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Weekly Market Summary
For the week ending May 19, 2017
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The Cattle Range Market Trendlines:
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The markets regained much of the early week losses with fat cattle prices being the biggest loser.  The fundamentals basically remain the same as does the reality that meat production will continue to increase in the upcoming months with price stability or improvement contingent upon a robust export market.  Both a continued weaker dollar and exports to China would make this more likely.
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10 Day Market Trendline
Change from Previous Day: +0.82%
 Change from 10 Days Ago: -4.46%
Change from 60 Days Ago: +8.60%
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60 Day Market Trendline
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The Trendlines are indicators of overall cattle/beef market strength and are based on daily market factors.  Each daily factor is the aggregate weighted total of the Gain/(Loss) for 12 market indicators compared to the previous trading day. The angle indicates direction & velocity of the trend.
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  • View previous Summaries in the..WMS Archives
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    Regular Contents: 
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  • Weekly Market Overview.
  • National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary.
  • Stocker & Feeder Steers.
  • Stocker & Feeder Cattle Weekly Receipts.
  • 5 Year Moving Avg. - Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers.
  • Selected Auction Reports.
  • Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle.
  • Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs.
  • Canadian Cattle.
  • USDA National Retail Beef Report.
  • Photo of the Week.
  • Shootin' the Bull Weekly Analysis.
  • U.S. Dollar - 6 Month Chart.
  • Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers.
  • Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation.
  • Slaughter Cows & Bulls.
  • Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection.
  • Weekly Hay Reports.
  • Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review.
  • Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Cattle & Corn.
  • Stock Markets & Economic News.
  • Weather Outlook.
  • Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss).
  • Slaughter Cattle.
  • Corn Crop Condition.
  • National Grain Summary.
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    Of Possible Interest:  The views expressed in the content below are included in the WMS because we found them to be of interest but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Cattle Range.
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    Weekly Market Overview:
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    On-Line Store
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    National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:
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    RECEIPTS:  Auctions   Direct  Video/Internet   Total
    This Week     182,100     25,400        29,500         237,000
    Last Week     225,900     48,400        54,600         328,900
    Last Year       188,700     44,800          1,200         234,700

    Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves traded unevenly from mostly 5.00 lower to 6.00 higher.  There were instances where calves sold up to 10.00 lower early in the week.  Sales of feeder steers and heifers early in the week traded steady to 5.00 lower, with the tide turning at the later part of the week as sales sold 2.00-4.00 higher.  Trade active on moderate to good demand.  Early week auctions saw declines as the markets were trying to catch up with losses from the CME late last week.  The cattle futures were down sharply on Monday lending no support to the market.  All confidence was lost forcing buyers to purchase feeders at lower prices with calves taking the hardest hit.  However, the futures saw a comeback on Thursday and Friday triggering major gains on the board. 

    Northern buyers, especially in Nebraska, continue to drive the market and tip their hand as to how far they will go when local cattle come up for sale.  In Valentine, NE on Thursday 141 head of steers averaging 621 lbs sold for 205.50 and 180 head of yearling steers averaging 879 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 147.53.  With the board posting gains, cattle traders put money back on the table.  In Unionville, MO a load of steers weighing 714 lbs sold for 171.50, 10.00 higher than the average price for 7 weight steers sold in other parts of the state. 

    Slaughter weights saw a huge drop in the report released this week with an average dressed carcass weight of 832 lbs.  Perhaps feedlot operators might still have the upper hand despite lower fed cash trade this week as packers still need inventory.  Boxed-beef has a Choice and Select spread over 25.00 due to a significant amount of green cattle slaughtered.  On Friday, choice boxed-beef closed 55 cents lower at 247.14 with Select 4.09 lower at 221.42 when compared to the prior week’s close.  In the fed cattle exchange, Wednesday morning, slaughter cattle sold lower than the previous online sale with a weighted average price of 135.16 with a 1-9 day delivery, and 134.28 at a 1-17 day delivery.  This set the tone for Thursday’s cash cattle trade which also resulted in lower money.  Compared to last week, in the Texas Panhandle live sales brought 4.00 lower at 134.00.  Kansas live sales sold 4.00-5.00 lower from 133.00-134.00 and Nebraska live sales were reported from 133.00-135.50, with live sales at 135.00 in Colorado.  The Western Corn-belt had a few live sales sold at 134.00 and dressed at 212.00. 

    Warm temperatures swept across most of the trade area turning cooler late through the week as severe storms moved in dumping heavy rain and hail in some areas.  Planting continues to advance across the U.S. with 71 percent of the corn crop on the ground and soybeans at 32 percent complete which is on pace with the five year average.  Auction volume this week included 50 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 46 percent heifers. 

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    Stocker Steers:
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    Feeder Steers:
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    Stocker & Feeder Cattle Weekly Receipts:
    Weekly sales of Stocker Calves & Feeder Cattle sold via auctions, direct country sales, and video/Internet sales as reported by the UDSA Market News
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    Five Year Moving Average - Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers:
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    Cattle Futures Summary: Live cattle futures futures finished the day 52.5 to 87.5 cents higher, with August up $1.40. The July contract lost 1.38% on the week. Feeder cattle futures were 87.5 cents to $1.10 higher on Friday, with July down 0.83% since last Friday. The CME feeder cattle index was at $143.86 on May 18, up $1.81 from the previous day. Wholesale beef prices were slightly lower again in the afternoon report, with choice boxes down 7 cents, averaging $247.17, and select down 24 cents, averaging $221.42. Estimated weekly FI slaughter through tomorrow is 602,000 head, down 10,000 head from last week and 12,000 head larger than the same week last year. Cash cattle traded around $3-$4 lower than last week, but are still showing a $10-$12 positive basis. Spec traders added 3,743 contracts to their net long position in live cattle futures and options as of Tuesday.
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    Selected Auction Reports:
    "Click" on individual.auction links.for complete report
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    Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS
    Receipts:  1747    Last Week:  3018    Year Ago:  2130
    Compared to last week: Steers 800-900 lbs steady to 1.00 higher; 800 lbs and under higher undertone noted. Heifers in a limited supply 550-700 lbs 6.00-10.00 higher, 700-800 lbs steady to firm; 550 lbs and under a lower undertone noted.

    Green Forest Livestock Auction - Green Forest AR
    Receipts:  702  Last Week:  1150  Year Ago:  930
    Compared to one week earlier slaughter cows 3.00 to 5.00 higher, slaughter bulls mostly steady, feeder steers and steer calves unevenly   Steady, feeder bulls and bull calves mostly steady, feeder heifers and  heifer calves unevenly steady, replacement cows mostly steady.

    Mitchell Livestock Wtd Avg Report - Mitchell SD
    Receipts:  1909    Last Week:  3609    Year Ago:  3886
    Compared to last week:  Much lighter offering of feeder cattle this week, feeder steers over 800 lbs unevenly steady, under 800 lbs not well tested last week to offer a comparison.

    Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City OK
                                Receipts         Week Ago      Year Ago
    Total Receipts:    8599              12,473             8,225
    Feeder Cattle: 8599(100%) 12,473(100%) 8,225(100%)
    *** Add Close Updating with Actual Receipts*** Compared to last week:  Feeder steers trading steady to 5.00 lower. Feeder heifers 1.00-3.00 lower.  Steer calves lightly tested with a lower undertone noted, heifer calves 2.00-3.00 lower on heavier weights.

    El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK
                                  Receipts         Week Ago     Year Ago
    Total Receipts:      16895             19,508             0
    Feeder Cattle: 16,895(100%) 19,508(100%) 0(0%)
    ***Final report for the week of 05/16-17/2017*** Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers traded mostly steady to 2.00 higher,with exception of 900-100 lb steers 4.00 higher.  Steer calves sold with limited weight ranges to compare to with exception to 550-600 lb calves bringing 3.00 lower.

    Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO
                                 Receipts       Week Ago       Year Ago
    Total Receipts:     6,949             8,134               4,655
    Feeder Cattle: 6,949(100%) 8,134(100%) 4,655(100%)
     ***CLOSE***  Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves 6.00 to 10.00 lower, yearlings 2.00 to 4.00 lower.  Demand moderate, supply heavy.  Feeder cattle being pressured as Slaughter steers and heifers, and cattle futures sharply lower.

    Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM
    Receipts:  1852            Week Ago: 2446            Year Ago: 2458
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers under 600 lbs 5.00-7.00 lower.  Steers over 600 lbs steady to 3.00 higher.  Heifers over 600 lbs steady to 3.00 lower.  Slaughter cows steady to 2.00 higher; bulls steady to 1.00 lower.

    Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD
    Receipts:  2832    Last Week:  2508    Year Ago:  2840
    Compared to last week: Feeder steers under 850 lbs lightly  tested, over 850 lbs mostly steady to 4.00 higher with the exception of 950-1000 lbs 7.00 lower in a narrow comparison.

    Blue Grass South Livestock Market - Stanford KY
    Receipts:  644    Last Week:  1070    Year Ago:  1420
    Compared to last Monday:Feeder steers and heifers steady with good  demand.Slaughter cows and bulls steady with good demand. Feeders-557,slaughter-62,Replacements-25 Supply included 62 percent over 600 lbs and 30 percent heifers.

    Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX
    Receipts:  2771    Last Week:  3599    Year Ago:  2453
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers sold 1.00 to 4.00 higher.  Trade was active on very good demand.  Offering consisted of mostly yearling steers weighing 700-850 lbs and heifers weighing 600-750 lbs.

    Cullman Stockyard - Cullman AL
    Receipts:  1004    Last Week:  1039    Year Ago:  978
    Compared to last week: Slaughter cows sold 1.00 to 3.00 lower, slaughter bulls sold 2.00 to 3.00 lower. Feeder bulls and steers sold 2.00 to 3.00 lower.

    Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA
    Receipts:  1550    Last Week:  2000    Year Ago:  1500
    Compared to last Thursday at the same market, stocker and feeder cattle firm in a light test. Trade active with good demand for small lots and singles. Slaughter cows and bulls 2.00-4.00 higher.

    Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX
    Cattle and Calves: 2264      Week ago: 2007      Year Ago:  1340
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers firm to 2.00 higher,instances heifers over 500 lbs 3.00-5.00 higher.  Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady.  Trade active.

    Valentine Livestock Auction Market - Valentine NE
    Receipts:  2300  Last week: 690 Last year: 3845
    No recent test of market for an accurate comparison a trend will not be given for steers or heifers.  Demand was good with several buyers today.

    Pratt Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction - Pratt, KS
    Receipts:  3422    Last Week:  7076    Year Ago:  4545
    Compared to last week: Feeder steers 600-650 lbs and 750-1000 lbs firm to 8.00 higher on a light test. Feeder heifers 600-950 lbs firm to 6.00 higher on a limited supply. Not enough steer and heifer calves for a market test.

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    Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:
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    WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
    Receipts:  350      Week Ago:  6,525    Year Ago:  320
    No comparable sales last week for a market comparison. Demand was light this week after lower trading prevailed on the CME cattle boards most of the week. Also, most yearling cattle are out on summer grass and buyers and sellers are waiting to see what direction the summer yearling market will go.

    AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri)
    Confirmed: 0 
    Compared to last week, Trade inactive, demand light. Feedyards and calf raisers are at a stand off.  Trade should resume when the market shows some stability. Cattle weighing over 600 lbs totaled 0 percent.  Heifers totaled 0 percent.

    IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon)
    Receipts:  0     Last Week:  0     Last Year: 190
    Compared to the last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not tested.  Prices based on net weights FOB after a 3 percent shrink or equivalent and 5-10 cent slide on calves and 4-6 cent slide on yearlings from base weights.  Supply included 0 percent over 600 lbs; 0 percent heifers.  Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses. 

    Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
    Receipts: 410           Last Week 7,250        Last Year 3,734 
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not tested last week for current FOB delivery.  Demand remains good. Supply consisted of 100 percent over 600 lbs; 91 percent heifers.  Unless 
    otherwise stated prices are FOB with a 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 8-12 cent slide on calves and 4-8 cent slide on yearlings from base weight.

    Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
    Receipts:  4775    Last Week:  3369    Year Ago:  3407
    Compared with last week: not enough current FOB cattle for an accurate market test, the bulk of the weeks receipts are forward contracted cattle, by price or basis.

    Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
    Receipts: 0           Last Week 80          Last Year 0 
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not tested.Supply included 0 percent over 600 lbs; 0 percent heifers.  Unless otherwise stated prices are FOB weigh point with a 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 8-12 cent slide on calves and 4-8 cent slide on yearlings from base weights.

    New Mexico Feeder Cattle Report (Mon)
    Receipts:  3100    Last Week:  3600    Year Ago:  1945
    Compared to last week:  Not enough current FOB sales of feeder steers or heifers in previous week for an adequate market trend.  Trade activity and demand were light to moderate.  Supply consisted of 92 percent steers and 8 percent heifers.

    Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
    Receipts:  2050    Last Week:  1000    Year Ago:  3900
    Compared to last week, feeder cattle steady in a light test. Trade slow with good demand. CME positions moved higher and lower during the trading session, however feeder contracts finished higher to end the day. The feeder supply included 76 percent steers and 24 percent heifers.

    Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
    Receipts: 4,710        Last Week: 1,755       Last Year 3,536 
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers were lightly  tested and no trend available.  Demand moderate for all classes.  Receipts this week consisted of 100 percent over 600 lbs and 64 
    percent heifers.

