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The Cattle Range Weekly Market Summary provides market data for the informed cattleman. Current industry news & commentary as well as a comprehensive comparison of the past week's prices from around the country in comparison to the previous week, month, 6 months ago, 1 year ago, & 5 year average.  The data is compiled from a variety of sources and is organized to provide insight in determining market movement and trends.
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SAMPLE... Market Summary for the week ending July 18th:
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  • Bullish: Cash cattle & cattle futures firmed up with most closing higher than a week ago.
  • Bearish: Both the Choice & Select Boxed Beef Cutout Values were sharply lower on Friday.
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The Cattle Range 10-Day Market Trend:
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An indicator of overall cattle market strength.
The angle indicates direction & velocity of the trend.
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The Trendline is based on daily market factors for the past 10 days.
The daily values are weighted calculations of the cumulative Gain/(Loss)
of 10 major market factors compared to the previous trading day.
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National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:
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RECEIPTS:    Auctions   Direct  Video/Internet  Total
This Week     155,500     32,300       306,100           493,900
Last Week     190,700     86,200         48,900           325,800
Last Year      168,500      66,300        212,400          447,200
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Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle sold weak to 5.00 lower while calves traded 5.00-10.00 lower after moving briskly higher every week for three straight months.  Auction receipts were fairly light as most of the industry was expecting lower cash markets this week, following a major selloff of CME Feeder Cattle futures last week.  However, the Board showed some footing this week and the few sellers left are not overly concerned that they missed the boat.  The overwhelming majority of summer and fall delivery yearlings have already been sold and many of the better fall delivery calves.  Most market fundamentalists expect the record price levels to return after a minor correction.

Ideal growing conditions continue to push feed/grain prices lower and most don’t expect this year’s corn crop to see 4.00/bu again.  Packers tipped their short-bought hand this week by coming out and buying cattle only slightly lower on Wednesday and paying roughly an extra dollar for a two week delivery.  It’s very unusual to see shrewd packers paying extra for out-front cattle in a downward market, especially when the cash trade is at a sizeable premium to the spot Live futures contract.  Direct slaughter cattle in the 5 Area feeding region sold steady to 1.00 lower from 155.00-157.50, mostly 246.00-248.00 dressed.  This action sent CME cattle futures sharply higher on Thursday and made cattle feeders feel good about the physical commodity directing traffic on the paper trade for a change.

Cooler weather and cooler heads prevailed across cattle country this past week and, although the feeder market remains very strong, few sales reached excitable levels after the headlines from the last few weeks.  But, Western Video Market held a nice three-day 95,000 head sale based out of Reno, NV with over 70 percent of the consignments coming from areas west of the Rockies.  One load of 430 lb weaned Idaho steer calves brought 367.50 for December delivery.

Year-to-date beef cow slaughter through the first six months of 2014 was down 15 percent from a year ago (17 percent lower than the average of the previous five years) and the boneless beef market is doing its best to lure cows out of the pasture.  It’s not uncommon for high dressing cows in the salebarns to bring near 130.00 on the hoof and heavy-muscled lean slaughter bulls are routinely selling up to and over 150.00.  Despite vigorous attempts at herd rebuilding, ranchers are unlikely to give older cows another chance when they come up open at preg-checking time.  Beef prices are testing consumer budgets in thestores and restaurants, but pork cut-outs reached their own all-time record high this week and most folks can’t survive on bread alone.  This week’s reported auction volume included 45 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.

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Stocker Steers:
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Feeder Steers:
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Five Year Moving Average - Stocker Steers, Feeder Steers, & Slaughter Steers:
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Selected Auction Reports:
"Click" on individual auction links for complete report
 El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK
Receipts:  5274    Last Week:  5570    Year Ago: N/A
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers sold 1.00-3.00 lower.  Feeder heifers traded 4.00-7.00 lower.  Calves mostly 5.00-10.00 lower on comparable sales.

Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO
Receipts:  4026    Last Week:  3464    Year Ago:  5182
Compared to last week, steer calves 5.00 to 15.00 lower, yearling steers 5.00 lower, heifer calves and yearling heifers steady to 5.00 lower.  Demand and supply moderate.  Feeder cattle under pressure as Slaughter steers and heiferslast traded 2.00 to 3.00 lower, and Feeder Cattle futures sharply lower from last Monday.

Valentine Livestock Auction Market - Valentine NE
Receipts:  3350    Last Week:  0    Year Ago:  0
No recent test of market for an accurate comparison a trendwill not be given.  Demand was good for all offerings today with several loads lots and seats were full of buyers.

Denison Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Denison IA
Receipts:  2513    Three Weeks Ago:  1944
No trend today because last sale was 3 weeks ago. A higher undertone was noted. Very good demand on all weights of cattle.

Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX
Receipts:  789    Last Week:  1182    Year Ago:  590
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers were mostly steady on a very limited test.  Trade activity was fairly active on moderate to good demand.  The area received several inches of rain to benefit local pastures but curbed receipts as it made it difficult to get cattle to market.  Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to instances 3.00 higher.

Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX
Cattle and Calves: 484        Week ago: 1324        Year Ago: 800
Compared to week ago:  Feeder steers and heifers firm in a very limited test. Slaughter cows and bulls 3.00-5.00 higher.  There continues to be a great deal of interest from buyers for all classes and weights of feeder steers and heifers.  Significant rainfall throughout the area for the past two months has buyers chomping at the bits to purchase feeders that continue to be scarce.

Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM
Receipts:  795                Week Ago: 1434           Year Ago: 916
Compared to last week ago:  Feeder steers and heifers 4.00-9.00 lower following a week of declining CME markets.  Slaughter cows and bulls steady.

Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA
Receipts:  1000    Last Week:  1700    Year Ago:  1410
Compared to last Thursday at same sale, stocker and feeder cattle firm in a light test. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows 19.00-20.00 lower, due to more cows showing up. Slaughter bulls 6.00-7.00 lower.

Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS
Receipts:  2953    Last Week:  1406    Year Ago:  1980
Compared to last week: Steers 400-1050 lbs 11.00-16.00 higher. Heifers not enough for a market test, with higher undertones noted.

Weekly Auction Summaries:
"Click" on individual links for complete report

Tennessee Weekly Auction Summary
Receipts on 11 TN Auctions 9,622 12 Last Week 10,400 11 Last Year 7,400
Trends:  According to the Federal-State Market News Service, comparedto the same sales one week ago, slaughter cows steady to 2.00 higher.Slaughter bulls 3.00 to 5.00 higher. Steers/bulls under 500 lbs 10.00to 18.00 lower, over 500 lbs 3.00 to 10.00 lower. Heifers under 400 lbs9.00 to 18.00 lower, over 400 lbs 2.00 to 5.00 lower.

Mississippi Weekly Livestock Summary
Cattle Receipts:    8,910       Last Week:      9,391       Last Year:   8,146
Compared to last week, slaughter cows sold 1.00 to 2.00 higher and bulls sold 1.00 to 3.00 higher. Feeder steers and heifers sold 2.00 to 10.00 lower.

Alabama Auctions Weekly Summary
Total estimated receipts this week 16,600, last week 16,235 and 13,212 last year.
Compared to one week ago: Slaughter cows and bulls sold 1.00 to 2.00 higher. Replacement cows and pairs sold mostly steady. All feeder classes sold 2.00 to 6.00 lower. Trade moderate with good demand on feeders.

Georgia Cattle Auctions Weekly Review
Cattle receipts at 25 markets 11,973 compared to 13,065 last week and 8,408 year ago.
Compared to one week earlier, slaughter cows and bullsmostly steady, feeder steers mostly steady, bulls steady to 2.00 higher, heifers steady to 1.00 higher, steer calves 2.00 to 4.00 lower, bull calves2.00 to 5.00 lower, heifer calves steady to 3.00 lower, replacement cows mostly steady.

Colorado Auction Feeder Cattle Summary
Receipts:  1906   Last Week:  170   Year Ago:  4466
Compared to last week: Not enough comparable sales on feeder steers or heifers for a market trend.  Precipitation and cooler weather has moved into the region and has added some much needed relief from the hot temperatures.

Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:
"Click" on individual links for complete report

AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri)
Confirmed: 750 
Compared to last week, not enough head traded to establish trend.

Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts:  1906   Last Week:  170   Year Ago:  4466 
Compared to last week: Not enough comparable sales on feeder steers or heifers for a market trend. 

Eastern Cornbelt Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Reported sales this week: 0    Last Week: 0    Last year: 0
Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers not tested. 

Georgia Direct Cattle Summary (Fri)
Confirmed sales on 1,149 head

IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon)
Receipts:  0    Last Week:  185    Year Ago:  120

Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Receipts:  2065    Last Week:  1062    Year Ago:  14214
Compared with last week: steers and heifers steady in a very limited test, most feed yards are getting ready for contracted cattle to arrive in the next few weeks that have been bought early this spring.

Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts:  90    Last Week:  3955    Year Ago:  N/A 
Compared to last week:  Not enough comparable sales on fall delivery feeder steers or heifers from last week for a market trend. 

New Mexico Feeder Cattle Report (Mon)
Receipts:  785    Last Week:  3300    Year Ago:  0
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers were not well tested. 

Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts:  8500    Last Week:  7950    Year Ago:  19000
Compared to last week, feeder cattle steady.

Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
Receipts:  1549    Last Week:  2147    Year Ago:  8196
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not enough comparable sales of current delivery for an accurate trend but a much lower undertone noted. 

South Dakota Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Receipts:  460   Last Week:  0   Year Ago:  420
Compared to last week: No market trend available on feeder heifers.  No feeder steers reported.

WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts:  860     Week Ago: 935    Year Ago: 10,910
Not enough comparable sales for an adequate market trend. 

