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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 October 17th:
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  • Bullish: Lower gasoline prices will make beef more affordable for consumers.
  • Bearish: Cattle & beef markets are being negatively affected by the turbulence in the stock markets.
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The Cattle Range 10-Day Market Trend:
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An indicator of overall cattle/beef market strength. The angle indicates direction & velocity of the trend.
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The Trendline is based on daily market factors for the last 10 days.
Each daily factor is the aggregate weighted total of the Gain/(Loss) for 10 major market indicators 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     247,800     23,800        20,000          291,600 
Last Week     231,600     21,800        11,000          264,400 
Last Year       135,000     67,900          None          202,900
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Compared to last week, yearling feeders along with steer and heifer calf prices were very uneven and posted wide trend swings just within the single week’s trading session.  Early week feeder and stocker trends were very uneven ranging from steady to 5.00 higher to 5.00 lower.  From mid-week on many auctions were instances as much as 8.00-10.00 lower.  The Northern Plains is the best place to sell many of the calves and 700-950 lb yearlings with long strings and load lots coming off grass selling with very good demand.  Over the last week Live and Feeder Cattle futures have seen great price volatility as buyers and sellers have had to remain cautious as on Tuesday and Wednesday Feeder Cattle contracts imploded with mostly limit losses in the feeder pit.  This is in part being accelerated by the heavy sell-off in the Stock Market since last Thursday and continuing into this week. 

The Dow closed on Wednesday with losses of 173 points and at one time had declined 460 points to close at 16,141.  Growing concerns about economic growth mainly in Europe and Asia has caused market participants to sell off assets and be in a very defensive mood.  This has cattle futures and many other agriculture commodities falling into that category.  Also, escalating concerns over the Ebola virus spreading further in the U.S. has investors nervous as well.  December Live Cattle has dropped near 8.00 from last Thursday’s record high to this Wednesday’s low as November feeder cattle has dropped over 11.00 during the same time period.  But despite these losses packers failed to exploit sharply lower futures as fat cattle traded near steady money on Wednesday afternoon mostly at 164.00 with a few at 165.00 in Nebraska and the Southern Plains with dressed sales steady at 258.00. Hopefully with the fat cattle trade holding onto steady money in the face of these adversities can stabilize cattle trader’s fears.  Then on Thursday Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle contracts did stabilize and rocked the bear back and closed with near limit gains for Live Cattle and limit gains for Feeder Cattle contracts.  But, volatility still dominates this market as on Friday Feeder Cattle contracts closed mostly limit down as traders attempt to make sense of a wild trading week. 

Despite the lower prices this week in the feeder cattle market we are still at all-time highs and back to prices in many areas we had two to three weeks ago.  On Monday in Torrington, WY sold 170 head of fancy steer calves averaging 416 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 400.69.  In Aberdeen, SD at the Hub City Livestock Market on Wednesday sold 497 head of steers weighing between 780-797 lbs averaging 791 lbs sold with a weighted average price 252.75.  This week’s auction volume included 42 percent over 600 lbs and 39 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
Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City OK...
Actual Receipts:  7411   Last Monday:  8428   Year Ago Monday: 8985
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers mostly steady to 3.00 lower.  Steer and heifer calves mostly steady to 5.00 higher.

El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK
Receipts:  6035    Last Week:  5708    Year Ago:  N/A
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers 8.00-10.00 lower. Steer and heifer calves under 400 lbs steady to 2.00 higher; over 400 lbs steady to 4.00 lower.

Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO
Receipts:  2930    Week Ago:  3900    Year Ago:  5578
Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves and yearlings steady, except yearling steers over 700 lbs steady to 2.00 higher.

Tri-State Livestock Auction Market - McCook NE
Receipts:  4100    Last Week:  1500    Year Ago:  2900
Compared to last week, calves were steady – 6.00 lower.  Except 400-450 and 550-600 were 6.00 – 10.00 higher.

Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE
Receipts:  1850    Last Week:  2370    Year Ago: 3015
Compared to last week, steers under 550 lbs sold 5.00 to 7.00 lower; 550-650 lbs sold 10.00 to instances 15.00 lower; over 650 lbs steady to 5.00 lower. Heifers under 550 lbs sold steady to 2.00 higher; over 550 lbs traded 5.00 to 8.00 lower.

Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA
Receipts:  2415    2 weeks ago:  2121    Year Ago:  2394
Compared to the sale 2 weeks ago: Feeder strs mostly 5.00-15.00 higher and feeder hfrs mostly 2.00-4.00 lower.

Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX
Receipts:  1756    Last Week:  1841    Year Ago:  1426
Compared to last week:  Calves weighing under 650 lbs sold weak to 4.00 lower.  Steers and heifers weighing over 650 lbs were 4.00-10.00 lower. Slaughter cows were not well tested in previous sale.

Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX
Cattle and Calves: 2527       Week ago: 1710        Year Ago:
Compared to week ago:  Feeder steers and heifers mostly 5.00 lower, except  300-550 lb steer steady to 2.00 higher.  Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady.

Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM
Receipts:  2820              Week Ago: 2727              Year Ago: 2012
Compared to a week ago:  Stocker and feeder steers and heifers 10.00-11.00 lower following near limit down CME's the past several days creating a very uneven market with buyers being very selective on quality, fill and condition.  Slaughter cows steady, bulls 3.00 lower.

Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA
Receipts:  1645    Last Week:  2400    Year Ago:  N/A
Compared to last Thursday at same sale, stocker and feeder cattle steady to weak in a light test. Trade slow to moderate with light to moderate demand as most offerings where offered in small lots and singles. Slaughter cows and bulls steady.

Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS
Receipts:  3100    Last Week:  2338    Year Ago:  3065
Compared to last week: Feeder Steers 650-950 lbs and Heifers 650-850 lbs steady to 4.00 lower on a limited supply of Medium and Large 1. Steer and Heifer calves firm to higher undertone noted on a limited test.

Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD
Receipts:  3806    Last Week:  2039    Year Ago:  Not Reported
Compared to last week:  Best comparison of steer calves were those 550-700 lbs which were 10.00 higher except 650-700 lbs steady to 3.00 higher.  Yearling steers 3.00 to 5.00 higher.  Only good comparison of heifer calves were 350-400 lbs which were 10.00 higher, 400-500 lbs steady.Yearling heifers 750-800 lbs 2.00 to 5.00 higher, other weights weren’t well tested last week to offer an accurate comparison.

