Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 11/13/2017
2017 BRINGS BETTER THAN ANTICIPTED COW-CALF RETURNS

Cattle prices during the fourth quarter of 2017 were significantly stronger than expected. Higher prices caused 2017's calculated cow-calf return over cash costs plus pasture rent to be revised up. In fact, earlier in 2017, the forecast was for returns to be negative, but they actually will be positive.


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TONNAGE OF U.S. RED MEAT EXPORTS AND IMPORTS

September’s U.S. beef and pork exports (data compiled by USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service and Economics Research Service) continued the trends of recent months. For the month, beef tonnage exported was 14% above a year ago and pork was up 2%. For 2017’s third quarter, beef volume jumped-up 13% year-over-year, while pork exports were unchanged.


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CHICKEN OUTPUT ACCELERATING AS TREND TOWARDS BIG BIRDS RESUMES

Chicken production this quarter is poised to post the biggest year-over-year increase since the summer of 2015. Hatchery output has been up by as much as 5% in some weeks in recent months as the chicken industry responds to the best profitability since the middle of 2014, based on the metric of wholesale parts prices relative to feed costs. Average bird sizes are also back on a path of setting records after several quarters with little year-over-year change. LMIC is projecting current quarter chicken production to be up 3.4% compared to the same quarter in 2016.


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