NCBA president: We support more cash trade
- NCBA’s president, Marty Smith, reported last week that NCBA does support greater numbers in cash trade, along with in depth price discovery.
- NCBA has put together “a lot of cattle feeders” and “a lot of state executives” to look into possible solutions to fix our cattle markets.
- Smith stated that a problem existed prior to the pandemic. “We saw that last summer with the Holcomb fire. We saw that our system has real weaknesses and at times it is just absolutely broken.”
- NCBA does not support Senator Chuck Grassley’s legislation to mandate that the bigger meatpackers purchase at least 50% of their weekly kill on the cash market, and that cattle be delivered to the packing plant within 14 days of purchase.
- According to USDA, currently, 20-25 percent of fed cattle are sold on the cash market; formula and grid agreements are being based on that relatively small amount of negotiated cash trade.
- NCBA believes in a free market system, and they aren’t going to dictate and don’t want to government dictating specifics about cattle being bought or sold, explained Smith. NCBA has detailed policies that have been set regarding issues such as this one. These policies can be changed, and with their summer conference coming up the organization will be assessing their stance.
- When asked about the many legislative proposals being talked about among other cattle groups, Smith said, “ we look at those proposals, they are nothing that really works to enhance the cattle industry, and we’re not going to jump out and try to change something because someone said that is the quick fix.
Slaughter totals increasing, but challenges are far from over
- Daily slaughter levels for cattle and hogs are continuing to improve as both industries work towards pre-Covid-19 levels.
- University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown stated that the hog industry’s processing sector is breaking even at best with their daily slaughter levels. With that being said, there is still right around 2 million hogs backed up at the producer level that need to be worked through. Brown feels that this crisis is far from over and it’s going to take the hog industry awhile to return to normalcy.
- Scott feels the cattle industry is in the same boat. There might not be a bunch of heavyweight cattle left, but a significant amount of cattle have been slowed in getting to the feedyard. The industry will be paying the price for these cattle through the end of this year.
U.S. ground beef sales up $1 billion in 2020
- Through May 17th, U.S. ground beef sales increased more than $1 billion compared to the same period last year.
- Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics, says this year-over-year gain is due to increased consumer spending.
- According to IRI, a data analytics and research company, millennial households were behind the biggest increases in meat spending since the onset of coronavirus.
- Ground proteins have seen the most purchase limitations. These products are popular due to their versatility and ease of preparation.
- Looking at the four weeks leading up to April 19th, keep in mind this time period had two weeks of panic buying, the average household spent $5 more on ground beef than in the prior year, an increase of 30% said Roerink.
Boxed beef continues to decline
- Choice boxed beef: 341.15 (-$22.19)
- Select boxed beef: 316.83 (-$23.24)