Mitchell Livestock Wtd Avg Report - Mitchell SD
Receipts:  1806    Last Week:  2403    Year Ago:  Not Reported
Compared to last week:  Best comparison of steer calves were those500-550 lbs 2.00 to 3.00 lower, other weights too lightly tested lastweek to offer a true comparison.  Heifer calves under 550 lbs sold withmuch lower undertones, 550-650 lbs steady.  Last week’s yearling steerswere not of weights similar to this week to make a comparison, yearling heifers mostly steady.

Weekly Auction Summaries:
"Click" on individual links for complete report
Tennessee Weekly Auction Summary
Receipts on 12 TN Auctions 7,782 12 Last Week 9,900 10 Last Year 9,400
Trends:  According to the Federal-State Market News Service, compared to the same sales one week ago, slaughter cows 1.00 to 3.00 lower.Slaughter bulls 3.00 lower. Steers/bulls 3.00 to 8.00 lower. Heifers mostly steady.

Kentucky Weekly Livestock Summary
Receipts This Week 23,078 Last Week 27,358 Last Year 24,465
Compared to last week, feeder steers were mostly 3.00-5.00 lower, while feeder bulls and heifers were unevenly steady throughout the week. Slaughter cows sold mostly steady to 5.00 lower, with bulls mostly 3.00-5.00 lower.

Mississippi Weekly Livestock Summary
Cattle Receipts:    8,289       Last Week:     8,459       Last Year:    9,477
Compared to last week, slaughter cows sold steady and bulls sold 1.00 to 2.00 lower. Feeder steers and heifers sold steady.

Alabama Auctions Weekly Summary
Total estimated receipts this week 13,400, last week 16,908 and 17,199 last year.
Compared to one week ago: Slaughter cows and bulls sold 1.00 to 3.00 lower. Replacement cows and pairs sold mostly steady. All feeder classes sold steady to 5.00 higher.

Georgia Cattle Auctions Weekly Review
Cattle receipts at 25 markets 8,488 compared to 10,038 last week and 10,648 year ago.
Compared to one week earlier, slaughter cows steady to 2.00 lower, bulls mostly steady, feeder steers and bulls unevenly steady, heifers mostly steady to 2.00 higher, steer calves and bull calves steady to 2.00 higher, heifer calves steady to 3.00 higher, replacement cows mostly steady.

Colorado Auction Feeder Cattle Summary
Receipts: 1799       Last Week: 1377       Last Year:  3501
Compared to last week: No comparable sales on feeder steers or heifers.

Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:
"Click" on individual links for complete report
AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri)
Confirmed: 900 
Compared to last week, not enough head traded to establish trend.  A few loads of Holstein steers for March delivery traded. 

Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts: 1799       Last Week: 1377       Last Year:  3501
Compared to last week: No comparable sales on feeder steers or heifers. 

Eastern Cornbelt Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Reported sales this week: 0    Last Week: 67    Last year: N/A
Compared to last week: No reported sales for feeder steers and heifers.

Georgia Direct Cattle Summary (Fri)
Confirmed sales on 1,845 head.

IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon)
Receipts:  160    Last Week:  0      Year Ago:  na
Compared to last week, no feeder steers reported for a market test. 

Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Receipts:  2204       Last Week:  3672        Last Year:  4621
Compared with last week:  Feeder steers mostly steady, with the exception of trades from late last week trading firm to 5.00 higher.  Not enough comparable sales on feeder heifers for a market trend. 

Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts:  300    Last Week: 0     Year Ago:  N/A
Compared to last week:  No recent comparable sales on feeder steers for a market trend.  No feeder heifers reported. 

New Mexico Feeder Cattle Report (Mon)
Receipts:  600    Last Week:  1200    Year Ago:  1300
Compared to last week:  Not enough recent comparable sales of steers or heifers reported this week for a market trend. 

Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
Receipts:  2031        Last Week:  3098        Last Year:  5849
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers sold mostly steady to weak.  Feeder heifers were lightly tested last week, so no market trend available.

Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts:  2100    Last Week:  2000    Year Ago:  2000
Compared to last week, feeder cattle steady. Trade slow with good demand. Seems safe to say that both sides are confused at this point regarding price potential thanks to the extreme price volatility seen at the CME so far this 
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South Dakota Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Receipts: 178         Last Week: 482          Last Year: 600 
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers traded mostly steady to weak on limited comparable sales.  No feeder heifers reported the previous week. 

Texas Weekly Direct Feeder Cattle Summary
Confirmed:  13,300      Last Week: 8,200       Last Year: 40,100 
Compared to last week current FOB feeder steers and heifers were mostly 2.00-8.00 lower but instances steady to weak on those feeders that were sold early in the trading period.  There were wide spreads on prices because of the rapidly declining market.  Early week sales showed the least decline and late week sales the greatest declines, in fact a few late sales were instances at least 10.00 lower.

WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts: 200         Week Ago: 409        Year Ago: 1754 
Compared to last week a limited test of steers had no good comparison.

