways in cold storage is how little pork inventories changed.  Total pork in cold storage remained unchanged in the month of June compared to the previous year and was below prior month by 10%.  Of the 12 categories of pork tracked, bellies and trimmings were the only two categories to show worrisome year-over-year gains, up 130% and 38%, respectively.  Although bellies are still building back from historically low levels of the prior year, both cuts also declined relative to May inventories, providing some comfort that


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