    Texas Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
    Confirmed: 21,900     Last Week: 21,600    Last Year: 26,600
    Compared to last week current FOB feeder steers and heifers were steady to 4.00 lower. Approximately 85 percent of week's cattle weighed over 600 lbs. Approximately 60 percent of this week's weighted average receipts were steers and 40 percent heifers.
     

  • Extensive U.S. & Canadian Auction Results are available on The Cattle Range
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    Representative Sales of Cows & Pairs:
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    Reported by.USDA Market News for the week ending May 19th:
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    • El Reno, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-3 yr old 800-1300 lbs 3-8 months bred avg quality 750.00-1075.00 per head; 2 yr old 1125 lbs 7  months bred hi quality 1400.00 per head; 5-6 yr old 900-1325 lbs 2-7 months bred avg quality 875.00-1175.00 per head; 7-8 yr old 1225-1300 lbs 5-8 months bred avg quality 885.00-1050.00 per head; 9-10 yr old 1175-1350 lbs 5-8 months bred avg quality 850.00-1075.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-2 yr old 925-975 lb cows w/100-200 lb calves avg quality 1550.00 per pair; 2  yr old 900 lb cows w/75 lb calves low-avg quality 1000.00 per pair; 6-8 yr old 1350 lb cows w/100-250 lb calves avg quality 1300.00 per pair; 7 yr old 1300 lb cows w/75 lb calves low-avg quality 1175.00 per pair; 9 yr old 1225 lb cows w/100 lb calves avg quality 1150.00 per pair. 
    • McAlester, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-4 yr old 950-1100 lbs 6-8 months bred avg-hi quality 910.00-1175.00 per head; 1-4 yr old 1025-1250 lbs 4-6 months bred avg-hi quality 950.00-1200.00 per head; 5-6 yr old 1075-1300 lbs 4-8 months bred avg-hi quality 1060.00-1310.00 per head; 7-8 yr old 1100-1275 lbs 4-8 months bred avg-hi quality 975.00-1150.00 per head; 9-10 yr old 1100-1250 lbs 4-6 months bred avg quality 925.00-1050.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-4 yr old 800-1025 lb cows w/75-175 lb calves low-avg quality 1000-1360.00 per pair; 5-6 yr old 775-1075 lb cows w/150-300 lb calves low-avg quality 860.00-1260.00 per pair; 7-8 yr old 850-1125 lb cows w/225-275 lb calves avg quality 1075-1125.00 per pair; 9-10 yr old 975-1250 lb cows w/75-300 lb calves avg-hi quality 900.00-1130.00 per pair. 
    • Oklahoma City, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yr old 1050-1400 lbs 6-7 months bred avg-hi quality 1260.00-1450.00 per head; 2-4 yr old 825-1175 lbs 2-7 months bred avg quality 900.00-1160.00 per head; 5 yr old 1175-1200 lbs 4-5 months bred avg black 1300.00-1350.00 per head; 5-6 yr old 1025-1200 lbs 1-6 months bred avg quality 910.00-1225.00 per head; 8-10 yr old 1125-1225 lbs 6-7 months bred avg quality 850.00-1000.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  1 yr old 850 lb cows w/125 lb calves avg quality 1325.00 per pair; 5 yr old 1100 lb cows w/100 lb calves avg quality 1325.00 per pair; 8-10 yr old 1075-1350 lb cows w/100-150 lb calves avg quality 1075.00-1250.00 per pair; 8-10 yr old 1000-1100 lb cows w/100-250 lb calves low-avg quality 985.00-1075.00 per pair. 
    • Clovis, NM:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 1100-1415 lb cows 3-6 months bred 975.00-1050.00 per head; Aged 955-1030 lb cows 3-6 months bred 700.00-735.00 per head.  First Calf Heifers:  Pkg 760 lb cows 3-6 months bred 760.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 800-1100 lb cows w/150-450 lb calves 1075.00-1475.00, per pair; Middle Aged pkg 800 lb cows w/200-300 lb calves 1185.00 per pair; Aged pkg 835 lb cows w/150-160 lb calves 1125.00 per pair. 
    • Roswell, NM:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 905-1245 lb cows 3-8 months bred 900.00-1250.00 per head; Middle Aged pkg 1248 lb cows 3-6 months bred 975.00 per head; Aged 805-1075 lb cows 6-8 months bred 575.00-925.00 per head.  First Calf Heifers: 745-865 lb cows 3-8 months bred 710.00-1000.00 per head.  Small and Medium Frame:  Young 550-698 lb cows 3-8 months bred 550.00-600.00 per head; Middle Aged to Aged 648-990 lbs 6-8 months bred 400.00-575.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 950-1125 lb cows w/140-150 lb calves 1400.00-1450.00 per pair; Middle Aged 1000 lb cow w/250 lb calf 1125.00 per pair.
    • Joplin, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1075-1350 lbs 1100.00-1450.00, 1st stage 945-1100 lbs 975.00-1050.00; 7 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1090-1345 lbs 910.00-1075.00; broken mouth to aged 1090-1305 lbs 785.00-1000.00. Large 1-2  4-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1425-1600 lbs 1050.00-1200.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1395-1550 lbs 970.00-1100.00. Medium and Large 2  2-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 900-1020 lbs 850.00-1050.00, 1st stage 6 yr 950 lb indiv. 975.00; broken mouth 2nd stage 1080 lb indiv. 710.00. Medium 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 800-1050 lbs 800.00-1075.00; broken mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 900-1045 lbs 520.00-700.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 1075-1250 lb cows w/babies to 300 lb calves 1300.00-1450.00; 7 yrs to aged 1100-1330 lb cows w/babies to 155 lb calves 1100.00-1375.00. Medium and Large 2  5 yrs to aged 1085-1125 lb cows w/baby calves 1000.00-1075.00. Medium 1-2  2-5 yrs 800-1030 lb cows w/babies to 250 lb calves 1150.00-1375.00; 7 yrs to aged 900-1050 lb cows w/babies to 350 lb calves 900.00-1025.00 per pair.
    • Springfield, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1020-1365 lbs 1100.00-1400.00, 1st stage pkg 2-3 yrs 875 lbs 1085.00; 7 yrs to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1115-1330 lbs 750.00-1050.00. Large 1-2  6-7 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1375-1735 lbs 1075.00-1260.00; short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1375-1480 lbs 885.00-900.00. Medium and Large 2  2-7 yrs 925-1075 lbs 950.00-1050.00. Medium 1-2  4-6 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 930-1080 lbs 800.00-1060.00, 1st stage couple 3-4 yrs 995 lbs 850.00-950.00; short and solid mouth 2nd stage 880-1045 lbs 725.00-750.00 per head.  Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  short and solid mouth 1225 lb cow w/baby calf 1110.00. Medium and Large 2  3 yr 845 lb cow w/155 lb calf 1275.00; short and solid mouth 1160-1270 lb cows w/baby calves 1000.00-1050.00. Medium 2  3 yr 740 lb cow w/150 lb calf 1025.00 per pair.
    • West Plains, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yr old 1022-1605 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1050.00-1500.00 per head, 1st stage 950.00-1100.00 per head.  Package 14 hd 4-5 yr old 1074 lb Red Angus cows in the 2nd stage 1600.00 per head.  Short-solid to broken mouth 1010-1440 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 750.00-1100.00 per head.  Medium and Large 2  2-7 yr old 768-1080 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 775.00-1025.00 per head, 1st stage 725.00-950.00 per head; Short-solid to broken mouth 820-1215 lb cows in 2nd-3rd stage 625.00-850.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-5 yr old 860-1135 lb cows with 125-200 lb calves 1450.00-1850.00 per pair; 3-n-1 pkgs 5-6 yr old 1370-1410 lb cows in the 1st stage with 200-300 lb calves 1600.00-1850.00 per pair, Pkg 3 pairs short-solid mouth 970 lb cows in the 1st stage with 200 lb calves 1275.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 2  3-5 yr old 825-945 lb cows with 100-200 lb calves 1050.00-1300.00 per pair; Short-solid to broken mouth 957-1019 lb cows with 100-200 lb calves 850.00-1050.00 per pair. 
    • Riverton, WY:
      • Bred Cows: Heifers couple small packages 905-1050 lbs 1425.00, few 805-1155 lbs 860.00-1075.00; Young individual 1570 lbs 1425.00, few 1135-1435 lbs 1000.00-1075.00 all per head. 
      • Pairs: Heifers individual 1160 lb heifer with 200 lb calf 1925.00, few 870-1070 lb heifers with 100-140 lb calves 1500.00-1625.00; Young few 1140-1350 lb cows with 150-250 lb calves 1575.00-1775.00, couple 1105-1630 lb cows with 175-225 lb calves 1425.00-1475.00; Middle Aged (Short Solids) few 1190-1330 lb cows with 200-300 lb calves 1600.00-1700.00, couple 1550-1565 lb cows with 150-250 lb calves 1325.00-1425.00, couple (Longhorns) 760 lb cows with 100 lb calves 700.00; Aged (Short Term) few 1275-1605 lb cows with 100-220 lb calves 1175.00-1300.00, few 840-1145 lb cows with 135-200 lb calves 975.00-1025.00 all per head. 
    • Alabama:
      • Open and Bred Replacement Cows:  Young to Middle Aged Large 2: 0-3 mos 850.00-1140.00; 4-6 mos 1000.00-1300.00; 7-9 mos 1100.00-1275.00; Medium 2 0-3 mos 690.00-950.00; 4-6 mos 825.00-1100.00; 7-9 mos 950.00-1250.00. Small 2: 0-3 mos 500.00-800.00; 4-6 mos 705.00-950.00; 7-9 mos 825.00-1125.00. Aged: Large 3: 0-3 mos 725.00-895.00; 4-6 mos 700.00-950.00; 7-9 mos 925.00-1035.00; Medium 3: 0-3 mos 530.00-680.00; 4-6 mos 600.00-900.00; 7-9 mos 765.00-1000.00. Small 3: 0-3 mos 400.00-580.00; 4-6 mos 510.00-650.00. 
      • Pairs: Young to Middle Aged Cows with Calves 100-300 lbs Large 2: 1500.00-1800.00; Medium 2: 1200.00-1500.00; Small 2 1000.00-1250.00; Large 3 1025.00-1250.00. Medium 3: 900.00-1175.00. Small 3: 750.00-1000.00.
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    Canadian Cattle:
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    Alberta Beef Producers: Alberta direct cattle sales so far this week have seen light trade develop with dressed sales ranging from 292.00-293.00 delivered. Initial sales are 8.00-12.00 lower than last week. Over the past two weeks fed prices have dropped 16.00, moving from the low 190's to now the mid 170's. Buyers were indicating cattle that they bought this week would be picked up by early June.
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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 $0.7293 U.S. dollars
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    Prices for the week ending May 12th:
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    The "Nord Fork"