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Cattle Futures:
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Cash firmness again supported cattle futures. Bearish summer expectations have weighed on cattle futures lately, but persistent cash market firmness rather clearly spurred renewed CME buying Thursday and Friday. On the other hand, big beef losses at noon may bode ill for next week’s outlook. August live cattle jumped 0.97 cents to 151.62 cents/pound in late Friday action, while December climbed 0.70 cents to 154.55. Meanwhile, feeder cattle reversed sharp early gains despite big corn losses. August feeders rose just 0.05 cents to 211.65 cents/pound, and October added 0.20 to 212.55.
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Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs:
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  • Woodward, OK
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1  2-4 yrs 950-1100 lbsw/100-300 lb calves 2500.00-2900.00.  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs 775-950 lbs w/75-200 lb calves 2000.00-2400.00. 
  • Oklahoma City, OK
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  5-6 yrs 1195-1390 lbs 5-6 months 1800.00-1885.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-10 yrs 925-1485 lbs 3-7 months 1250.00-1700.00. 
  • El Reno, OK
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  5-7 yrs 1175-1350 lbs 6-8 months 1800.00-2125.00.  Medium and Large 2  Heifers-10 yrs 925-1475 lbs 3-8 months 1325.00-1775.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  5-10 yrs 1150-1600 lbs w/100-300 lb calves 1975.00-2600.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-6 yrs 950-1300 lbs w/75-200 lb calves 1750.00-1900.00.
  • Joplin, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs to short solid 970-1285 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1750.00-2000.00, few blks 2100.00-2400.00, 1st stage 990-1260 lbs most 1350.00-1560.00, short solid mouth to aged 2nd-3rd stage 1145-1285 lbs 1330.00-1570.00.  Large 1-2  5 yrs to short solid mouth 2nd-3rd stage 1410-1585 lbs 1665.00-2000.00; broken mouth 2nd-3rd stage 1410-1505 lbs 1550.00-1665.00.  Medium 1-2  2-6 yrs 2nd-3rd stage 900-1000 lbs 1700.00-1900.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  5 yrs to short solid mouth 1085-1235 lbs w/155-290 lb calves 2350.00-2700.00, 5-7 yrs pkg. 1150 lbs w/baby calves 2200.00.  Medium 1-2  3 yrs to short solid mouth 870-1025 lbs w/baby to 285 lb calves 1700.00-2300.00.
  • Springfield, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-5 yrs 900-1250 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1675.00-1900.00, several pkgs. fancy 2000.00-2200.00, 1st stage 955-1115 lbs 1525.00-1725.00, pkg. fancy 2000.00; short solid mouth to aged 2nd-3rd stage 1090-1265 lbs 1325.00-1625.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs pkg 1070 lbs w/baby to 260 lb calves 2300.00; short solid mouth to broken mouth pkg. 1195 lbs w/160-225 lb calves 1860.00.  Medium 1-2  6-7 yrs 860-1040 lbs w/195-395 lb calves bred 1950.00-1975.00. 
  • West Plains, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-6 yrs 1000-1250 lbs 3rd stage 1800.00-2200.00; 7 yrs to short-solid mouth 1025-1375 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1600.00-1800.00.  Medium and Large 2  2 yrs to short-solid mouth 855-1270 lbs 1st to 3rd stage 1500.00-1750.00.  Medium 2  2 yrs to short-solid  790-1025 lbs 1st to 3rd stage 1200.00-1450.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 970-1240 lbs w/150-300 lb calves 1950.00-2400.00; few short-solid mouth 1095-1395 lbs w/125-150 lb calves 2100.00-2400.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-7 yrs old 850-1170 lbs w/125-150 lb calves 1750.00-1900.00.
  • Dodge City, KS
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 2 consignment 76 hd young thin (from draught area) 750-800 lbs w/175-275 lbs calves 2775.00-2875.00; 100 hd 800-870 lbs w/175-275 lbs calves 2715.00-2935.00.
  • Clovis, NM
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 900-1150 lbs 3-8 months 1400.00-1850.00; young to middle aged 1165-1330 lbs 1-3 months 1400.00-1450.00.  Small and Medium Frame:  Young cows 500-700 lbs 3-8 months 500.00-950.00. 
    • Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2: Young 825-1300 lbs w/125-325 lb calves 2085.00-2325.00; middle aged 1150-1200 lbs w/150-250 lb calves 2000.00-2175.00.
  • Roswell, NM
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 915-1200 lbs 3-8 months 1700.00-1900.00; young to middle aged 950-1055 lbs 1-3 months 1275.00-1500.00; middle aged 1070-1165 lbs 3-8 months bred 1400.00-1575.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 835-1135 lbs w/125-350 lb calves 1700.00-2160.00; aged 900-1000 lbs w/150-200 lb calves 1325.00-1675.00. 
  • Arkansas
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 850-1250 2nd-3rd stage 130.00-140.00 cwt, 1450.00-1550.00; 7-10 yrs 800-1250 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 125.00-135.00 cwt, 1400.00-1500.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 800-1200 lbs w/100-200 lb calves 1825.00-1925.00, few to 2180.00; w/200-300 lb calves 2050.00-2150.00; 7-10 yrs w/100-200 lb calves 1550.00-1650.00. Small 1 and Medium 2  7+ yrs 750-900 lbs w/100-200 lb calves 1300.00-1400.00. 
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The average prices above are from USDA market reports from 2 Southeast markets, 2 Midwest markets, 2 North Central markets, 2 South Central markets, & 1 Western market.  The reports seldom reference breed or quality.  Prices are rounded to nearest multiple of 5.
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Canadian Cattle:
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Alberta Beef Producers:  Alberta direct cattle sales Thursday saw light trade develop with live and dressed sales anywhere from steady to 2.00 higher than the previous week. Local packer interest in the cash market remains supportive while inquiries from south of the boarder were virtually non-existent.
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Canadian Weekly Cattle Report:
Provided by CanFax

Fed cattle higher

  • Canfax weighted average fed steers rose $2.26 to $162.95 per hundredweight last week and heifers rose $1.98 to $160.23.
  • The gain over the past two weeks has been about $7 per cwt.
  • The Canadian market was catching up to the American market last week, but U.S. prices backed down a little from recent records.
  • This caused the Alberta cash to Chicago futures basis to improve by $6.65 to +$2.39 per cwt. It is the first time since 1998 that the cash-to-futures basis has been positive in July.
  • Weekly fed cattle exports to June 28 rose 20 percent to 7,818. That was the best week since early May.
  • Feedlots are extremely current in their marketing. Steer carcasses are the lightest since 2010 and are 20 pounds lighter than a year ago. However, carcass weights tend to rise at this point in the year.
  • The sharp decline in Chicago futures suggests a top in the market. Fundamentals have shifted only modestly. Wholesale beef prices are still strong and feedlots remain current.
Cow prices rise
  • Since Jan. 1, D1, D2 cow prices have risen about 44 percent.
  • Only once in the past 10 years, in 2008, has there been a larger percentage increase.
  • There was a slight increase in non-fed supplies last week but prices rose.
  • D1, D2 cows ranged from $107-$124 to average $115, up $2.
  • D3 cows ranged from $95-$109 to average $102.42. Railgrade cows were $207-$212.
  • Top end butcher bulls traded in the upper $130s to low $140s per cwt.
  • Weekly non-fed exports to June 28 totalled 5,123 head.
  • Younger feeder and breeding quality cows fetched commercial and speculative buying interest.
Feeders stronger
  • In light trade, feeder prices were steady to higher, but there was downward pressure late in the week.
  • The decline in the Chicago cattle futures markets pressured 900 lb. and heavier yearlings for August-September delivery down by as much as $5-$7 by the end of the week.
  • A few exposed heifers have traded on the feeder market at a slight premium over the feeder market. Bred heifers are trading out of season, so it could be tough to see much of a premium over the feeder market.
  • Last year a lot of exposed heifers entered feed yards.
  • Buyers are having trouble assembling load lots given light volumes of calves and light feeders. The inconsistency of quantity and quality is being priced into the market.
  • Alberta auction volumes totalled 11,546 head. Auction volumes this year have consistently trended above year-ago volumes.
  • Yearling steers for August-September delivery are looking at break-evens of about $160 per cwt. Canfax projected prices on fed cattle for the fourth quarter show many of these yearlings have little if any margin.
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Canadian Cattle Prices:
Prices have been converted to U.S. $/CWT.  Grades changed to approximate U.S. equivalents
Exchange Rate: Canadian dollar equivalent to $0.9308 U.S. dollars
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Prices for the week ending July 11th:
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Consumers Less Willing to Pay for High-Priced Protein:
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After jumping in the month of June, consumer willingness-to-pay for beef, pork and poultry products dropped in July but remains higher to this time last year, according to the latest Food Demand Survey from Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