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Cattle Futures:
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Big beef losses seemed to depress cattle futures Friday. The cattle market surged Thursday afternoon as the stock market rebounded from its mid-week lows. However, CME bulls gave back a portion of the move, which probably reflected the late drop in choice beef cutout and worries about seasonal weakness. December live cattle futures closed down 0.25 cents at 165.05 cents/pound Friday, while April futures dipped 0.40 to 162.05. Meanwhile, November and January feeder cattle futures plummeted the 3.00-cent daily limit to 228.12 and 234.15 cents/pound, respectively.
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Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs:
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  • Woodward, OK
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and large 1  2-7 yrs 950-1500 lbs 2-7 months 2300.00-2750.00, lot 3 yrs 1125 lbs 4-5 months 3075.00; 8-10 yrs 1350-1475 lbs 4-8 months 2000.00-2025.00.  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 950-1450 lbs 2-7 months 1750.00-2150.00, 7-10 yrs 1100-1450 lbs 3-7 months 1650.00-1950.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-8 yrs 850-11150 lbs w/125-375 lb calves 2100.00-2900.00; 3-5 yrs 1050 lb w/375 lb calves 3300.00. 
  • El Reno, OK
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1  2-7 yrs 900-1500 lbs 2-7 months 2000.00-2550.00.  Medium and Large 1-2  2-8 yrs 850-1500 lbs 3-7 months 1685.00-1990.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium amd Large 1-2  2-8 yrs 1000-1200 lbs w/125-200 lb calves 2000.00-2200.00; 2-5 yrs 1200 lbs w/200 lb calves 2725.00-3085.00. 
  • Oklahoma City, OK
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yrs 1135-1550 lbs 3-8 months 2050.00-2350.00.  Medium and Large 1-2  3-10 yrs 1000-1450 lbs 3-7 months 1325.00-1775.00, few 1975.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and large 1-2  2-5 yrs 850-1275 lbs w/50-200 lb calves 2150.00-2950.00. 
  • Joplin, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yrs 950-1350 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 2100.00-2500.00, few 1700.00-1900.00, 1st stage 1020-1350 lbs 1750.00-2025.00; short solid mouth 2nd stage 1175-1250 lbs 1600.00-1700.00; broken mouth to aged 2nd-3rd stage 1100-1335 lbs 1280.00-1520.00.  Large 1-2  4-6 yrs 3rd stage 1450-1550 lbs 2450.00-2475.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium Large 1-2  4-6 yrs 1175-1300 lbs w/160-300 lb calves 2650.00-3100.00.  Medium 1-2  4 yrs to short solid mouth 950-1050 lbs w/155-265 lb calves 2300.00-2700.00.
  • Springfield, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yrs 1150-1200 lbs 2nd-stage 1800.00-2000.00; 7 yrs to short solid mouth 2nd-3rd stage 1070-1250 lbs 1485.00-1775.00.  Large 1-2  6 yrs to short solid mouth 3rd stage 1385-1495 lbs 1600.00-1750.00.  Medium and Large 2  4-7 yrs 2nd stage 875-1245 lbs 1450.00-1550.00.  Medium 1-2  3 yrs to short solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 835-1035 lbs 1375.00-1550.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  5 yrs to short solid mouth 1175-1225 lbs w/150-160 lb calves 2200.00-2400.00.  Medium 1-2 short solid mouth to aged 900-945 lbs w/baby to 300 lb calves 1875.00-1975.00. 
  • West Plains, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and large 1-2  2-7 yrs 900-1550 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 2050.00-2450.00, pkg 12 hd 3 yrs 1065 lbs blk-whfc 2nd to 3rd stage 2800.00; short-solid mouth 1118-1540 lbs 2nd to 3rd stage 1800.00-2075.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-6 yrs 860-1525 lbs 1st to 3rd stage 1550.00-2000.00; 7 yrs to broken mouth 745-1610 lbs 1st to 2nd stage 1450.00-1750.00.  Medium 2  3 yrs to broken-mouth 765-1025 lbs 1st to 3rd stage 850.00-1400.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-6 yrs 890-1180 lbs w/150-250 lb calves 2100.00-2550.00; short-solid mouth 920-961 lbs w/200 lb calves 2050.00-2300.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-7 yrs 740-1128 lbs w/150-250 lb calves 1700.00-2050.00; short-solid to broken mouth 855-1060 lbs w/100-200 lb calves 1650.00-1800.00. 
  • Riverton, WY
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 heifers 815-1000 lbs 2200.00-2500.00, few 1750.00-1800.00; Young lot 1213 lbs 2725.00, several 2000.00-2475.00; Middle Aged (Short Solids) 1180-1475 lbs 1700.00-2150.00; Aged (Short Term) 1225-1565 lbs 1675.00-1775.00, couple 1375.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1 Young few 1185-1275 lb cows w/150 lb calves 2900.00-3000.00, couple 840 lbs w/275 lb calves 1350.00. 
  • Roswell, NM
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  Young 935-1070 lbs 3-6 months 1625.00-1775.00; middle aged 1035-1425 lbs 1-8 months 1250.00-1700.00. 
    • First Calf Heifers: 840-1125 lbs 1-6 months 1600.00-2000.00. 
    • Pairs: Young 800-1150 lbs w/250-300 lb calves 1700.00-2425.00; middle aged 1000-1315 lbs w/130-400 lb calves 2100.00-2450.00. 
  • Arkansas
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 850-1250 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 140.00-150.00 cwt; 1725.00-1825.00; first stage/open 125.00-135.00 cwt; 7-10 yrs 800-1200 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 112.00-122.00 cwt; 1500.00-1600.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 800-1200 lbs w/100-200 lb calves 2025.00-2125.00; few to 2500.00.  Small-Medium Frame 1-2  7+ yrs 750-900 lbs w/100-200 lb calves 1650.00-1750.00
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Bred Cows & Heifers in 2nd & 3rd Stages of Pregnancy:
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The average prices above are from USDA market reports which seldom reference breed or quality.
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Canadian Cattle:
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Alberta Beef Producers:  Alberta direct cattle sales Thursday saw no new trade to report. Locally buying and selling interest remains especially light. Sale volumes have been to light to establish a market trend this week. There have been indications from producers open cash cattle are being reallocated to meet contract obligations. With that said carry over volumes should not be a huge issue moving into next week.
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Canadian Weekly Cattle Report:

Fed cattle rise

  • Producers appear to have many of their cattle contracted this month, leaving little business for the cash market.
  • Packers are using captive supplies, and interest in the cash market is moderate.
  • Fed prices are trading near historic highs, but packers have gained leverage recently and that is reflected in the weaker basis levels.
  • Light trade Oct. 10 saw steers at $165.48 per hundredweight, up about $3.70 from prices two weeks earlier.
  • Dressed sales were generally $3 higher than reported bids and sales the previous week.
  • Cattle bought last week are scheduled for slaughter in the first or second weeks of November.
  • Western Canadian slaughter last week was 35,621 head, up seven percent over last year.
  • With cow slaughter struggling to keep pace with last year, packers will have little choice but to maintain the A grade kill.
  • Weekly exports to Sept. 27 totalled 8,613 head.
  • Carcass weights are increasing seasonally, helping packers maintain production levels. Western steer carcass weights averaged 894 pounds, the heaviest this year and up 26 lb. over last year at the same time.
  • The Alberta-Nebraska cash-to-cash basis was -$16.77, compared to the five-year average of -$11.18 for this time of year. That should encourage export interest.
Feeders post records
  • Aggressive North American demand continues to fuel record feeder prices across the Prairies.
  • Feeder price averages surged more the $6.50 per cwt. even with increased auction volumes.
  • Calves lighter than 700 pounds rose $5-$9. Feeders heavier than 700 lb. rallied $5.
  • Steers 300-400 lb. were an amazing $171 per cwt. higher than the same week last year. The 400-500 lb. class was $150 higher than a year ago.
  • The steer-heifer price spread for 300-600 lb. calves is $25-$34 per cwt. For 600-800 lb. it is $18.50-$19.50.
  • The spread for yearlings heavier than 800 lb. is $14-$15 and is $1.75-$3 wider than last year.
  • The high prices and the winding down of harvest brought cattle to auction. In Alberta, 45,039 head traded, up 48 percent from the previous week but up only three percent over last year.
  • Weekly exports to Sept. 27 totalled 12,542 head, steady with the previous week.
  • The number of calves going to market should increase as harvest winds down, but yearling supplies are beginning to dry up.
Cows steady
  • D1, D2 cows ranged $117-$131 per cwt. to average $125.13, little changed from the previous week. D3 cows ranged $102-$120 to average $111.
  • Rail bids were mostly steady at $237-$242 per cwt. delivered.
  • Weekly western Canadian non-fed slaughter to Oct. 4 fell six percent to 5,942 head.
  • Butcher bull prices firmed 75 cents to $141.17.
  • Weekly exports to Sep. 27 were steady at 7,209.
This cattle market information is selected from the weekly report from CanFax, a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.
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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 $0.8866 U.S dollars
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Prices for the week ending October 10th:
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WASDE: Record Corn Crop & Heavier Cattle:
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The USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) for October, released this past week, projects a record U.S. corn crop, and somewhat higher 2014 and 2015 forecasts for U.S. beef production compared with the September report.

The October report projects U.S. 2014 beef production at 24.4 billion pounds, up slightly from the September forecast of 24.3 billion, but below the 2013 total of 25.7 billion pounds. The increase over the September forecast is based on heavier carcass weights resulting from lower grain prices. For 2015, the report projects U.S. beef production to decline again to 23.8 billion pounds. The authors project an annual average cattle price of $152.91 per hundredweight, and a range of $149 to $162 per hundredweight for next year.

For pork, the report projects 2014 production at 22.8 billion pounds, down from 23.2 billion last year, with the reduction largely due to the PEDv outbreak. Next year, the agency predicts U.S. pork production will increase to 23.9 billion pounds. The projected 2014 average hog price is projected at $ 77.60 per hundredweight, and for next year the report lists a range of $63 to $68 per hundredweight.

As for dairy production, the report projects 2014 production at 206 billion pounds, a slight reduction from the September forecast but well above last-year’s total of 201 billion. Next year, the agency projects milk production to increase to 213 billion pounds. The report lists a range of $24.10 to $24.20 per hundredweight for 2014 average milk prices, with a decline to $18.95 to 19.85 per hundredweight next year.

U.S. corn production meanwhile, is forecast at 14.5 billion bushels, up slightly from the September forecast but 4 percent higher than last-year’s harvest. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 174.2 bushels per acre, up 2.5 bushels from the September forecast and 15.4 bushels above the 2013 average. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States. Based on acreage updates from several states, the report projects acreage harvested for grain at 83.1 million acres, down 1 percent from the September forecast and down 5 percent from 2013.

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Volatility Dominates but Not Much to Show for It:
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A week marked by significant, gut-wrenching volatility, it’s hard to believe CME LC are only marginally lower on the week when it feels dollars lower. We have presented breaks for bold bulls to buy and a couple of fast track rallies for bears to sell. Though the market action itself is not definitive. This week’s sharp selloff, retreating to major support, has alleviated much of the overbought condition of last week and is setting up an interesting approach to next week.

Deferred Contracts Lose

There was also a change in spread relationships this week, as we sucked premium out of Feb LC on back, as feeder futures plunged and corn unexpectedly staged a blistering 40-cent rally to the highest level in a month, deferred LC futures fearfully retreated. Feb LC lost 137 more points on the break than spot Oct and is discount to current cash prices, Oct, and Dec, and carries zero weather premium.

Feeder Futures Wildly Volatile

Feeders may have the most bullish fundamental story of any commodity market around, but the futures contract is plagued by small open interest and a great deal of “air” between bids and offers. And though feeder futures act lousy today, they had a huge rally yesterday that hasn’t been invalidated by today’s action.

Cash Fed Prices Lend Some Support

Oct and Dec LC are trading close to par to this week’s cash price and the willingness of packers to continue to buy cattle at steady money this week seems to be counterbalancing concerns the beef cutout is not as strong as hoped and packer margins are still stubbornly red. This key fundamental factor is offering the primary steadying influence as traders attempt to make sense out of this wild week and what it portends.

Where to From Here?

Most traders are ready for the bell to ring now and to put this week to bed. All know the outside market influences that reared their head all week are far from off the table. More traders may run to the sidelines in attempt to preserve “their year” before more volatility chips away at YTD profits. In futures, we may see open interest continue to wane the remainder of the year.

Holiday Rib Rally Key

On the fundamental side, the rib primal holds a big key to the outlook for cattle and beef fundamentals and the market tone over the next 6 weeks, especially when coupled with dwindling projected production in November and December relative to a year ago and history. Seasonally, it’s where the goody comes from in the fourth quarter rally. In 2013, the rib primal rallied to a new all-time high around $365 by early December, but this year uncharacteristically rallied in late June, reaching almost $390. The rib usually makes its high for each year in early December. Last night, the rib primal closed at $348 up $16 from a couple of weeks ago. Packers and end users will be eyeing developments on the rib closely and the ribs performance will indirectly influence futures market behavior in the coming weeks.

The Beef

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Photo of the Week:
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  • 350 Angus 2nd & 3rd-Calf Cows... Northwest WY*
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    Shootin' the Bull:
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    In my opinion, the volatility has reached a hyper stage. The price swings up and down, at the speed and range they have been trading, creates an environment for significant error. Best laid plans one day are foiled the next. Option sellers have reduced position size and increased spreads between bid/offer. The market has stopped going up for all anyone knows and the volatility has created significant indecision. My objective has been and will be, regardless of past experience, is to capture what is currently available that may or may not be available in the future. 

    Feed yards lost significant premium on the February and April contracts this week. It is these two contract months that I perceive to be most susceptible to a decline in price as inventory purchased to be sold in this time frame was purchased at the tip top of the price range of feeder cattle. Back grounders are not perceived in much better condition due to their replacement inventory of stockers to have been at a historically high level as well. The basis for fats remains fairly consistent at this time. However the basis on feeders is exceptionally positive and that is perceived a detriment towards spring sales. 