    Replaces Flankers at Branding
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    What Is China’s Global Food Objective?
    John Nalivka... President -- Sterling Marketing
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    In the U.S., per capita red meat and poultry supplies hit a low of 202 pounds in 2014. That was down nearly 9% from a record 222 pounds produced in 2007. The low point in production caused record prices which produced our rapid herd expansion. This year, per capita red meat and poultry supplies will reach 218 pounds, up 8% from the 2014 low. In 2018 we are projecting the red meat and poultry supply will be pushed to 223 lbs. per person, 11% higher than in 2007 and a new record.

    Simply put, the supply of total meat over at least the next 2 to 3 years will outpace the domestic demand necessary to maintain current prices across the beef complex. The key to beef prices as we go forward, given the supply outlook, will be export demand. Asia, and more specifically China, will be the prominent player in the demand outlook. In 2017, beef and pork exports to Asia are up sharply to date. While future trade deals are obviously critical to the future of U.S. meat, dairy, and grain trade, I believe we may be overlooking another option for China.

    Chinese imports of agricultural commodities largely rest on the notion of food security. They have recently shown their willingness to once again open their market for U.S. beef. But this is likely a short to intermediate-term decision that is consistent with a longer term goal of self-sufficiency.

    So where does that lead? It leads to the acquisition of food production in global markets by Chinese companies. Think Smithfield Foods accounting for 28% of U.S. pork production and acquired by Shienwa (now WD) a Chinese company in 2013. Smithfield recently purchased Farmer John in California which brought their share of U.S. pork production to 30%. The reality is that every pound of pork produced by Smithfield can be sold to China.

    Chinese food companies have also acquired three beef plants in Uruguay as well as several dairy operations in New Zealand. I submit that at some point a Chinese interest will purchase a major beef processing company or perhaps a major beef, pork, and poultry processing company in the U.S. It fits a strategy of food security through self-sufficiency.

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    Adjusting Retail Meat Prices
    CME Group
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    One of the lines of argument for beef prices moving lower in the coming weeks has to do with the fact that buyers appear to have moved to the sidelines and have significantly reduced their forward purchases. This was evident in the last USDA comprehensive cutout report. Beef sales for delivery 22-60 days out were down 20% from the average in the previous four weeks while sales for delivery 61-90 days out were down 78%. For those not familiar with these data, here’s an example. USDA reported that packers sold just 40 loads of beef that will deliver 61-90 days forward, basically July through September. In the previous four weeks, sales of product for delivery 61-90 days out averaged 184 loads/week, hence the 78% decline. Does this mean that beef prices will collapse as packers suddenly find that they will have to sell more beef in the spot market? 

