Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 5/11/2020
FEEDLOT COST OF GAIN DECLINING

Cattle prices, both feeder and fed, have collapsed year-over-year. But, so have feedstuff costs, especially corn and hay. In the short-term, that has significant consequences for the cost of gain in feedlots. As reported by the monthly Kansas State University survey (Focus on Feedlots), the average steer cost of gain for March was $83.41 per cwt. Kansas feedlot projections for mid-April averaged $74.00, the lowest since August 2018. If grain and hay costs continue to slip, as expected, that number is headed even lower.


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RECORD FIRST QUARTER PORK EXPORTS, BEEF UP TOO

U.S. pork exports were 701.6 million pounds (carcass weight) for the month of March, making it the largest single month ever. March pork exports grew 5.8% and 6.6%, respectively, over January (663 million lbs.) and February (658 million lbs.). Shipments this year and surged 36.1% higher than the same month last year. This also marks the largest first quarter pork exports recorded at 2.023 billion pounds, which is 39.9% higher than 2019’s. With record pork exports in the first quarter of 2020 also came record U.S.


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FEMALE SLAUGHTER REACTS TO LOWER PRICES

Sow and female cattle slaughter both posted large year-to-date increases through the first 17 weeks of this year. Sow slaughter (Federally Inspected) has picked up aggressively, up 9% above 2019 levels, which will lead to smaller than earlier anticipated supplies in the second half of 2020. On a head basis, 89 thousand more head were harvested than a year ago. The latest Hogs and Pigs report (March 1, 2020) showed just under 6.4 million hogs in the breeding herd.


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