Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 11/10/2014
U.S. DAIRY EXPORTS PLUNGE IN THIRD QUARTER

Exports (reported by USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service) in the first half of 2014 showed the dairy industry posting double digit growth in four of the six major categories LMIC tracks. The most brilliant rise was the large increase in butter exports, gaining 57% on 2013 January-June. Cheese also was far ahead of last year, up 34%, while fluid and powdered milk products gained, 16% and 15%, respectively. Even the smallest gains, 5% for buttermilk and 8% for whey products was promising and the worry of lackluster exports due to world competition dimmed.


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KSU FEEDLOT DATA, INCREASED DAYS ON FEED

Kansas State University’s “Focus on Feedlot” report summarizes monthly feedlot closeout data from participating commercial feedlots. From January through the third quarter of this year, cost of gain has generally been trending lower. In September, the reported cost of gain for steers was $91.49 per cwt. and $97.89 per cwt for heifers. These costs are converging with the five year average levels and are currently around $20-30 per cwt. below last year’s. Decreased costs can mostly be attributed to lower corn prices.


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COMMENTS ON WHEN TO PRICE 2015 CALVES

Three major factors have driven calf prices to record highs: 1) tighter cattle supplies; 2) record high fed cattle prices; and 3) lower corn costs. Those factors, in turn, have impacted seasonal price patterns. In 2014, the average calf price in the fourth quarter of the year is projected to be the highest of the year. Normally, calf prices are lowest in the fourth quarter of the year, but that normal seasonal pattern has not held in recent years. In fact, in both 2013 and 2011, calf prices were highest in the last quarter of the year.


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