•This week in the markets – Live fed cattle were down $3.25 this week, while feeder cattle sales around the country were steady to $5.00 lower. The June live cattle futures contract was down .40 cents this week and the August feeder cattle futures closed up .35 cents. The .22 cent lower July corn futures helped drive feeder cattle futures higher. The choice boxed beef price lost nearly $7.00 this week with all components lower but significantly lower rib and loin prices. Cash barrow and gilt prices were unchanged for the week and the June lean hog futures contract closed down a little more than $3.00. The pork cutout value was $2.20 this week with strength in all components.
•Monthly Trade Data – March beef, pork and chicken exports trailed year-ago levels for the second consecutive month. This follows 13 consecutive months of increasing exports and 29 of the last 31 months with growing exports. Beef exports were down 3% in March while pork exports trailed year-ago levels by 6%. Current weekly export data is suggesting higher shipments of pork to China, suggesting a turnaround in April.
• Production – NASS reported May 1 hay stocks at 14.9 million tons. Since 1951, May 1 hay stocks were only lower than this level in 2013. Hay production will remain critical to a recovery of hay stocks.
•WASDE – USDA made little change to 2019 livestock production estimates, yet, increased the barrow and gilt price by $8.50 and lowered the chicken price by $3.00. WASDE reported the first 2020 estimates this month and is estimated that beef, pork and chicken production will grow by 1.8 billion in 2020. They estimate exports will grow by .7 billion pounds, led by stronger pork exports. Domestic availability for beef, pork and chicken is expected to be 1.3 lbs. per person higher.
•Next week’s reports – Retail Prices & Consumer Confidence report
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