CME: Livestock Producers Pressured by Feed Costs

US - CME's Daily Livestock Report for 25th August 2008.
calendar icon 26 August 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Feed prices may be off their peak but that does not mean that all is well and good in the livestock (or poultry) complex. Cash corn prices are currently some 80% above year ago levels, soybean meal prices are up 62%, and DDG prices have also increased 46% (see price table published in the 8/23 DLR). High feed costs continue to pressure livestock producers and the release on Friday of the monthly livestock slaughter data confirmed that cattle and hog liquidation remains on track. Below are some of the highlights from the latest USDA report:

Cattle: Total cow slaughter in July was 520,000 head, 103,500 head or 25% higher than a year ago. Since April, US cow-calf operators and dairymen have sent to market close to a quarter of million cows more than a year ago - and last year was considered a liquidation year. The July cow slaughter numbers were not captured in the latest cattle inventory numbers and they point to even smaller cow inventory numbers on January 1 and a smaller calf crop next year. Beef cow slaughter in July was 311,000 head, 74,500 head or 32% higher than a year ago. Steer slaughter in July was 1.580 million head, 1.5% higher than a year ago while heifer slaughter at 861,000 head was up 2.2% from a year ago. Keep in mind, however, that part of the reason for the increase was due to the fact that July 2008 had one more extra slaughter day than a year ago. The average daily steer slaughter in July was 71,818 head compared to 74,095 head last July, a 3.1% decline.

Hogs: In the last four months, US hog producers have brought 138,700 more sows to market than a year ago. The pace of liquidation seemed to pick up a bit in July, but in part this was due to the extra slaughter day available. Total sow slaughter in July was 305,000 head, 38,700 head or 15% higher than a year ago. Total hog slaughter for the month at 9.465 million head was 1.066 million head or 13% higher than last July. The average daily slaughter in July 2008 was 430,236 head, compared to 399, 952 head a year ago, a 7.6% increase. Dressed hog weights in July were 196 pounds, compared to 198 pounds, indicating that the industry is quite current.

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