Current Cattle Market Daily Headlines for February 24, 2021

by | Feb 24, 2021 | 0 comments

USRSB sustainability modules for feedyards and auctions

  • The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) has released additional sustainability modules for both the feedyard and auction market sectors.
    • These modules expand USRSB’s mission to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability across the U.S. beef value chain.
      • These new modules are the second and third in a series and will work to support actions that will improve sustainability in the industry.
    • Preceding these modules are the cow-calf, stocker and backgrounder modules that were launched in the spring of 2020.
    • Modules released by the USRSB provide real-world examples of sustainability practices to put sustainability into practical terms.
    • All of the modules are free to access. The final set of sustainability modules for packer/processor and retail/food service sectors are currently in development and will be completed this year.


Sanburg: A world without the beef checkoff

  • According to Hugh Sanburg, 2021 Chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and a Colorado cow-calf producer, if the beef checkoff were to be done away with like certain interest groups would like to see done, cattle producers across the nation would be heavily impacted.
  • Not only would national beef promotion be impacted without a federal beef checkoff, state checkoffs would also feel the affects.
    • Last year, 44 states received checkoff revenue for local-level beef programming and only 15 of those 44 states have their own state checkoff in place, said Sanburg.
      • If the checkoff were to dissolve, the majority of state beef councils would have very minimal resources for funding their state beef initiatives.
    • Sanburg questions who would promote beef if the checkoff were not in place to do so. He feels that those suggesting ending the program have not considered the void that its termination would create.
    • The beef checkoff isn’t in place to control the markets, said Sanburg, but it does support producers in a lot of ways.


CattleFax; A frozen supply chain.

  • Much like 2020, packing capacity has already been disrupted this year. In the past two weeks, producers have seen capacity cut short due to maintenance and extreme weather conditions.
  • Intense winter weather last week resulted in rolling blackouts and natural gas restrictions at plants from south Texas all the way up to the Corn Belt.
    • Weather conditions have improved, but energy limits are still causing issues for plants.
      • All of this combined has created an estimated 70,000 head backlog of cattle.
    • The frigid temperatures with this winter storm will undoubtedly affect carcass weights for the next several weeks.
      • Cattle shipped to plants last week averaged 30-60 lbs. lighter than the week before, but the actual effect of these extreme temperatures on cattle weights is yet to be seen.
    • It is unknown how the rest of the winter season will play out in terms of cold weather and snowstorms, but what is known is that the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Schuyler, NE is planning for refrigeration maintenance starting March 18.
      • This shut down in Schuyler will allow processors a favorable leverage position relative to cattle feeders for a little while longer.
        • This leverage is obvious when a person looks at the spread between February live cattle futures and April and June contracts. The February contract is at a near-record discount compared to the spring and summer contracts that follow.


The Beef Read: Premium Shrinks

  • This is the first time since November that boxed beef prices have topped $240/cwt.
  • It is expected that boxed beef will remain well supported through this week, until production can increase enough to cover last week’s lost supply.
  • The range of guesses for this week’s slaughter are 650,000 hd. to 669,000 hd., all depending on who you ask, but in the end, it will all come down to how many plants run on Saturday.
  • Packer margins continue to average over $300/hd. net profit, so the incentive to run is definitely present.


Boxed beef prices

  • Choice boxed beef: $240.29 (+0.31)
  • Select boxed beef: $230.53 (+0.55)



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How did we get here?

From the Holcomb Tyson fire to COVID-19;
Click to see a timeline of events that have brought to light the profit and pricing disparity in cattle markets.


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