After increasing between 11 to 35 percent last month, consumers indicated in the monthly survey that their willingness-to-pay for popular protein products, ranging from steak and chicken breasts to pork chops and hamburger, was down as much as 20 percent.

Compared to the June survey, consumers’ willingness-to-pay for steak decreased from $7.52 per pound to $7.00 per pound and hamburger dropped from $4.50 per pound to $4.30 per pound. Chicken wings experienced the biggest drop, of 20.15 percent, from $2.73 per pound last month to $2.18 per pound in July. Pork chops ($3.71 per pound) and deli ham ($2.48 per pound) were also down, decreasing 10.39 percent and 14.19 percent, respectively.

While consumers reported spending slightly less on groceries in July compared to June, they reported spending nearly 6 percent more eating out. According to the survey, despite an expectation that beef prices will continue to rise in the coming weeks, there was a slight improvement in planned beef buying.

According to the USDA Weekly Retail Beef Feature Activity report for the week of July 11-17, 2014, there was a 1 percent increase in the number of retail outlets featuring beef. USDA says cuts from the Chuck, Round, Loin and Ground Beef saw more ad space this week while Rib and Brisket cuts saw less ad space.

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Bullish News Resurrects Futures, But Only So Far:
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It’s Friday morning, and August LC will most likely close higher on the week today and thus far has recovered 42% of its recent huge break. But the earmarks of 2014 remain intact: wide basis, flat market structure, even some waning interest as open interest drops under 340,000 contracts, a level not seen since April. Still August LC is demonstrating leadership in the spreads, gaining on every other LC and FC contract with ease. The long term uptrend is intact.

Yet the market has bit of the blues currently, perhaps it’s the summer doldrums, fatigue from the quite stressful and unusual market moves since early June. Whatever the reason, futures don’t have much of a spark in spite of continued solid and impressive fundamentals.

Cutout Still Holding; Cash Outlook for Next Week Steady

The end primals, trimmings and the entire select beef cutout are all steady or higher as the raw material hunt for ground beef continues. There are very faint murmurings that corporate feedyards may have larger showlists later this quarter, but in the meantime, thoughts for next week’s cash cattle prices are already fully steady. Expectations for this week’s kill continue in the 580,000 head area, but remember, the cow kill will likely come in at 90,000 head, meaning, the industry is slaughtering 490,000 fed cattle, enough to maintain currentness. 

Carcass Weights Increasing Seasonally at Normal Pace

Steer and heifer carcass weights for the week ended July 7, as reported by the USDA yesterday, are both just one pound above a year ago, and up four and six pounds respectively from the prior week.  Weights of course increase seasonally until late October when they typically top, as cattle naturally put on weight through summer and approaching winter. But there is nothing in the weight data to indicate any loss of currentness despite smaller than expected kill levels in July. 

A Quiet and Positive Wrap-up

It appears we’ll be wrapping up this week in a quiet but positive fashion, unless global events intervene, with the market in solid fundamental shape and the futures back above the 10 day moving average and showing a bullish signal on a variety of technical signals.

The Beef

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The Role of the Futures Market:
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The cattle futures market uncoupled from the cash market last week as longs headed for the exit door. The spot August contract fell $10 from the high to the low for the week but closed higher Friday with strong buying interest as traders sensed the sell off was overdone and speculative longs reentered the market. This sell off was not mirrored in the cash markets where some cattle sold steady with last week and others off only $2.

Futures are a wonderful price mechanism for allowing all participants in a market to express an opinion about future prices. No one is excluded and no opinion is more valuable than the next -- only the size of the bet matters. No matter how smart the trader or how detailed the analysis of market conditions, each transaction on the market is only a guess and is likely to be wrong.

Market observers use language that is frequently imprecise and inaccurate. A reversal is not necessarily a correction. It may simply be a reversal and be prone to reverse again. In the end futures prices are subject to the fundamentals of the cash markets. This year has witnessed the many views of picking the top. Each forecaster calling the latest move a definite top has been proven wrong by new buying strength. Technical traders finding sell signals on the charts have seen their position blown away as cash markets drag the futures higher. This year cash has been king and cattle feeders have played with a strong hand.

This week the view was heavily weighted towards the notion that the bull market was done and now the bears would ascent to primacy. Last Friday's market action brought that view into question after limit down moves in the feeders was reversed and new buyers appear to blow out the shorts on the close. Logic also plays into guesses on future prices for cattle. Futures had sold off $10 under todays cash for marketing periods in late 2014 and early 2015 when supplies of cattle will be smaller than today.

There is no guarantee prices will only go up and as a matter of fact any idiot knows they will go down at sometime in the future.  Whether the bear is moving in on the market or not, is not confirmed and will have to await more information in the coming weeks.

