Current Cattle Market Daily Headlines for Wednesday, July 28, 2020

by | Jul 28, 2020 | 0 comments

Utah rancher asks Mike Pence to prevent a crisis for lamb producers in the west

  • Carson Jorgensen, a sixth-generation sheep rancher located in Mt. Pleasant, UT, is seeking intervention from the Trump administration and help from the Utah congressional delegation to stop the pending closure of Mountain States-Rosen lamb processing plant located in Greeley, CO.
    • This plant processes more than 300,000 lambs from 15 western states.
  • According to Jorgensen, his family and fellow ranch families will be forced out of business and their herds will not be replaced if intervention doesn’t occur. The U.S. lamb market will be forced to exclusively rely on more and more foreign products, foreign imports and foreign supply chains.
  • Jorgensen’s letter was prompted by the bankruptcy acquisition of Mountain States-Rosen by JBS.
  • JBS says it will no longer process lambs at the Mountain States plant, and will instead only process beef.
    • Switching from lamb to beef would leave tens of thousands of lambs that are ready for slaughter stranded in feedlots, and hundreds of thousands of lambs that will be coming off summer ranges.
      • The few lamb plants that are left in the U.S. are currently running at capacity and small, local plants won’t ever be able to handle the volume.
    • A large part of the U.S. meat industry is controlled by a handful of companies, and the lamb industry is no exception. Their foreign competitors repeatedly undercut lamb producers.
    • Jorgensen feels that this latest acquisition by JBS needs to be investigated to see if it is a predatory effort to disrupt U.S. food production.


Where are the cattle?

  • The cattle on feed report released last Friday was fairly neutral, however, producers are still wondering where are all the cattle.
  • Earlier this spring, cattle placements were scarce, the lowest the industry has seen since 1996 when the series first began.
    • March’s placements were down 23 percent.
    • April’s placements were down 22 percent.
    • May’s placements were up 1 percent.
    • June’s placements were up 2 percent.
  • It’s obvious that deficits of 23 and 22 percent can’t be offset by minimal one and two percent increases.
  • These numbers make it clear that there are still a significant amount of cattle out in the countryside yet to be placed.
  • This situation has shifted how cattle are marketed and the cattle marketing calendar that we are accustomed to will look a bit different for the second half of 2020.


Boxed beef prices

  • Choice boxed beef: $202.96 (+0.41)
  • Select boxed beef: $188.32 (-1.81)


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How did we get here?

From the Holcomb Tyson fire to COVID-19;
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