    Maybe but that is far from guaranteed. In the end, what will cause the quantity demanded to decline is not what buyers but what the consumers do. A buyer that needs two loads a week and opts to buy just one because prices are high does not really affect demand. That buyer now has three loads to buy the following week and there is only so long one can rely on inventories or forward bookings. The hope (guessing) in the market at this time is that the retailer will increase prices quickly enough to cause consumers to change their purchasing behavior. We saw this at play earlier this year when retail bacon features caused significant shortages in the spot market but which were quickly alleviated once retail prices reset and consumers curtailed how much bacon they were taking from the meat case.

    And this brings us to the topic of retail prices and how quickly they will have to adjust in order to affect wholesale and live values. USDA updated at the end of last week its monthly retail price series based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (inflation data). The average price of beef at retail in April was reported at $5.93.lb, 0.5% higher than the previous month but 2.8% lower than the previous year. The choice beef cutout in April was 2.5% lower than a year ago. One item that has really exploded in price at the wholesale level is 50CL beef, with prices for fresh product over $2/lb. This for an item that last December packers could not give away and was trading in the low 30 cents, near rendering value. 

    What happened? The official average ground beef price in April was pegged at $4.08/lb., 5.8% lower than a year ago. The chart above shows an indexed value of ground beef prices. This is nothing but a fancy way of saying that we are comparing current prices to a set period a while back. In this case the set period is 2011 average. The average price of ground beef back then was $3.46/lb. Compared to that level, the April ground beef price was about 18% higher. The problem is that retailers may feature ground beef at less money and studies have shown that when you put product in features it tends to sell more volume. According to the USDA weekly beef retail features report, the average price of 80-89% ground beef in the first two weeks of May was $3.12 a pound, down about 9% from a year ago and just 5% higher than the 2011 average. 

    In other words, consumers today are looking at prices in ground beef features that are up just 5% from where they were in 2011, well below the rate of inflation during this period. Sales much be great. Add to this the sharp reduction in fat trim availability due to lower steer weights and there is very little fat trim floating around in the spot market these days. The chart above shows a similar comparison for bacon . Note the sharp decline in bacon feature prices in Q4 of last year. The decline was even bigger than the official numbers suggested. Following record Q1 prices, prices quickly rebounded in March and April. It should be interesting to see how quickly retailers respond to current beef market signals. Thanks to the timely USDA reports, the data is there for those that want to see it.

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    USDA National Retail Beef Report:
    Advertised Prices for Beef at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets
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    This week in Beef Retail, the Feature Rate posted a 20.9 percent decrease, the Special Rate charted a 6.0 percent decrease and the Activity Index saw a 16.4 percent decrease. Retailers have slowed on Beef features as Boxed Beef Cutout values have shown postive gains for multiple weeks. Chuck cuts were the only primal that saw increased ad space while all other primals saw less ad space. Cattle slaughter under federal inspection saw a .7 percent decrease when compared to last week.
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    Photo of the Week:
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  • 500 Angus Rep. Heifers... Southwest MO*
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    Shootin' the Bull Weekly Analysis:
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    In my opinion, not much has changed in the environment of cattle production.  The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that the packer no more anticipated this current environment than anyone else.  Therefore, it leads me to perceive the current environment will continue for sometime to come.  There is no incentive to grow cattle bigger.  The only way to produce incentive would be to buy enough physical inventory out front to keep from coming to the weekly showlist, but yards are privy to the environment as well and many do not want to sell cattle cheaper in the future and give the weight gain away to the packer.  The other way would be to push back month futures sharply higher to produce incentive to hold cattle back.  With the basis spreads having been run wide all year, that doesn't appear to be likely.  So, I continue to anticipate the basis spread to be aggregated to even as front month futures go into expiration.  Futures appear to be completing the final minor waves of the intermediate wave 4 correction. 

    Two reversal signals were produced this week with one being a "Morning Star" on the candlestick chart and the other an outside reversal made on Thursday.  All that is needed to begin suggesting wave 4 complete would be a turn of the oscillator higher.  With the oscillator still not having returned to the zero line, it suggests the current wave structure to still be intact.  So, were a resumption of the uptrend to resume, it will be the intermediate wave 5 rally to do so.  Upside projection for the intermediate 5th wave on the October contract is $126.12.  I continue to see no reason to hedge fat cattle at such a grave discount.  When the yard manager wants to sell fats for the highest price, he does so today.  When the yard manager wants to buy replacement feeders for the cheapest price, he does so today.  Not a bad swap. 

    Lastly, the reason for so much interest in this market is perceived the fundamental factor of basis and the opportunity that it sometimes presents.  In this case, the basis has been exceptionally wide with futures moves of $10.00 and $20.00 produced to close the basis.  As long as there is a positive basis, traders are anticipated to remain active in this market.  Very few traders will allow a penny to lay on the sidewalk for long.  At this spread width, there are several pennies to be had for those assuming the risk.

    Feeder cattle remain lagging behind the fats as there is no basis issues in feeders.  Yard managers, the only ones interested in feeders, have little reason now to pay $7.00 to $17.00 more for feeders in the near future than at present.  Again, remember the swap above.  A 1350# fat at $1.34 is $1,809.00 and a 850# steer at $1.45 is $1,232.50.  That $576.50 difference goes a long way in not needing to hedge cattle at the discount of futures.  Feeders appear to be completing their intermediate wave 4 as well.  I would anticipate traders to push the basis back towards the - $17.12 low made on the 3rd of May.  The oscillator reading is tepid suggesting it could turn higher on not much of an up move.  A reversal of the oscillator without it having returned to the zero line would lead me to continue with the wave count at present and anticipate a new contract high to approximately $168.00 August. 

    Corn took a sympathy bow to beans on Thursday.  By Friday's open though, corn was back higher and above the level from which it fell so sharply from.  I continue to like owning corn for two reasons now.  One to make sure I don't get caught feeding cattle and feed costs jump and now because of the long dormant period corn has sat in this trading range.  It's viewed as a powder keg, but not sure what may ignite it. 

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    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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    Fed Cattle Weights - A Real Shocker
    Daily Livestock Report
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    The latest data on fed cattle weights was a real shocker. The latest report covers the period April 30 - May 6 (two week lag in reporting) and it shows the following: steer dressed weights for that week were on average 832 pounds, down 15 pounds from the previous week and 30 pounds lighter than they were during that same week a year ago. The 3.5% decline in weights has a direct impact on total amount of beef pounds coming to market and a disproportionate impact on the amount of fat beef available (lighter cattle will generate less fat trim). The decline also helps explain the widening choice/select spread. 

