The August WASDE predicts this fall will bring our first 15 billion bushel corn harvest and the first 4 billion bushel soybean harvest. This is good news for feeder cattle prices.
U.S. beef exports during June were down 0.5% compared to a year ago. Japan, South Korea, Canada and Mexico, respectively, were the top three destinations for U.S. beef exports in June. Beef exports were up 2.0% during the first half of 2016.
Beef imports were down 16.3% in June and down 13.0% in the first half of 2016. A lot less beef is coming in from Australia because of better grazing conditions there.
Imports of live cattle from Canada were down 6.9% in June and down 10.4% in the first half of 2016. Cattle imports from Mexico were down 42.6% in June and down 16.0% in the first half compared to January-June 2015.
Domestic demand for beef was up 2.2% in June, but down 1.8% in the first half of 2016. Lackluster growth in the U.S. economy has left meat demand slightly lower than last year. Overall meat demand was down 1.1% during January-June compared to a year earlier. Export demand for U.S. beef was down 7.0% in June and down 5.0% in the first half of 2016.
This week fed cattle prices were lower in moderate sales volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $116.91/cwt, down $2.03 from last week's average and down $35.82 from a year ago. The 5-area dressed steer price averaged $186.86/cwt, down $1.06 from the week before and down $52.43 from a year ago.
Beef cutout was higher this week. This morning, the choice boxed beef cutout value was $201.51/cwt, up $2.56 from the previous Friday. The select carcass cutout this morning was $193.51/cwt, up $3.06 from last week.
This week's cattle slaughter totaled 581,000 head, down 0.7% from last week, but up 6.8% from a year ago. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on July 30 was 883 pounds, up 3 pounds from the week before, down 3 pounds from a year ago, and below the year-ago level for the 13th consecutive week.
Feeder cattle prices and stocker calf prices at Oklahoma City were generally steady to $4 higher this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $175-$177, 450-500# $164-$177, 500-550# $147-$169.50, 550-600# $148-$166.50, 600-650# $147-$169, 650-700# $147-$161.50, 700-750# $145.50-$159.35, 750-800# $145.50-$156, 800-900# $138.25-$148 and 900-1000# $133.50-$142.75/cwt.
The August live cattle futures contract settled at $116.32/cwt today, down $1.35 for the week. October fed cattle settled at $114.52/cwt, down $1.00 from the previous Friday. December fed cattle futures settled at $115.05/cwt.
August feeder cattle futures ended the week at $149.07/cwt, down 58 cents from a week earlier. September feeder cattle gained 35 cents this week to settle at $147.55/cwt. October feeder cattle closed the week up 38 cents at $144.25/cwt.