    Further developments this week has created significant volume and volatility in the equities, interest rate and energy markets. These are key components to our economy and prices for these derivatives are flying all over the place. Bonds this week shot up 5 full points on Wednesday. This is a phenomenal move as the bond market is one of the largest, most liquid markets we have. Of those 5 points, 3 of them came within a 6 minute time frame. That is perceived to have left several entities out to dry. In my opinion, this was an instance of some one wanting out, not in as it is was viewed as a move of desperation. I perceive that the centrifuge of the markets has obtained a wobble. This wobble is anticipated to slosh a tremendous amount of money around. What no one knows is how much and how damaging the effects can be to other markets. I anticipate this weeks market movement to bleed into next week and urge all to take every precaution necessary to minimize risk remove capital from risk. 

    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 completed a 6 hour business meeting at one of his branch offices, this one more commonly known as The Last Chance Bar & Grill.

    When he got in his car to start home, he was astounded at what he found.  He called the police department, and with a tone of fury combined with indignation, he yelled, "My Lincoln has been vandalized.  They stole the dashboard, the steering wheel, the brake pedal, even the accelerator !!!"

    However, before a unit could be dispatched to the crime scene, the phone rang a second time at the police department and Bart was on the line.

    "Never mind about that vandalism report," he said, "I got in the back seat by mistake."

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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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    State Cattlemen’s Groups to USDA: Hands off the Checkoff:
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    How do cattlemen across the country feel about U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s idea to create a second Beef Checkoff Program? Bob McCan, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Texas cattle rancher, says 45 state cattlemen’s groups representing more than 170,000 cattle breeders, producers and feeders have locked arms to tell the Secretary "hands off."

    Secretary Vilsack first discussed his plan for a supplemental checkoff program during a September 30 meeting of some members of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group, a group of 11 organizations that have been working to develop plans to reform the current checkoff.

    Frustrated that the group has not yet reached a consensus to his liking, the Secretary took matters into his own hands by announcing he may issue an Order for a supplemental beef checkoff under the 1996 General Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act. A move the state cattlemen’s groups say would result in more bureaucracy and give more power and control to the federal government. 

    “NCBA stands firmly behind our grassroots producer organizations and we will do everything we can to support their efforts. The checkoff belongs to cattlemen, not to the USDA or any administration,” McCan says.

    Established by the 1985 Farm Bill with input and support from beef producers, the Beef Checkoff Program was created to fund projects related to promotion, research, consumer education and international marketing. Of the $1 per head assessment, half is allocated to state beef councils and half goes to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (CBB) to administer the national checkoff program.

    And producers are satisfied with the checkoff today, which boasts the support of 78 percent of beef producers and has returned about $11.20 per dollar invested to the beef industry between 2006 and 2013 according to a recent economic study conducted to measure the return on producer’s and importers’ investment. Additionally, the study concluded that had there not been any CBB-funded marketing, domestic beef demand would have been 15.7 billion pounds less (11.3 percent) and foreign demand for U.S. beef would have been 6.4 percent lower during that same time period.

    What would change under a 1996 Act checkoff? According to the letter, there is no assurance of protection of state beef councils’ involvement in a checkoff under the 1996 Act, which the letter says is too “open-ended and subject to government, not producer, direction.” Instead, the groups urge Secretary Vilsack to help “enhance the Beef Checkoff Program through the 1985 Beef Promotion and Research Act, not through heavy-handed, federally-mandated action.”

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    Rabobank Projects Substantial Growth in Brazil Feedlot Sector:
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    Where’s the beef? According to a new report from Rabobank, meeting growing global demand for protein in the future means more of the world’s beef supply will come from Brazil.

    Already the world’s second-largest beef producer and largest exporter, Brazil’s beef industry remains “relatively inefficient by global standards, with below-average productivity and yield parameters” the report says. However as the country’s grain production continues to increase in the future, Rabobank expects a shift to a more intensified beef production chain and overall growth in the beef sector.

    “Increased availability of feed grain will allow the beef industry to gradually improve both productivity and quality, thereby improving cost-efficiency and gradually achieving higher volumes, better quality, more consistent products delivered from Brazilian feedlots,” the report states.

    Why Brazil? The report says the country has an “unmatched position” with regard to expansion of corn and soybean production. However, infrastructure to deliver grain to export ports has not kept pace, making it prohibitive to export grain, especially corn, for many inland farmers. Instead, it is more cost-effective to use more of the inland-produced corn in domestic feed rations for the country’s cattle, hogs and chickens.

    Historically, the beef industry in Brazil has benefited from the abundance of grazing land, but as competition from grain production intensifies going forward, Rabobank expects major changes in beef cattle management and nutrition, and says “intensification is the name of the game for the future development of the Brazilian beef industry.”

    The report estimates that one-time feeding capacity in Brazilian feedlots will reach 4.5 million head by 2023 (up from today’s one-time capacity of 2 million head). In comparison, the United States has a total feedlot capacity of 16.8 million in feedlots with 1,000 and more head as of January 1, 2014.

    Assuming a cattle turn ratio of two turns per year on average, the report says Brazil will slaughter approximately 9 million head of lot-fed cattle by 2023, resulting in more than double the amount of lot-fed beef produced today.

    Achieving this growth in Brazil won’t come without cost. Rabobank estimates the cost of expanding feeding capacity to be as much as $500 million (U.S. dollars) and will require an additional 15.1 million tons of corn and 4 million tons of soybeans.

    In addition to merely growing numbers, the report says there is a need for “dual-purpose cattle” – those that perform well in tropic climates but also possess enhanced feedlot performance and beef quality traits. Rabobank says this transition is already underway. “The latest data indicated that Angus (Black and Red) semen sales were already higher than Nellore’s: 42.8 percent and 35.6 percent of the total, respectively.” The result will be larger quantities of high-quality and tasty meat, the report says.

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    Margin between the Choice Boxed Beef Cutout & Feeder Steers:
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    5 Year Average: $45.26 --- This Week: $15.09
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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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    Using Distillers Grains on the Ranch:
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    In recent months distillers grain price has declined while beef cattle prices have reached historic highs. In many situations distillers grains may be a good option to increase weight of calves and yearlings or for use as a winter protein supplement for cows. Distillers grains are well suited to forage-based beef production operations because they are a good source of energy, protein and phosphorus. All three can be limiting in forages.

