Editor's note: The Agribusiness Weekly Update, compiled from various sources by The City Wire staff, is presented each week. Sources include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Farm Bureau and Wall Street Journal.
Live cattle price for October delivery were up 95 cents per at $123.02 per hundredweight on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The December contract rose $1.42 to $126.12 per hundredweight. Beef production, at 2.37 billion pounds, fell 1% below August 2011 levels. Cattle slaughter totaled 3 million head, down 3% from August 2011. The average live weight was up 30 pounds from the previous year, at 1,300 pounds, according to the USDA slaughter report Sept. 21. Beef prices are up more 15% from a year ago, according to USDA.
Hogs & Pork
The U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on Sept. 1, climbed to 67.5 million head, a slight increase from a year ago, and up 3% from June 1. Breeding inventory declined slightly to 5.79 million head falling 1% from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 61.7 million head, gained slightly from 2011 and was 3% higher compared to last quarter, according to USDA.
Chicken processors are seeing very tight margins as corn and soybean meal prices remain high. Broiler growers in the 19 State weekly program placed 159 million chicks for meat production last week. Placements were up 1% from a year ago. Cumulative placements from January through Sept. 22 were 6.22 billion, down 2% from the same period in 2011, according to the USDA. Wholesale chicken prices for whole birds are up 7.58% from a year ago at 96 cents per pound. Boneless breast prices at $1.63 per pound are 11% higher than a ago. Leg quarter prices are basically flat at 53 cent per pound wholesale, according to Georgia Dock prices.
Large egg prices ranged from $1.36 to $1.40 last week, up 14 cents from last year. Table egg inventory rose 2% from a year ago with 1.373 million (30 dozen cases) processed, according to the USDA report from Oct. 1.
Cash corn prices traded Wednesday (Oct. 3) at $7.58 per bushel, rising 32% from a year ago. The December corn futures closed at $7.57 per bushel, corn for March delivery traded at $7.67, according to the Arkansas Farm Bureau. Corn ended the session steady to slightly higher as last Friday’s bullish stocks report continued to provide limited support.
Cash soybean prices closed Wednesday (Oct. 3) at $15.18 per bushel, up from $11.26 from a year ago. The November contract traded at $15.63, down 40 cents while January beans closed at $15.63, down 39 cents. Soybeans couldn’t maintain Friday’s grain stocks report and enthusiasm quickly turned lower in the overnight E-trade. November closed at the lowest level in nearly two months and appears headed toward support at $15.36, according to Farm Bureau analysts.
U.S. Class IV milk prices averaged $16.35 per hundredweight in August, down from $19.04 a year ago, further stressing dairy farms across the country. At current feed costs the breakeven for dairy farmers would be roughly $23 per hundredweight. The USDA forecast dairy product prices in 2013 will climb 3.5% to 4.5%. Normal grocery price inflation is about 2.8% per year.
Cash ethanol prices traded at a $2.19 per gallon last week, down from $2.68 per gallon a year ago, according to USDA. Ethanol was priced at a $1.37 per gallon discount to gasoline as of Sept. 28.