The Cattle Report

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Photo of the Week:
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  • 650 Angus, BWF, & Red Angus Bred Heifers... N. Central NE*^
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    Arizona Court Rules in Favor of Ranching Families:
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    On Tuesday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean M. Fink ruled in favor of ranchers across Yavapai County in their dispute against County Assessor Pamela G. Pearsall.

    According to The Verde Independent, Pearsall violated Arizona law by increasing the taxable values of natural grazing land, used by ranchers, in 2012 and 2013 by more than 300 percent.

    The case began with ranching families urging the court to regulate taxable values of grazing lands by the existing laws.

    After four months of waiting, Judge Fink ruled in favor of the ranchers and decreased the imposed $25 an acre tax to $9.19.

    Although Pearsall called the decision a “compromise”, Judge fink was quoted as saying, “Based on the evidence presented at trial, the Court finds the ADOR study lacks foundation and, consistent with [ADOR]'s memorandum to all assessors, it should not have been used to establish the full cash values of grazing land in Yavapai County for tax years 2012 or 2013."

    On top of refunds plus interest for the over-taxation, ranchers were instructed to have their legal counsels’ submit applications to recover attorney’s fees and costs.

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    Shootin' the Bull:
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    In my opinion, traders, producers, and purveyor's are grappling with the perception that fed cattle are being used to take up the slack of cow beef.  While the knowledge of this may or may not cause price movement, the thought that only one product of the carcass is carrying such tremendous weight in pricing.  This is perceived as one of the reasons that fats may remain firm for a little while longer, but not feeder cattle.  Feedyards are not anticipated to be excited about bidding up for inventory if something were to start to erode hamburger demand.  Whether from a persistent price hike or import supplies, any disruption of demand for hamburger meat is anticipated to cause a quick change in fat cattle prices.  The close today near the middle of last weeks decline leaves a great deal of speculation.  Both sides have good arguments.

    Feeder cattle did not retrace in price anything like the extent that fats did.  This dissention is well noted.  If one considers the significant reduction in the cow kill, and smaller reduction of the heifer kill, this fall and spring calf crop is anticipated to be larger than previously anticipated.  It is noted that if O'bessie can live through this birth, she will be destined for the kill plant.  Two factors will increase then. One, the advent of a higher cow kill and the other, a new calf.  This is perceived as one reasons for the $5.00 to $8.00 discount of the '15 months.  Producers are enveloped with the present as no one has ever seen this much liquidity poured into the beef industry.  From my perspective only, do not let this sway you from securing prices in the future that may or may not be available, even if it is at a discount to the present price. 

    Corn is perceived on a path to intrinsic value, the level in which supply and demand begin to consolidate price. My analysis suggested the $3.80 level, but some contend there will be a 2 handle before it is over with.

    Christopher B. Swift is a commodity broker and consultant with Swift Trading Company in Nashville, TN. Mr. Swift authors the daily commentaries "mid day cattle comment" and "Shootin' the Bull" commentary found on his website @ www.shootinthebull.com

    An investment in futures contracts is speculative, involves a high degree of risk and is suitable only for persons who can assume the risk of loss in excess of their margin deposits.  You should carefully consider whether futures trading is appropriate for you in light of your investment experience, trading objectives, financial resources and other relevant circumstances. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

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    The Saga of Bart -- Trials & Tribulations of a Cattle Buyer
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    Bart went to the doctor complaining that he constantly felt exhausted.

    The doctor asked, "How often do you have sex?"

    "Usually every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights," Bart replied.

    "Well, perhaps you could cut out Thursdays," the doctor suggested.

    "Can't do that, Doc," Bart responded.  "That's the only night I'm home."

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    Submit a "Bart Joke"  If we use it, you'll receive a $25.00 Gift Certificate to The Cattle Range Mercantile.
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    Nebraska Study Finds No Ill Effects From Zilmax:
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    The cattle feed additive Zilmax has no noticeable detrimental effect on cattle health or well-being, according to research by scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

    The study was undertaken after Zilmax's maker, Merck Animal Health, temporarily suspended sales of the additive last year when concerns emerged in some quarters that it might cause lameness in cattle, said Ty Schmidt, a UNL animal scientist, who worked with colleagues including Jeff Carroll and Nicole Sanchez, both of USDA-ARS.

    During the 26-day study, scientists collected blood, via catheters; body temperature; and video images from 20 heifers, which were divided into two groups, with half receiving Zilmax at the recommended dose and half not receiving it. On the last day of the trial, four days after Zilmax supplementation was discontinued, heifers were exposed to a simulated stress event to mimic the stress response that would be anticipated in cattle being shipped from the feedlot to packing plant. At the conclusion of the trial, heifers were harvested at UNL and their hearts, liver, lungs, kidneys and adrenal glands were studied.

    Results from the study demonstrated some differences in physiological and endocrine markers of stress and muscle accretion in heifers that were supplemented with Zilmax compared to heifers not fed Zilmax. Heifers fed Zilmax had an increase in parameters that indicate increased muscle mass. The increase in these parameters was expected, as the drug label for Zilmax includes statements pertaining to increases in creatinine and creatine phosphokinase, Schmidt said.

    Results from this study, he added, also demonstrated that heifers supplemented with Zilmax had a decreased production of the stress hormone cortisol, and decreased body temperature during the simulated stress event. Histopathology of the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands revealed some differences between the heifers supplemented with Zilmax and the heifers not receiving Zilmax. The livers and right adrenal gland of the Zilmax heifers were slightly smaller than heifers that were not fed Zilmax, but there was no difference in lungs, kidneys, or heart.

    "Overall, the results of this trial indicate that while there are variations in the body temperature, endocrine and metabolic parameters and histopathology of major organs of Zilmax supplemented heifers, these differences are minor and show no indication that supplementation of Zilmax is detrimental to the health or well-being of cattle," Schmidt said.

