[Fri]: Stewart-Peterson says “sharply higher beef prices, coupled with the much slower responding cash cattle markets, mean that packers are making record profits and should keep chain speeds running at full capacity”… [Thurs]: Boxed beef cutout values sharply higher… Choice up $2.63… Select up $2.56… In negotiated cash sales in Nebraska, the USDA reported live FOB sales of 184 at $110.78, with dressed delivered sales of 595 at $175.00. In Iowa, live FOB sales of 1,533 were reported at $111.42, with dressed delivered sales of 630 reported at $175.45… likely pushed packer margins near all-time highs and should keep the demand for slaughter supplies very strong, at least as long as packer plants are not shut down due to the spread of the virus,” they said…
Farm Commodity Newsletter/Iowa Farmer Today
Fri 3/20/2020 8:37 AM
Cattle - Allendale has released their Cattle on Feed estimates for the report being released today at 2 p.m. They estimate on-feed numbers as of March 1 at 0.2% under last year at 11.775 million head, Placements will be 8.8% under last year at 1.694 million head and marketing at 6.2% over last year at 1.787 million head.
Stewart-Peterson says “sharply higher beef prices, coupled with the much slower responding cash cattle markets, mean that packers are making record profits and should keep chain speeds running at full capacity.”
Demand to exceed retail supplies for another week
Allendale says demand for U.S. meat at the retail level “will likely exceed supplies for at least another week,” the chief executive of Tyson told Reuters, as the coronavirus pandemic fuels panic buying among shoppers. He said once supplies are replenished, likely in another week or so, that supply and demand will even out.
Allendale expects Monday’s USDA Cold Storage report to show 673 million lbs. of pork, compared to a five-year average at 622 million lbs., and 574 million the previous month. Beef stocks are estimated at 456 million lbs.
Thu 3/19/2020 4:48 PM
Boxed beef cutout values sharply higher on good demand and heavy offerings, USDA reported.
Choice up $2.63 to $249.87/cwt.
Select up $2.56 to $241.06/cwt.
In negotiated cash sales in Nebraska, the USDA reported live FOB sales of 184 at $110.78, with dressed delivered sales of 595 at $175.00. In Iowa, live FOB sales of 1,533 were reported at $111.42, with dressed delivered sales of 630 reported at $175.45.
June live cattle closed up $3.00 at $88.92. May feeder cattle closed up $4.50 at $113.02. Hightower says short-term demand “looks to remain strong as consumers are looking for extra meat just in case the virus isolation goes on longer than anticipated.” U.S. beef exports posted strong gains last week.
With the jump in packer margins, cash trade in the country is beginning to stabilize as well. “With production running at a pretty good clip, many are beginning to think that grocers have stocked up on enough beef supplies for the near term which could pressure prices,” says Stewart-Peterson.
Cattle goes limit up, hogs higher
Beef values have rallied over $30 in just three days, says Stewart-Peterson, representing the largest three-day increase in history. “This has likely pushed packer margins near all-time highs and should keep the demand for slaughter supplies very strong, at least as long as packer plants are not shut down due to the spread of the virus,” they said.
The Hightower Report says pork cutout values were up again today. The surge in prices “should help spark aggressive packer profit margins, and that will keep producers current with marketings,” they said.
Grains higher, led by wheat
It was a volatile day in the soybean market, but prices managed to surge moderately higher today. Hightower says a sharp rally in the U.S. dollar could have helped keep prices in check. That was offset by a mild gain for the Brazilian real. USDA says bean export numbers continue to run below forecasts.
On the flip side, corn prices were unable to hold on to strong mid-session highs, but still closed over a dime higher. Hightower says a rebound in energy prices helped provide a boost to the corn market.
May corn finished up 10 ¼ cents at $3.45 ½, while July corn closed pu 9 ¼ cents at $3.51. Hightower says “stronger global risk sentiment provided many commodities, including corn, with underlying support.” Momentum studies remain bearish, but are now at oversold levels, says Hightower.
Until the market sees an extended recovery in the crude oil markets, it is difficult to expect ethanol demand to remain very strong. “Ethanol margins are widening very quickly across the country as profit margins for ethanol production have dropped almost instantaneously,” Stewart-Peterson says.
May soybeans closed up 17 ¾ cents at $8.43 ¼, while July beans closed up 15 ¼ cents at $8.48. Both May meal and oil finished up. Hightower says meal price finished a wild day up over $10. The prospect of increased U.S. ag sales to China gave an additional boost to soybean prices Thursday.
Barchart.com says weekly soybean sales from the week ending March 12 were 631,577 MT, which is 66.2% more than sales from the same week last year. New crop bookings were listed at 69,589 MT from the same week. Soybean meal bookings from the weekly update were just below expectations.
May wheat closed up 26 ¾ cents at $5.35, while July wheat closed up 24 cents at $5.31 ½. Hightower says wheat prices “were one of the major beneficiaries of the ‘risk on’ mood in global markets as it broke out of its consolidation zone to the upside, and reached a three-week high before finishing with a sizable gain.”
Stewart-Peterson says there is talk that virus issues may not impact wheat as much as other ag commodities, especially the wheat varieties used for making bread and other consumer goods. They add that it’s “still reasonable to expect a pullback in export activity due to the virus.”