Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 7/31/2015
U.S. CATTLE HERD EXPANSION

    Last Summer (2014), was the transition point to U.S. beef cowherd expansion. Over the last 12 months, beef breeding herd growth has gained significant momentum. The USDA-NASS national cattle inventory estimates released on Friday, July 24th (often referred to as the mid-year Cattle report) showed all breeding animal categories were above a year ago.


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CORN PRICES LIKELY TO RISE SOME YEAR-OVER-YEAR

    In 2015, both U.S. corn acres harvested and the national average yield will be below 2014’s. Corn production in 2014 was record large, this year the crop is forecast to decline in the range of 4% to 7%, however is still likely to be the third largest ever. The western Corn Belt (west of the Mississippi) has experienced very favorable growing conditions with timely and appropriate amounts of rain. The eastern Corn Belt however, namely Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri, are dealing with too much moisture too often.


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HAY PRICES TRENDING DOWN, FOR THE MOST PART

    USDA-NASS released the most recent Agricultural Prices report on July 30th; it confirmed the downward path in hay prices so far in the 2015/2016 marketing year. June 2015 national alfalfa hay price was $178 per ton, compared to $192 in May of 2015, and $222 during June of 2014. Other hay was priced at $127 per ton in June, compared to $134 the month before, and $139 one year prior. Those are national average hay prices and vary significantly region-to-region in the U.S.


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