Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 7/17/2017
Fed Cattle Market: Mid-Year Review

In the first quarter of this year, the 5-market slaughter steer price was 8.8% below 2016’s. Slaughter steers averaged above a year ago (up 4.0%) in the second quarter. Those were stronger prices than forecast in late 2016. It appeared that the cash market price was topping out in mid-March when the weekly 5-market average hit $130.91 per cwt. (live basis) and prices did erode for a few weeks. Then they surged higher. The weekly peak was $144.60, which was posted the first week of May.  By the last week of June the price had fallen to $118.64 per cwt. 

Poultry Supplies in First Half of 2017 Little Changed from 2016's

Chicken and turkey production in the first half of 2017 was up only slightly from a year ago. Final data for June (from USDA’s  National Agriculture Statistics Service) will not be released until the last week of this month, but preliminary estimates for June and hard data for the first five months of the year peg young chicken (broiler) production up 1.7% from last year’s. The same comparison for turkey production shows production increasing 0.6%.

U.S. Exports of Beef & Pork Remain Strong

U.S. red meat export tonnage continued to post year-over-year increases in the latest data compiled by USDA, which is for the month of May. In their World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates, USDA is forecasting that both beef and pork exports (carcass weight) this calendar year will set new record highs.

Beef export tonnage during May was 3.2% above a year ago. For the first five months of 2017, U.S. beef export tonnage surged 19.5% year-over-year to nearly 1.1 billion pounds (carcass weight equivalent).That slightly eclipsed the prior high for January-May set in 2011.