    Recently, manufactured cubes (or cake) comprised solely of distillers grains have become available. The quality of these cubes is excellent resulting in few fines and good consumption. However, to capture the full economic benefit of low-priced distillers grains producers should consider purchasing distillers directly from the ethanol plant and feeding it as a commodity.

    Recent work at UNL has addressed the question of which is more economical — feeding distillers grains in a bunk or on the ground. Research with weaned calves indicated about 16% of wet distillers grains and 40% of dry distillers grains are lost when fed on the ground.

    Calculating the cost of the lost distillers grains is straight forward. Simply calculate the amount lost using the percentages above and multiply by the unit cost of distillers grains. Calculating other costs is relatively simple as well. We calculated the cost of purchasing bunks (including delivery, tax, depreciation, and set up) at $0.16 per day. At today's prices the lost distillers grains would be much less than the cost of the bunk.

    However, feeding on the ground may not always be the most profitable. In our studies the calves fed in a bunk gained between 0.20 and 0.26 lbs more per day. Because the value of the additional weight gained by calves fed in a bunk is worth more than the additional cost to achieve that weight gain, feeding in a bunk was the most profitable even though it cost more.

    There are situations were feeding on the ground may be the most profitable, such as when the least cost of gain to achieve a programed rate of gain is the goal. However, if the goal is to market the weight gain at the end of the feeding period, feeding in a bunk would be the most profitable with today's price relationships.

    Aaron Stalker, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

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    Slaughter Cows & Bulls:
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    Slaughter cows steady to firm. Slaughter bulls steady to 1.00 higher. 

    USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was 233.61 -- Up .31 from last Friday.

                   %Lean      Weight         Colorado              Oklahoma        Alabama 
    Breakers  75-80%     1100-1600    112.00-117.00          117.00         105.00-111.00
    Boners     80-85%     1000-1450    112.00-118.00     115.50-120.00   107.00-112.00
    Lean        85-90%     1000-1300    106.00-111.00     106.50-113.00     98.00-102.00
    Bulls        88-92%     1300-2500         133.00           138.00-140.00    125.00-130.00

    Negotiated Sale of Packer Cows & Bulls: 

                           Confirmed    Week Ago  Year Ago  Week to Date   Week Ago  Year Ago
    NATIONAL            7,251         7,282        7,556         35,944           35,197       15,236
    S CENTRAL          1,392         1,549        1,737         10,652             8,155         3,187
    N CENTRAL             266           469           503           1,394             1,695           883
    EAST                    2,448        2,413        2,193         11,130            11,321         4,810
    WEST                   2,208        1,845        2,031           7,366              8,296        3,755
    MIDWEST                937        1,006        1,092           5,402              5,730        2,601

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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 October 14, were mixed but mostly steady to lower. 
    • Soybean Meal was mixed 26.00 lower to 27.00 higher.  Cottonseed Meal was mixed, 25.00 lower to 10.00 higher however mostly 15.00 lower to 10.00 higher. Canola Meal was steady. Linseed Meal was steady in a limited test.  Sunflower Meal was 5.00 to 10.00 higher. 
    •  Whole Cottonseed was steady to 50.00 lower.
    • Crude Soybean Oil was mixed 59 points lower to 52 points higher, mostly 22 to 59 points lower.  Crude Corn Oil was steady.
    • Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was mixed, 30.00 lower to 5.00 higher mostly 5.00 to 30.00 lower.  Ruminant Blood Meal was 25.00 to 110.00 lower.  Feather Meal was steady.  Menhaden Fishmeal was 25.00 to 50.00 higher. 
    • Corn Hominy was steady to 5.00 lower.  Corn Gluten Feed was steady to 10.00 lower to 29.00 higher.  Corn Gluten Meal was steady to 55.00 lower, mostly steady to 20.00 lower. 
    • Distillers Dried Grains were mixed, 15.00 lower to 10.00 higher. 
    • Wheat Middlings were mixed, 20.00 lower to 15.00 higher, mostly 3.00 lower to 15.00 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, October 18, 2014 was estimated at 932.7 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 1.6 percent higher than a week ago and 4.8 percent lower than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 4 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 linein 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: October 14th
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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus - Corn
    Last Updated: October 14th
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    National Economic News:
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    Benchmarks end mixed after dramatic week: The major benchmarks ended mixed for the week after a powerful Friday rally stopped the downdraft, at least temporarily, that had sent stocks sharply lower since the start of the month. By Wednesday morning, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index had sunk to levels last seen in early summer and stood just above the 10% decline threshold that is typically considered a market correction. Meanwhile, the S&P MidCap 400 Index moved into correction territory and fell below its level at the start of 2014, where it joined the small-cap Russell 2000 Index. The late rally in smaller-cap shares was particularly strong, however, helping both the mid- and small-cap benchmarks end the week with gains. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index and the large-cap benchmarks recorded losses.

    Ebola fears hurt sentiment: Although its impact was difficult to quantify, the alarming news over the weekend that a nurse in Dallas had contracted the Ebola virus was clearly one factor weighing on sentiment as trading began on Monday. These fears deepened Wednesday, after reports that another nurse had been infected, and were probably one factor in driving stocks to their lows for the week. The Ebola concerns had their most direct impact on the industrials sector, where airline stocks sold off sharply in anticipation of reduced air travel.

    Slowing global growth and falling inflation also weigh: Factors more directly related to the economy and markets also drove much of the selling, however. An unexpected decline in consumer spending in September helped feed Wednesday's selling, as did further signs of falling inflation in many countries. In particular, worries about the possibility of a renewed recession in Europe and slowing growth in China continued to drive a sharp decline in oil prices, which have fallen by roughly one-quarter since the summer. An unexpectedly sharp rise in U.S. oil inventories also fed fears of a global supply glut.

    Oil prices likely in long-term downward trend, but energy sector opportunities still exist: Analysts believe that we are in the midst of a long-term downward trend in energy prices, even if we see some recovery in the near term. Nevertheless, they continue to see very compelling opportunities among energy firms, including exploration and production companies that are reducing costs and accelerating growth through the development of their assets. Midstream/infrastructure companies should also benefit from the need to ship booming North American production to domestic and international markets. Pipelines, rails, and even barges should be key beneficiaries of North American energy supply growth.

