Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 8/25/2014
LAMB COLD STORAGE STOCKS CONTINUE TO INCREASE

    Beef, pork, and chicken cold storage stocks have been and are still down on a year over year basis, as of the most recent Cold Storage report released by USDA-NASS on August 2nd. Conversely, lamb and mutton cold storage is up 45%, or by 10.6 million pounds, compared to July 2013. Cold storage lamb volume has been 25% to 60% higher each month compared to the respective month in 2013. Additionally, lamb and mutton cold storage stocks have been higher than their previous month five out of the seven months reported so far for 2014. 


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HAY EXPORTS SLUMP

    Hay exports are behind quantities shipped last year. Alfalfa exports dropped 10% and other hay was down 12% from January through June. The last three years have seen high prices for hay going overseas, and despite declining U.S. average prices export values per ton have continued to remain at a very high level. The estimated dollar per metric ton value of alfalfa is estimated at $314, the highest since this data set started back in 2004. Other hay values are much higher, hovering around $330 for the last year, but still below highs set in 2012.


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A LOOK AT BEEF AND PORK RETAILER MARGINS

    Recent months have been defined by record high prices across both the cattle/beef and hog/pork marketing chains. Looking beyond the farm/ranch gate, LMIC calculates estimated average margins for both packers and retailers. Retail margins are the difference between the wholesale beef price (using the boxed beef cutout values calculated by USDA-AMS) and the retail beef prices which are calculated from a very limited number of retail beef cuts using several assumptions by USDA-ERS (those cut prices are collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the U.S.


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