    University of Nebraska

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    Margin between the Choice Boxed Beef Cutout & Feeder Steers:
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    5 Year Average: $45.95 --- This Week: $42.50
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    Out of Kilter:
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    A good way to determine if something is, “going on” in a market is by noticing when market relationships are out of kilter. Cattle and grains typically have a positive correlation. They tend to move in tandem. Moderately increase the price of corn and the cattle will follow suit. The opposite is also true as the cost of feed declines, so does the cost of production. However, when this relationship breaks down, its because one market can't keep pace or pass on the costs of the other. 

    That is what occurred in the spring of 2012 with cattle and corn. The price of feed exceeded the livestock market's ability to pass on the costs.  Over the 2013 summer months, the gap was erased and corn went "Out of Kilter" last fall.  A correction started in January but ran out of steam in view of surging cattle prices and plummeting corn prices.

    Normally, the value of 25 bushels of corn is approximately equal to the price per cwt. for feeder steers.

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    5 Year Moving Average:
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    Crude/Cattle Correlation:
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    The chart below shows a fairly consistent correlation between the price for a barrel of crude oil and the per cwt. price for slaughter cattle.  Since it is unlikely the price of cattle affects the price of oil on the world market, it might be assumed the price of crude oil affects the price of cattle, but that is unlikely as well.  It is more likely that economic factors affecting demand for crude oil have a similar effect on demand for beef.

    Accordingly, in the absence of geo/political events disrupting or distorting oil supply, since price trends occur slightly sooner in the crude oil market, crude oil has been a good indicator of the direction of near term cattle prices. However, with increased supplies of crude oil and decreased supplies of slaughter cattle, an "Out of Kilter" situation between the two commodities has developed.

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    5 Year Moving Average:
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    Slaughter Cows & Bulls:
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    Slaughter cows and bulls 5.00-10.00 higher in the West; 1.00-2.00 higher in Oklahoma and 1.00-2.00 higher in the East.  Packer demand remains good. 

    USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was 228.04 -- Down 0.57 from last Friday.

                   %Lean     Weight       Wyoming          Oklahoma          Alabama 
    Breakers   75-80%     1100-1600    115.00-126.00    117.00-125.00    107.00-112.00
    Boners      80-85%     1000-1450    115.00-125.00    117.00-124.50    109.00-114.00
    Lean         85-90%     1000-1300    103.00-113.00    107.00-114.00    100.00-105.00
    Bulls         88-92%     1300-2100    140.00-148.00    135.00-145.00    127.00-130.00

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    Weekly Hay Reports: "Click" on links for detailed report
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    Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review:
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    The USDA Market News Service reports feed ingredient prices for the week ending July 15, were mixed.
    • Whole Cottonseed was 15.00 to 40.00 lower.
    • Soybean Meal was 18.20 to 42.20 lower. Cottonseed Meal was steady to 30.00 lower. Canola Meal was 17.90 to 35.90 lower.  Linseed Meal was 30.00 lower in limited trade.  Sunflower Meal was 10.00 lower. 
    • Crude Soybean Oil was 23 to 98 points lower.  Crude Corn Oil was steady. 
    • Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was mixed, 12.00 lower to 15.00 higher. Ruminant Blood Meal was steady to 20.00 higher.  Feather Meal was mixed, 20.00 lower to 50.00 higher, mostly 20.00 lower to 5.00 higher. Menhaden Fishmeal was steady to 25.00 higher. 
    • Corn Hominy was steady to 10.00 lower. Corn Gluten Feed was mixed, 10.00 lower to 5.00 higher.  Corn Gluten Meal was 60.00 lower to 5.00 higher. 
    • Distillers Dried Grains were steady to 41.00 lower, mostly steady to 15.00 lower. Wheat Middlings were mixed, 5.00 lower to 3.00 higher.

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    Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection:
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    Total red meat production under Federal inspection for the week ending Saturday, July 19, 2014 was estimated at 856.7 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 0.6 percent lower than a week ago and 8.2 percent lower than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 3.8 percent lower compared to the previous year.
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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus:
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    The theory behind the "Bullish/Bearish Consensus" indicator is when the public reaches a consensus, they are usually wrong:
    • They get too bullish after prices have risen, and too bearish after they have already fallen.
    Because of this tendency, there are often extremes in opinion right before major changes in trend:
    • When the public reaches a bullish extreme, i.e., a great majority thinks prices will keep rising, then prices often decline instead. 
    • And when they become too bearish, then prices tend to rise.
    So when Public Opinion moves above the red dotted line in the chart, it means that compared to other readings over the past year, you're seeing a statistically extreme value.  You also want to look at the absolute level of Opinion, too - if it's at 90%, then there's no question we're seeing an historic level of bullish opinion.  Watch for readings above 80% (or especially 90%) to spot those dangerous times when the public is overly enthusiastic about a commodity.

    Conversely, when Public Opinion moves below the green dotted line, then the public is too pessimistic about the commodity's prospects for further gains compared to their opinion over the past year.  Looking for absolute readings under 20% (or especially 10%) often indicates an upturn in the market.

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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus - Cattle
    Last Updated: July 15th
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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus - Corn
    Last Updated: July 15th
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    National Economic News:
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    Stocks mixed as geopolitical concerns dampen sentiment: Most benchmarks ended the week higher as enthusiasm about better-than-expected earnings at several prominent companies offset geopolitical concerns. The focused Dow Jones Industrial Average fared best and managed to establish a new high on Wednesday. The Russell 2000 Index, which measures the stock performance of smaller companies, sank as investors reacted to news that Federal Reserve policymakers considered small-caps valuations stretched. The S&P MidCap 400 Index was roughly flat for the week.