    Possibility of tapering pause may be catalyst for market rebound: Market sentiment turned sharply on Thursday morning, helping sustain a rally that lasted through the close of Friday's trading. The catalyst for the shift may have been an interview that St. Louis Fed President James Bullard gave to Bloomberg, in which he stated that a pause in the Fed's taper of its monthly asset purchases might be warranted at its late-October meeting. Especially because he stated that he still expected that the U.S. economy would remain healthy, some traders took the remark as a statement of implicit Fed support for equity markets, should they continue to fall.

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    Fed Says QE3 Could Last Longer Than October:

    The Federal Reserve should consider extending its bond-buying program beyond October to see how the U.S. economic outlook evolves, said James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, on Thursday. 

    At the moment, the Fed is buying $15 billion in securities each month. The U.S. central bank has said it expects to end its QE3 program at the end of October, but Bullard noted that the plan was always data-dependent. Bullard said the Fed cannot "abide" the drop in inflation expectations seen in the Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities. 

    "Maybe this is a juncture where we want to invoke this clause that it is data-dependent," Bullard said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

    • Industrial production climbed 1% in September, thanks to a big jump in utilities output during the month. The gain, stronger than the 0.4% gain economists had forecast, came after a 3.9% jump for utilities, a 1.8% gain for mining and a 0.5% gain for manufacturing output. It took the third quarter gain to an annual rate of 3.2%. Capacity utilization rose to 79.3% in September from 78.7% in August. August's industrial production was revised to a 0.2% drop from an initially reported 0.1% decline.
    • U.S. wholesale prices fell slightly in September as inflationary pressure in the nation's economic pipeline continued to recede, the government reported Wednesday.
    • U.S. retail sales fell in September for the first time in eight months and the decline would have been even sharper if not for the release of the new iPhones, showing a continued reluctance among Americans to splurge on consumer goods.
    • Consumer sentiment in October rose to a reading of 86.4 from 84.1 in September, according to reports out Friday, marking the highest level since July 2007. Economists had forecast a reading of 83.5. The index was as high as 96.9 in January 2007 and was as low as 55.8 in August 2011.
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    "Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the last 12 weeks
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    In a repeat of last week, yet another large weather system moved across the country’s midsection, bringing copious rains to the central Plains, middle Mississippi Valley and the Tennessee Valley, with 3-6 inches being a regular occurrence. Parts of the Pacific Northwest also enjoyed some nice moisture during the week. As for temperatures, most of the West and South saw well above normal temperatures, with readings 6 to 12 degrees above the norm. Unseasonably cooler weather was confined mostly to the northern and central Plains along with the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions.
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    Looking Ahead:
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    • For the period October 15-20, after seeing a very wet pattern the past few weeks across the country’s mid-section, there should finally be some time to dry out and let the harvesting resume. The only areas showing good chances for heavier precipitation are in the coastal ranges and mountains in the Pacific Northwest, primarily from northern Oregon up into Canada. The other area expecting good rains is from the Mid-Atlantic up into New England, where 1-3 inches should bring some relief to the region. As for temperatures, most of the West, Pacific Northwest and the Great Plains states are expecting to see unseasonably warm temperatures, with readings likely running 3-6 degrees above-normal.
    • Looking at the 6- to 10-day time frame (October 21-25), the warm temperature trend continues into this period, and the entire western two-thirds of the country and most of Alaska are expected to see above-normal temperatures, with the strongest likelihood falling in the High Plains and along the Rocky Front Range from Colorado and Wyoming up into Montana. The bulls-eye for cooler than normal weather is found in the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys and within the Mid-Atlantic from Georgia northward into New Jersey. A greater likelihood of above-normal precipitation over this period is confined to the Pacific Northwest, Four Corners, southern Florida and the New England coastline. However, a large area of the country from the Great Plains eastward into the Mississippi Valley, the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and the western fringes of the Mid-Atlantic can expect it to be dry, with the highest probability falling from the Great Lakes down to the Gulf Coast along the Mississippi Valley.
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    Treacherous Waters:
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    Navigating the treacherous waters of livestock futures pricing is challenging in the best of times and impossible in the current times. This week has posted daily moves of triple digits in one way or the other each day with limit moves both up and down being in the majority of trading days. Cattle clearly established a justification for the enormous premiums in the "put" and "call" options on the futures in live and feeder cattle. Volatility has run amok. Amok is defined as a violent uncontrollable frenzy. Following yesterday limit up move was a limit down move overnight in some contracts. Futures seemed to stabilize early Friday morning.

    The move up leaves both traders and trade participants confused as to market direction. Cash cattle sold steady with a firming undertone as the week's trading concludes. Packers seized the opportunity of crashing markets to acquire cattle in the cash markets at steady prices. Cattle sold mostly at $164 live and $258 in the beef across all regions. Show lists were cleaned up by week's end.

    Box prices softened into week's end. While supply shortages will encourage switching to pork and poultry, small slaughter numbers will keep beef on a firm footing. Choice box prices lost a dollar and were quoted at $249 with select at $235 and the spread at $14.

    Feeder futures will be the first to welcome the reduced trading hours announced for October 27th. Small posted orders of 1 and 2 contracts are staged .25 to .50 cwt. apart causing any market orders to move the prices by large amounts in both directions. In the spring feeder contracts a 10 contract order can move the market $1 cwt.. Hedgers are going crazy attempting to cover spring inventory. Many market participants are sitting on the sidelines awaiting a calm to enter the markets.

    Corn is joining other commodities and volatility is on the increase. Harvest is in mid steam and the crop is large. Congestion on the railroads continues to plague the availability of repeater trains to deliver corn from the north to the southern plains. In the meantime an open period of warm weather will be ideal for bringing in the crop in the north. Most of the corn in the south is nearing completion.

    Making the Most of Short Supplies

    How do you stretch the short supplies of fed cattle and the sharply pared back cow slaughter? It is impossible to create more cattle but there remain options available to ameliorate the impact of shortages in the supply chain. Not all of those options are helpful to beef prices and they are not intended to be. The beef industry is not helped by runaway sky high beef prices and moderating the price rises is good for everyone mainly the most important person in the beef chain -- the consumer.

    Carcass weight reports lag in reporting a couple of weeks behind the slaughter. The latest numbers show carcass weights rising to an all time high of 893# -- 26# above prior year. Heifer carcasses rose to 806# -16# above last year. This increase in carcass weights almost cut in half the decline in beef production from prior year. With $3+ corn, this trend will not end now. You can expect a continuation and magnification of the extension of cattle weights to reach the point when YG 4&5 penalties overwhelm the benefits of a lower breakeven brought about from heavier out weights.