    For the week ending May 6 steer slaughter was reported as 333,976 head implying a total beef production for the week of 277.9 million pounds. Last year, steer slaughter was 335,800 head but on average those steers yielded an 862 pounds carcass and a total beef production of 289.5 million pounds. So you have a shortage of about 4% in total pounds coming from fed steers at a time when the retailer has this stuff on sale and retail ground beef prices are at the lowest point they have been in about five years. Heifer weights also showed a similar decline. USDA pegged average heifer weights at 769 pounds per carcass compared to 801 a year ago, a 32 pound or 4% decline. There were 16.4% more heifers that came to market during the week than last year and this added to overall pounds even as weights were down. Still, combined steer/heifer (fed beef) production for the week was just 403 million pounds, only 0.4% higher than it was last year. 

    The numbers are also surprising because they deviate so much from what we have been seeing from the Mandatory Price Reporting numbers. We have derived a series of weighted average steer weights from the MPR system, using steers priced on negotiated and net formula basis. It is a significant sample and generally it has an R2 of almost 96% with the actual data that USDA reports. Based on that model, weights for the week of May 6 should have been around 849 pounds, instead they came in at 832. But we have seen outliers like this before, specifically during the market turmoil in September 2015. The reason likely has to do with the data going into our sample, which do not seem to capture extreme market events. 

    As for the choice-select spread, it has exploded in the last few weeks as market participants struggle to find high quality beef now that green cattle being pulled forward. The increase also reflects increased promotions of choice beef at retail going into the grilling season. Last year choice beef premiums declined sharply in the fall as weights increased and demand soffened. How quickly cattle weights recover will dictate the direction for choice premiums.

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    North American Cattle Groups Say Don’t Jeopardize NAFTA
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    The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) joined its cattle-industry partners in Canada and Mexico in sending a joint letter to President Trump, President Justin Trudeau of Canada, and President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico, urging the three leaders to not “jeopardize the success we have all enjoyed as partners of the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

    The letter was signed by NCBA President Craig Uden, Dan Darling, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, and Oswaldo Chazaro Montalvo, president of the Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas.

    “Recent statements about the possible dissolution of NAFTA or potential renegotiation of NAFTA are deeply concerning to us because of the unnecessary risk it places on our producers,” the letter states. “While there may be general agreement among the countries to improve some parts of the NAFTA trade framework, we urge you to recognize that the terms of the agreement affecting cattle producers are strongly supported as they currently exist and should not be altered.”

    The groups also urged them to “reject efforts to use NAFTA as a platform to resurrect failed policies, especially the misguided mandatory country-of-origin labeling policy that was the law of the United States for over seven years.”

    “COOL failed to deliver its proponents’ promise to increase consumer demand or consumer confidence,” the groups said. “Instead, it created massive disruptions in live cattle trade that hurt beef producers across North America and jeopardized the jobs of American workers that depend on processing those cattle.”

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    U.S. Dollar - 6 Month Chart:
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    Over the last 5 years, an average of around 10% of U.S. beef production has been exported, making exports an extremely important factor affecting beef and cattle prices.  A strong dollar depresses export demand.
  • U.S. Dollar Index
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    Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers:
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    Boxed beef cutout values steady on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings.  Select and Choice rib, chuck, and round cuts steady to firm. Choice loin cuts steady while Select lower. Beef trimmings not fully established.

    The average value of hide and offal for the five days ending Fri, May 19, 2017   was estimated at 11.42 per cwt., down 0.12 from last week and  up 0.36 from last year.

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    A Look at Cattle, Beef, & Exports
    Daily Livestock Report
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    After surging during late April and the first week of May, cash fed cattle prices declined last week by several dollars per cwt. Still, fed cattle prices remained above a year ago. Cash feeder cattle prices were mostly unchanged early in the week, but then tended to erode. Hog prices strengthened significantly last week, with national prices averaging nearly $5.00 per cwt. (dressed basis) higher week-over-week. Cash hog prices remained below 2016’s. Both the Choice beef and pork cutout values increased last week. 

    After setting life of contacts highs recently, last week both the Live Cattle (fed) and Feeder Cattle futures prices declined. Using the average of the daily closes, the October 2017 Live Cattle contract was $117.14 per cwt., dropping $1.09 week-over-week. The October Feeder Cattle contract averaged $150.00 per cwt. down $3.16 from the prior week’s average. Still, hedgers should note that the October Feeder Cattle contract last week was $30.00 above where it began the year (the week ending January 6, 2017 that contract was $120.01 per cwt.). For the May through November 2017 hog futures contracts, prices increased week-over-week. Last week, the August Lean Hog futures contract increased compared to the prior week’s average by $1.58 per cwt. and posted its highest level since the week ending March 17, 2017. The December 2017 contract posted a slight price decline.

    Looking at the news, at the top of the list was Thursday’s joint announcement by the U.S. departments of Commerce and Treasury that progress had been made on the “U.S.-China Economic Cooperation 100-Day Plan”. Eleven items were listed and at the top was beef. Per the announcement, following one more round of technical consultations, China is to allow imports of U.S. beef beginning no later than July 16, 2017. Background and comments regarding the situation and recent announcements have been provided in earlier editions of this newsletter and elsewhere. The U.S. beef industry awaits the details and then assessments of impacts can be developed.

    The other item we bring to attention was the release last week of a USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) report regarding U.S beef exports to Japan, our largest foreign market. Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) reports are done by experts stationed at our foreign embassy offices. A GAIN report from Tokyo, titled “Beef Market Share Competition to Intensify in 2018“, was released May 8th. The report provides insight into the competitive position of U.S. beef in Japan relative to other countries, especially Australia. From the report: “Monthly total U.S. beef exports to Japan outpaced Australian beef shipments in February 2017 for the first time in 14 years. These recent successes have occurred in spite of a comparatively stronger dollar and an eight percentage point tariff disadvantage relative to Australian chilled beef, the dominant beef supplier in the Japanese market.” Looking ahead, Australia’s significant tariff advantage and their rebuilding beef herd will challenge the U.S. Further, at the end of the report the authors state: “Improved market access for Australia and other Pacific Rim beef exporters (New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico) under a modified TPP, or a comparable successor agreement, could further reduce U.S. competitiveness in its most valuable export market.” 

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    Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation:
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    Over the years, the value of 25 bushels of corn has been approximately equal to the price per cwt. for feeder steers.
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    Slaughter Cows & Bulls:
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    Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to 4.00 higher, except Oklahoma steady to 2.00 lower. 

    Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Friday was 176.39 -- Up 3.46 from last Friday. 