    Ukraine and Gaza prompt biggest decline since April: The S&P 500 Index saw its steepest decline since April on Thursday, following news that a Malaysian Airlines jet had apparently been shot down over Ukraine—a tragedy that was quickly attributed to Russian-backed separatists in the region. News later in the day of an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza strip also contributed to selling pressure. Markets in the U.S. rebounded on Friday, however, as investors appeared to determine that both events would have a manageable impact. Better-than-expected earnings results from Google also provided a particular boost to the tech sector.

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    • The Federal Reserve will have to hike interest rates sooner and higher than expected if the labor market continues to improve more quickly than anticipated by the Fed, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee. She did stress that time has not yet arrived, and conversely, if the economic performance is disappointing, then rates will be more accommodative than currently expected. Yellen said that "significant slack" remains in the labor market and that most Fed officials project inflation will remain below the Fed's 2% target this year. "Although the economy continues to improve, the recovery is not yet complete," Yellen said. She stressed, as she has since the spring, that "considerable uncertainty" surrounds the outlook.
    • Economic conditions and labor markets showed improvement across the country into early July, according to a summary of economic conditions released Wednesday. The Beige Book, a collection of anecdotes about the economy, said only two districts, Boston and Richmond reported a slightly slower pace of growth since May. Aside from higher wages to attract skilled workers, wage pressures remained modest, according to the report. Price pressures were "generally contained" with most of the 12 Fed districts reporting "slight to modest" price increases for both inputs and finished goods. Several districts reported higher prices for meat, dairy products, construction materials, and some metals. The Beige Book is based on information collected before July 7.
    • Thursday’s report on new residential construction was a blow to some housing-market hopefuls as the government reported that June’s starts rate hit the slowest pace in nine months.
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    Link Between Long Calving Season and Calf Mortality:
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    Beef cattle producers with long calving seasons could see an increased risk of calf mortality, according to a recent study from the University of Calgary.

    “We looked at the correlation between the length of the calving season and mortality, and for every extra day, the mortality between a week of age and weaning went up by half a per cent,” said Dr. Claire Windeyer, who began surveying calf management practices in more than 250 cow-calf herds last summer.

    “It does have impacts on your bottom line at the end of the day.”

    The risk is a small one, though. In the herds surveyed, calf mortality rates were between one and two per cent.

    “A half a per cent of that is a very small increment,” she said.

    But longer calving seasons have other implications on calf performance that can’t be ignored, said Windeyer. Most producers had a six- to 12-week calving season, but some calved over the course of six months, leading to “exhaustion of the environment.”

    “If you’re calving into the same area over a six-month period, you’re going to have buildup of manure, waste feed, and mud, especially this time of the year. You really start working that environment quite hard.”

    In that environment, calves have increased exposure to pathogens, such as the bugs that cause scours, and that can lead to significant financial losses.

    “If you have a newborn calf being born into a pasture that’s had calves on it for the last three to six months, that cow is going to be exposed to a lot more pathogens than the first calf born,” she said. “You get more and more challenges in the environment the longer that season goes on.”

    Timing of calving also played a role in the risk of calf mortality, depending on location, facilities, and weather, she said.

    Timing of calving is also key and Windeyer found March was the worst time for bovine respiratory disease in Canada.

    Producers who calved in that month had six per cent more respiratory disease in their herds compared to ranches that calved in January and February. The lowest incidence of respiratory disease was during May and June calving.

    “In March, you don’t know what the weather is going to do. In January and February, at least you can anticipate some cold, dry weather,” she said.

    “It’s all about having the appropriate facilities to be able to manage the weather that does arise in the season that you’re calving.”

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    "Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the past 12 weeks
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    Looking Ahead:
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    • During July 17-21, moderate to heavy rains are expected from the central Rockies southeastward to the lower Delta, and then into the Southeast during Days 6-7. Florida should also see moderate rains. The largest amounts (3 to 6 inches) for the 5-day period are forecast for the Red River Valley and eastward into Arkansas. The West will be seasonably dry, and the southwest monsoon is predicted to be quiet, with only light totals (<0.5 inches) in eastern Arizona and New Mexico. The northern Rockies and Plains, plus the Midwest, should be mostly dry. Subnormal temperatures are forecast for the West Coast and eastern half of the Nation, with above-normal readings expected in the Rockies and northern Plains.
    • For the ensuing 5-day period, July 22-26, the odds favor above-median precipitation in the eastern half of the U.S., Pacific Northwest, and northern Alaska, with below-median rainfall likely in the Great Basin, Rockies, High Plains, and south Texas. Temperatures are expected to average below normal in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, but likely to be above-median in the Southwest, Rockies, Plains, Great Lakes region, and New England.
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    USDA Proposes Stricter Meat Grinding Recordkeeping:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection USDA FSIS is proposing to require all makers of raw ground beef products to keep records to further protect consumers by enhancing the ability to trace ground beef products.

    Currently, retail outlets are required to keep records that will “fully disclose all transactions involved in business,” including bills of sale, invoices, bills of lading, and receiving and shipping papers. Additionally, records must be kept related to the name or description of the livestock, the net weight of the livestock, the number of outside containers, the name and address of the buyer or seller of the livestock, and the date of shipment.

    With regard to large retail chains, with more than one location, records may be kept at the headquarters’ office. FSIS has concluded that the current recordkeeping by retail facilities that grind raw beef is not “sufficiently effective.”

    “The lack of specific information about supplier lot numbers, product codes, pack dates of source materials used to produce lots of raw ground beef, and when and whether grinding equipment has been cleaned and sanitized has prevented or delayed FSIS from identifying businesses that produced the source materials for product that was positive, the specific product responsible for an outbreak and, therefore, to accurately identify other product that might also be adulterated,” the agency wrote in the proposed rule.

    If finalized, retail outlets, including supermarkets and other grocery stores, meat markets, and warehouse clubs and supercenters, that regularly make ground beef by mixing cuts of beef from various sources will be impacted. USDA says these retail outlets will be required to keep clear records identifying the source, supplier, and names of all materials used in the preparation of the ground beef products.