    The rise of the dollar caused by international turmoil has put U.S. importers in a strong position to bring in much more imported beef. Much of this increase in imports will service the large need for ground beef and the important franchise businesses that rely on beef for their livelihood. This will help replace the cow slaughter that is not expected to move higher for some time to come.

    This past week witnessed the arrival of two way fed cattle. For years traders have worked the middle feeder weights for 2-way cattle allowing the light end of yearlings in the 600# area to be diverted from feedlot destinations to pasture for further growth before the finishing stage. This week featured two way cattle in the fed cattle arena. Packers were purchasing for premium prices 1300#+ cattle to weigh up and put back on feed. These cattle were selling in the high $160s. Dakota auction barns were quoting fed sales in weight groupings clearly indicating the intent of buyers to place the lighter cattle back on feed.

    The implications of extended feeding of the nation's fed cattle will also be increasing quality grades at the high end. One can reasonable expect more choice and prime cattle and more YG 4&5s. Making the most of what you have is just good business. Feedlots are interested in slowing the turnover with record feeder prices. This may lessen the price pressures on feeder cattle. In the long run the entire industry will benefit.

    Ag Center Beef Report

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    Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)
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    • Typical closeout for steers sold this week & hedged when placed on feed: ($93.39)
    • Typical closeoudot for un-hedged steers sold this week: $247.36
    • Projected closeout based on the futures & estimated Cost of Gain for steers placed on feed this week: ($108.79)
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    Slaughter Cattle:
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    Friday trading has been inactive on very light demand. Not enough sales for a market trend. The last reported market in the Southern Plains, Nebraska and Western Cornbelt was on Wednesday. Live sales sold at 164.00 in the Southern Plains. In Nebraska live sales sold mostly at 164.00 with a few at 165.00. Dressed sales sold at 258.00. In the Western Cornbelt live sales sold from 163.00-164.00 with a few up to 165.00. Dressed sales at 258.00. In Colorado the last reported market was for the prior week with live sales at 165.00.
     
    Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection:
                                               CATTLE   CALVES     HOGS          SHEEP
    Friday 10/17/2014        (est)     103,000      2,000        412,000         6,000
    Week ago (est)                       100,000      2,000        378,000         6,000
    Year ago (act)                         109,000      3,000        427,000        4,000
    Week to date (est)                  548,000     10,000     2,124,000       37,000
    Same Period Last Week (est)  550,000     10,000     2,080,000       40,000
    Same Period Last Year (act)    594,000     13,000     2,156,000       41,000

    Saturday 10/18/2014      (est)    17,000          0            *63,000*            0
    Week ago (est)                        12,000          0              56,000             0
    Year ago (act)                          27,000          0            133,000             0
    Week to date (est)                  565,000      10,000     2,187,000        37,000
    Same Period Last Week (est)  562,000      10,000     2,136,000        40,000
    Same Period Last Year* (act)   620,000     14,000     2,290,000        41,000
    2014 Year to Date               23,950,000   462,000    83,299,000   1,681,000
    2013 *Year to Date              25,797,000   597,000    88,013,000   1,689,000
    Percent change                    -7.2%       -22.6%       -5.4%           -0.5%

    Negotiated prices paid for Slaughter Steers and Heifers:

    Live basis:            Steers                              Heifers
    Over 80% Choice    162.00-164.50 avg 163.74   163.00-165.00 avg 164.40
    65 - 80% Choice     163.00-165.00 avg 164.00   162.00-165.00 avg 163.30
    35 - 65% Choice     164.50-164.50 avg 164.50   164.00-164.50 avg 164.23
    0 - 35% Choice             -                                         - 
    Total all grades    162.00-165.00 avg 163.91   162.00-165.00 avg 164.04

    Dressed basis
    Over 80% Choice    258.00-258.00 avg 258.00         - 
    65 - 80% Choice     257.00-258.00 avg 257.93   257.00-258.00 avg 257.36
    35 - 65% Choice            -                                258.00-258.00 avg 258.00
    0 - 35% Choice             -                                       - 
    Total all grades   257.00-258.00 avg 257.96   257.00-258.00 avg 257.47

     

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    Corn Crop Harvest:
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    National Grain Summary:
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    Grain and soybean bids were lower with wheat trading mixed.  Corn and soybeans saw declines on harvest pressure as the forecast looks favorable across the Midwest.
    • Traders cited harvest pressure for Friday’s crop market weakness. Corn futures acted surprisingly well Thursday night, but followed soybeans lower as Friday passed. Prices fell despite early news of a big sale and a huge total on the weekly USDA Export Sales report. Wire service sources cited fresh harvest pressure and bullish profit-taking for the losses. December corn futures ended Friday having fallen 4.25 cents to $3.48/bushel, while May sagged 4.25 to $3.70.
    • The soy complex moved unanimously lower. Selling associated with renewed harvesting apparently weighed on soybean and product futures Friday. As with the grain markets, traders cited position-squaring ahead of the weekend for the decline. Having nearby beans and oil fail at moving average resistance probably triggered some sales as well. November soybean futures fell 14.75 cents to $9.5175/bushel at their week-ending settlement, while December soyoil lost 0.34 cents to 32.02 cents/pound, and December soymeal sank $3.5 to $325.1.
    • The wheat markets followed corn and beans lower. The lack of harvest pressure may have enabled the wheat markets to hold up relatively well Friday morning, but bulls couldn’t sustain midsession gains. Bullish traders were reportedly taking profits ahead of the weekend. December CBOT wheat slipped 1.0 cent to $5.16/bushel as Friday’s trading ended, while December KC wheat slumped 3.25 cents to $6.0175/bushel, and December MWE wheat dropped 6.0 to $5.705.
    The shortage of grain-cars has worsened for the fourth straight week, with average bids in the secondary railcar market for Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) service climbing back to the record level set in mid-March. Past due grain-cars on BNSF are now at 5,695 cars, up from 1,898 cars 4 weeks ago. Secondary shuttle bids on BNSF also matched the record high of $5,875 above tariff. Cycle times have improved somewhat, but few in the industry can doubt the situation will get worse before it gets better, especially if winter weather approaches its year-ago severity.
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    Five Year Moving Average - Corn & Wheat
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