                      Weight          Montana            Oklahoma       Alabama 
    Breakers    1100-1600   81.00-83.00    67.00-70.00    62.00-66.50
    Boners       1000-1450   73.00-78.00    67.00-70.00    64.00-69.00
    Lean           1000-1300   72.00-77.00    66.00-69.00    58.00-63.00
    Bulls           1300-2500   86.00-94.00    89.00-94.00    86.00-92.00

                    Confirmed  Week Ago  Year Ago   YTD       Year Ago
    National       6,730        7,023         6,103      35,266       34,939
    S Central     1,990        2,358         1,964      10,320       10,106
    N Central        614            598            486        1,530         2,421
    East             1,937         1,910        1,216       10,811         8,110
    West            1,130            573           964          5,687         6,814
    Midwest      1,059         1,584        1,473          6,918         7,488


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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, May 20, 2017 was estimated at 964.2 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 1.0 percent lower than a week ago and 3.5 percent higher than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 3.2 percent higher compared to the previous year.
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    Hay Stocks Down Year-Over-Year
    Livestock Marketing Information Center
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    USDA released the monthly Crop Production report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) on Wednesday of this week.  The crop report covered commodities mostly unrelated to the livestock sectors, but did contain the May 1, 2017 hay stocks.  The report is based on a NASS survey of producers.  U.S. hay stocks for May 1st give a carryover number as of that date which marks the national transition to a new hay crop-year.  Besides national totals, stocks by state are reported.  The major users of hay are the U.S. beef cowherd, feedlots, and dairies.

    Nationally, as of May 1, 2017, U.S. hay stocks were 24.4 million tons.  Stocks were down 750,000 tons (3%) year-over-year.  Even though stocks were the smallest since May 1, 2014 (19.1 million tons), they remained plentiful.  NASS does a producer survey on their hay stocks twice each year, as of December 1 and May 1.  U.S. winter hay usage (disappearance from December 1, 2016 until May 1 of this year) was less than expected earlier this year.  Still, in several regions, early winter feeding requirements were above levels of recent years and lower hay prices encouraged use.  Of course, year-over-year cowherd increases supported hay consumption, too.  Overall hay disappearance this past winter was the largest since the time period from December 1, 2009 to May 1, 2010 and the year-over-year increase was 2.3%, while the number of roughage consuming animal units increased 2.0% year-over-year. 

    Of the 48 reported states (all except Alaska and Hawaii) 22 had declines in hay stocks compared to a year ago.  Several Northern Plains and Western states reported lower hay stocks compared to a year ago.  In contrast, Texas, Oklahoma and most Midwest states had increased hay stocks to start the new crop-year.

    The national average price for all hay in 2016/17 was the lowest since the 2010/11 crop-year.  Based on current stock levels and very preliminary projections regarding 2017 production, hay prices may increase modestly year-over-year in 2017/18, but not enough to be a factor influencing most producer management or marketing decisions.

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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 May 10, 2017 were mostly mixed with some firmness noted. 
    • Soybean Meal was steady to 4.50 lower, mostly 1.50 to 2.50 lower. Cottonseed Meal was steady to 5.00 lower, mostly steady. Canola Meal was mixed, 1.50 lower to 8.50 higher. Linseed Meal was steady to 5.00 higher. Sunflower Meal was steady to 10.00 lower. 
    • Whole Cottonseed was mixed, 2.00 lower to 3.00 higher. 
    • Crude Soybean Oil was 12 to 37 points higher, mostly 12 points higher. Crude Corn Oil was 35 points higher. 
    • Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was mixed, 15.00 lower to 30.00 higher. Ruminant Blood Meal was steady to 40.00 lower. Feather Meal was steady to 60.00 lower, mostly steady. Menhaden Fishmeal was steady. 
    • Corn Hominy was steady. Gluten Feed was mixed 8.00 lower to 5.00 higher, mostly steady. Corn Gluten Meal was mixed 15.00 lower to 20.00 higher. 
    • Distillers Dried Grain was mixed, 9.00 lower to 5.00 higher, mostly steady to 5.00 higher. 
    • Wheat Middling's were mixed, 5.00 lower to 3.00 higher. Wheat millrun was steady to 5.00 lower.
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    5 Year Bullish/Bearish Consensus Charts:
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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 linein the chart, it means that compared to other readings over the past year, you're seeing excessive optimism. 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 excessively 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
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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Corn
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    Stock Markets & Economic News:
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    Midweek tumble partially reversed by Friday rallyStocks closed lower after a highly volatile week that saw a Friday rally partially compensate for a steep sell-off on Wednesday. The large-cap S&P 500 Index and the S&P MidCap 400 Index fared better than the other major benchmarks. After reaching its lowest level in over two decades the previous week, the Chicago Board of Exchange’s Volatility Index (VIX) spiked by almost half on Wednesday. Other markets were also notably volatile, with the dollar reaching its lowest level relative to the euro since October, while the price of gold rose sharply.

    On Wednesday, the Dow and the S&P 500 fell the most since September, while the Nasdaq tumbled the most since the Brexit vote in June. The declines followed allegations the previous evening that President Trump had requested ex-FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into possible ties between former Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. Most observers agreed that the deepening controversy threatened to undermine the Trump administration’s efforts on tax reform and other market-friendly policies.

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    U.S. Stocks:
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    "Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the last 12 weeks
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    Looking Ahead:
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    An extremely active weather pattern, featuring heavy rain, severe thunderstorms, and local flooding across the nation’s mid-section, will continue for the next few days. During the weekend, rainfall intensity will gradually diminish as showers shift into the eastern U.S. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 5 inches from the southern Plains into the upper Midwest, with 1 to 3 inches possible as far east as the Appalachians. Little or no rain will fall, however, along the Atlantic Seaboard. Significant precipitation, including high-elevation snow, will continue into Thursday across the Rockies and environs, but dry weather will prevail from southern California into the Desert Southwest. A period of very cool weather will trail the storminess, but warmth will return to the Pacific Coast by Friday and expand eastward during the weekend.

    The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for May 23 – 27 calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures from the Plains to the western slopes of the Appalachians, while warmer-than-normal weather can be expected west of the Rockies and along the southern Atlantic Coast. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation from the Pacific Northwest into the upper Midwest should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across the southern and eastern U.S.

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    Shape of the Market
    Ag Center Cattle Report
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    It is not surprising to acknowledge that markets are not one directional and any market that can move up $8 in a week, can fall $8 in a week. The question on most minds is where we go from here. The market on last Friday rallied either from an overcorrection on the downside or because of the China news -- or both. This week will test the validity of a rally.

    There is little doubt that beef demand is improved over last year. Slaughter rates have consistently run above last year and in spite of lower carcass weights, we still are producing 4-5% more beef than a year ago and selling it at higher prices. The improvement in demand has been from two sources. Retailers have enjoyed large margins by buying beef lower and holding retail prices mostly steady with important beef features at discounted prices to pull consumers into the stores. The unemployment rate has dropped and more people with more jobs translates into better demand for beef.

    Exports are a big driver in improving demand for our beef. Even without China, the news is good and exports during the first quarter of this year were much higher and increasing volumes to almost all our major trading partners. The second quarter will benefit from some redirected sourcing from Brazil following the national meat scandal a month ago. China may or may not develop into much larger sales this summer as administration officials promise.

