Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 4/13/2015
CATTLE PRICE OUTLOOK: YEAR-OVER-YEAR DECLINES AHEAD

            At $162.43 per cwt., 2015’s first quarter fed cattle price (5-market average) was 11% above a year ago. In the Southern Plains, during the January through March quarter steers weighing 700-to 800-pounds averaged 26% above a year ago, while calves (500-to 600-pound steers) increased 32%. Year-over-year percentage increases in cattle prices during the second quarter of this year are expected to remain historically large, but should be smaller than achieved earlier in the year.


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PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS UPDATE

USDA-NASS released the Prospective Plantings report on March 31, 2015, detailing expected planted acres for major crops in the U.S. by state and with national totals. The report indicated some important trends.


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CONSUMER FOOD SPENDING REMAINS STRONG

A clear bright spot for the U.S. economy and the meat/poultry sectors has been consumer expenditures on food. In fact, the first quarter looks robust even though winter weather was entrenched in the eastern states during January and February. Aggregate food sector retail sales in February were up 5.3% compared to 2014’s. Overall, within the food sector, U.S. restaurants have posted the largest sales growth and may be the healthiest component in the entire economy.


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