    The agency expects the proposed rule to affect 76,093 retail outlets nationwide with a cost to industry between $2.69 and $4.39 million to implement necessary new recordkeeping activities and make those records available to the agency. The agency specifically is asking stakeholders submit comments related to the recordkeeping assumptions made in the proposed rule.

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    Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)
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    • Typical closeout for steers sold this week & hedged when placed on feed: ($63.61)
    • Typical closeout for un-hedged steers sold this week: $267.61
    • Projected closeout based on the futures & estimated Cost of Gain for steers placed on feed this week: ($63.35)
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    Slaughter Cattle:
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    Friday, negotiated cash trade was mostly inactive on light to moderate demand in all feeding regions. Few live sales have traded this week in the Texas Panhandle at 155.00, however not enough sales for and adequate market test. Last week in the Texas Panhandle live sales sold from 155.00-156.00. On Wednesday in Kansas live sales sold from 155.00-156.00. In Nebraska on Thursday live sales sold mostly at 156.00 with dressed sales from 246.00-248.00. On Thursday in Colorado live sales sold at 157.50. In the Western Cornbelt on Thursday live sales sold from 155.00-156.00 with dressed sales from 246.00-247.00.
     
    Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection:
                                          CATTLE    CALVES   HOGS         SHEEP
    Friday 07/18/2014        (est)  114,000      2,000      282,000        5,000
    Week ago (est)                     111,000      2,000      275,000        6,000
    Year ago (act)                       122,000      3,000      396,000        7,000
    Week to date (est)                 573,000    10,000   1,832,000       39,000
    Same Period Last Week (est)  567,000    10,000   1,857,000       41,000
    Same Period Last Year (act)    614,000    15,000   2,010,000       42,000

    Saturday 07/19/2014      (est)     4,000         0            1,000             0
    Week ago (est)                          9,000         0            2,000             0
    Year ago (act)                          39,000         0            1,000             0
    Week to date (est)                  577,000    10,000   1,833,000        39,000
    Same Period Last Week (est)   576,000    10,000   1,859,000        41,000
    Same Period Last Year* (act)  653,000    16,000   2,012,000         42,000
    2014 Year to Date              16,494,000   332,000  57,263,000   1,161,000
    2013 *Year to Date            17,699,000   404,000  60,066,000   1,151,000
    Percent change                     -6.8%      -17.7%       -4.7%         0.9%

    Negotiated prices paid for Slaughter Steers and Heifers:

    Live basis:            Steers                              Heifers
    Over 80% Choice     156.00-157.00 avg 156.94         -
    65 - 80% Choice      154.00-155.00 avg 154.42   155.00-155.00 avg 155.00
    35 - 65% Choice      155.00-155.00 avg 155.00         -
    0 - 35% Choice             -                                        -
    Total all grades    154.00-157.00 avg 156.38   155.00-155.00 avg 155.00

    Dressed basis
    Over 80% Choice    246.00-246.00 avg 246.00         -
    65 - 80% Choice     247.50-247.50 avg 247.50         -
    35 - 65% Choice     247.00-247.00 avg 247.00         -
    0 - 35% Choice             -                                       -
    Total all grades    246.00-247.50 avg 246.31         -

     

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    Corn Crop Condition:
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    More than 75 percent of the nation’s corn crop is rated in good or better condition according to the USDA’s Crop Progress report, which is the highest for mid-July since 1999.

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    National Grain Summary:
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    Corn and wheat closed lower while August soybeans had slight gains with new crop beans closing lower.  Wheat prices closed with solid losses after Thursday’s panic buying over the down Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine appears will not affect the flow of wheat through the Black Sea region.  Corn and soybeans remain in a bearish market as cool weather and excellent growing conditions for July continue.
    Corn Futures Summary: Corn futures turned decidedly lower Friday. Corn futures rose quite modestly Thursday despite strong export news and the destruction of an airliner over a rebel-held area of Ukraine. The uncertainty of the latter situation could affect prices through summer, but the muted reaction to those events apparently persuaded traders that it’s not a big issue. Ideal weather keeps pointing to a huge crop and lower prices. September corn fell 8.25 cents to $3.70/bushel Friday, while December lost 8.75 cents to $3.785.

    Soybean Futures Summary: Beans and meal weakened despite good export news. Soybean and product futures firmed Thursday night, then rallied further in response to news of sizeable new-crop bean sales. However, bulls in the bean and meal pits couldn’t sustain the gains, possibly due to glorious short-term weather forecasts for the Corn Belt. Oil firmed from depressed levels. August soybean futures closed 2.0 cents higher at $11.7675/bushel Friday afternoon, while November futures tumbled 8.75 cents to $10.8525. August soyoil advanced 0.20 cents to 36.57 cents/pound, while August soymeal slid $0.2 to $380.3/ton.

    Wheat Futures Summary: The wheat markets reversed Thursday’s gains. Wheat futures reacted strongly to Thursday’s Ukraine news, but slipped later in the day. The underlying suggestion that the event won’t greatly affect Black Sea wheat trading seemed to coalesce this morning, as indicated by the sizeable losses posted as the day passed. Talk that U.S. winter wheat yields have improved as the harvest advances reportedly depressed KC prices. September CBOT wheat dove 18.5 cents to $5.3225/bushel at their Friday settlement, while September KC wheat dropped 15.25 cents to $6.3375/bushel, and September MWE wheat sank 6.75 cents to $6.3025.

    Weekly export sales for corn totaled 42.1 mb with 22.6 mb for 2013-2014 marketing year.  Soybeans had weekly export sales totaling 22 mb with 1.4 mb for the 2013-2014 marketing year.  Wheat had weekly export sales of 11.8 mb for the 2014-2015 marketing year. 
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    Five Year Moving Average - Corn
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    Your Suggestions:
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