    The national herd is still growing although at a greatly reduced rate of growth. There will be more calves and more yearlings all year and barring unforeseen weather events that can occur anytime, the flow into grazing and feeding operations will involve more cattle. Futures prices are forecasting higher prices next fall that either current prices or prior year prices. This would be optimistic unless one supposes the fed prices can be sustained this summer through year end in the mid $120s.

    Packer margins will be improving with the increasing numbers of fed cattle. The slaughter level that this past week jumped back above 600,000 head will need to remain brisk into and through the summer allowing the slaughter capacities to keep up with larger supplies and move the beef without a collapse in box prices.

    The two sectors closest to the consumer will need to be profitable in order to pull the beef through the pipeline and not have producers push it through with discounted pricing. Both retail and processors have been operating with squeezed margins that now are promising to widen. The need for lower prices can mean the $120s and not close to $100 that early year forecasts were predicting.

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    Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)
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    Slaughter Cattle:
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    Friday negotiated cash trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all feeding regions. The latest established market in any feeding region was on Thursday with live purchases at 134.00 in the Texas Panhandle. In Kansas on Thursday, live purchases ranged from 133.00-134.00. On Thursday in Nebraska, live purchases were mostly from 135.00-135.50 with dressed purchases from 210.00-215.00. In Colorado, live purchases were at 135.00. In the Western Cornbelt, live purchases were mostly at 134.00. Dressed purchases for the week from 210.00-215.00, bulk from 212.00-214.00.

    Negotiated Sales: Confirmed: 1,837     Week Ago: 4,138      Year Ago: 17,050

    Thursday's Trade:

    Negotiated Prices - Slaughter Steers & Heifers:
    Live Basis              Steers                                       Heifers
    Over 80% Choice  130.00 - 135.00 avg 133.78    131.00 - 135.00 avg 133.79
    65 - 80% Choice   129.00 - 135.00 avg 133.32    131.00 - 134.00 avg 133.43
    35 - 65% Choice    133.00 - 134.00 avg 133.76    131.00 - 134.00 avg 132.52
    0 - 35% Choice                   -                                                   - 
    Total all Grades     129.00 - 135.00 avg 133.49     131.00 - 135.00 avg 133.44

    Dressed Basis
    Over 80% Choice  205.00 - 214.00 avg 211.83     212.00 - 213.00 avg 212.55
    65 - 80% Choice   210.00 - 213.00 avg 211.39     212.00 - 213.00 avg 212.55
    35 - 65% Choice   212.00 - 213.00 avg 212.35                  - 
    0 - 35% Choice                   -                                                   - 
    Total all Grades    205.00 - 214.00 avg 211.66      212.00 - 213.00 avg 212.55

    Formula Purchases: Net - Dressed
    Head count priced today: 15,400
    Weighted avg weight:            834
    Weighted avg net price:   220.51

    The FCE On-Line Auction offered 2,379 head on Wednesday with 1,621 head selling.

    • 1-9 Day Delivery:  814 head, weighted average price $ 135.16
    • 1-17 Day Delivery:  570 head, weighted average price $ 134.28
    • 17-30 Day Delivery:  237 head, weighted average price $ 130.84
    Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection: 
                                     CATTLE    CALVES   HOGS        SHEEP 
    Friday  (est)             110,000        2,000        419,000       5,000
    Week ago (est)       114,000        2,000        418,000       6,000
    Year ago (act)         111,000        2,000        381,000       7,000
    Week to date (est)  561,000        9,000     2,169,000     33,000
    Last Week (est)       575,000     10,000     2,171,000     34,000
    Last Year (act)         559,000       8,000     2,075,000     38,000

    Saturday  (est)           47,000         0                 80,000       1,000
    Week ago (est)         37,000         0                 87,000         0
    Year ago (act)            30,000        0                 41,000        1,000
    Week to date (est)  608,000       9,000     2,249,000      34,000
    Last Week (est)      612,000     10,000     2,258,000      34,000
    Last Year* (act)       590,000       8,000     2,115,000      39,000
    2017 YTD           11,847,000   196,000  46,031,000    740,000
    2016 *YTD          11,210,000   171,000   44,839,000   777,000
    Percent change         5.7%         14.8%         2.7%           -4.8%

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    Weekly Corn Crop Report:
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    National Grain Summary:
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    Compared to last week, grain bids were mixed, while soybeans were lower.  Total corn export shipments remain bullish indicating USDA’s projected total demand of 2.225 bb is too low.  Friday we’ll find out whether the 2017 corn crop reached the tipping point where forecasts of rain could now be viewed as bearish.  Soybeans old-crop July and new-crop November are in a position to establish double-bottom technical patterns on weekly charts.   The situation in Brazil is far from stable leaving global soybean markets vulnerable to another round of strong commercial selling.  Commercial buying could be brought back to winter wheat as there is another round of strong spring storms expected overnight.  Total export shipments of wheat are indicating USDA’s demand projection of 1.035 is too high.  Weekly export sales for wheat were neutral-to-bearish coming in at 23.5 mb (640,700 mt) including 9.1 mb (247,600 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year.  Export sales for corn were bullish coming in at 34.4 mb (873,300 mt) with 27.8 mb (705,300) for the 2016-2017 marketing year. Soybeans were neutral-to-bullish coming in at 14.6 mb (396,800 mt) with 13.1 mb (355,300 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year.  Wheat were mixed from 33 cents lower to 16 cents higher.  Corn were mixed from 1/4 lower to 6 higher.  Sorghum were mixed from 5 cents lower to 30 cents higher.  Soybeans were 11-23 cents lower. 

    Corn futures closed the day 6 to 6 1/2 cents higher in the nearby contracts on Friday, as July finished positive on the week. The US dollar index dropped to the weakest reading since November, which was supportive. The Commitment of Traders report showed spec funds coming 4,733 contracts off last week’s net short position in corn futures and options as of Tuesday. Their net short was at 203,909 contracts. As reported earlier this week, Mexico purchased two 30,000 MT cargos of Brazil corn is their recent trade mission to South America. This is part of 300,000 MT that they are planning for import for August-October delivery in an effort to lessen their dependence on US supplies. China sold 989,630 MT of the nearly 1 MMT of 2011 & 2012 corn from state reserves offered at auction on Friday.

    Wheat futures ended the day with gains on all three exchanges. KC was the strongest, up 11-12 cents, with MPLS up as much as 11 cents. High winds and hail damaged additional wheat acreage overnight in a broad swath of OK and KS. There was also discussion about cold temps in CO and MT. Harvest is starting in Texas and Oklahoma and is about a week ahead of normal. In the CFTC COT report, spec funds added 13,493 contracts to their net short position in Chicago Wheat futures and options for the week ending May 16. They were net short 121,385 lots as of Tuesday. The managed money specs lowered their already tiny net long position in KC HRW during the week, subtracting 11,051 contracts to net long position of 2,641.

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    Five Year Moving Average - Corn & Wheat:
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