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Pork’s Boom and Bust Price Pattern

Markets can take your breath away and the hog market over the past year has left many breathless. A year-ago in March, the new PED virus was the talk in the livestock media. Baby pig death losses of nearly 100 percent were the reality for some herds. The disease was not well understood and was spreading rapidly. There was trade talk that death losses were so high that 20 percent of pork production could be lost in 2014. Unfortunately, in the early stages the pork industry had no way of measuring the national baby pig death losses. Fear set in among some pork buyers-"What if bacon was not available to put on fast food hamburgers, What if tasty BLT sandwiches have to become only LT sandwiches?" Hog and pork prices exploded to record highs with the national live price reaching $100 per hundredweight. Continue reading

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Beef Expansion Is Underway

The nation’s cattle producers are expanding the herd at a somewhat faster rate than had been anticipated. In the semi-annual update of cattle numbers, USDA said that the total number of cattle and calves had increased by somewhat more than one p… Continue reading

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Hogs Provide Near $7 per Bushel Corn Value

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Grain farmers are looking for new corn uses now that ethanol is not big enough. Low corn prices are encouraging end users to seek ways to add value to corn, which is now below costs for most corn growers. What about hogs? … Continue reading

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Cattle Prices Continue to Rise

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Cash cattle prices have moved higher this fall, supported by small cattle supplies, a generally favorable demand base, and low feed prices that have sent feeder cattle futures prices to record highs. The outlook suggests e… Continue reading

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Beef Industry About to Make a Slow Turn

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The beef industry is about to reverse a downward trend in numbers, but expansion is expected to start slowly. The number of beef animals has been in a downward spiral since 2007 due to drought which has ravaged pastures an… Continue reading

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Beef Industry About to Make a Slow Turn

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The beef industry is about to reverse a downward trend in numbers, but expansion is expected to start slowly. The number of beef animals has been in a downward spiral since 2007 due to drought which has ravaged pastures an… Continue reading

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Pork Producers Can See the Promised Land

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Pork producers can see the "promised land" of lower feed costs which will provide an extended period of profitability. Those lower costs are not here yet, but could be just weeks away as prospects for U.S. corn and soybean production have improved in recent days. Producers can see prospects for $2.00 per bushel lower cash corn prices by harvest and $130 per ton lower soybean meal prices in the July to October futures spread. While they see the market’s anticipation of lower feed costs on the near-horizon, they recognize there are still unknowns about acreage, weather for the remainder of the growing season, and early frost. But today’s signals suggest they should begin to get the celebration underway. Continue reading

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Will Weak Cattle Prices Continue?

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I thought finished cattle prices were going to have a very bullish year with prices well into the $130s by now. Live cattle futures started the year with the same enthusiasm, but have deflated since. What went wrong?
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Spring Pork Price Recovery Threatened

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Hog prices have dropped sharply in the past month, falling from about $67 per live hundredweight in early February to $58 recently. Futures prices have followed suit, with April lean hog futures dropping about $7.50 since… Continue reading

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Pork Profits on the Horizon

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Pork producers have begun the chant "four more months" as they can now see the light of profits as they are set to emerge from a tunnel of losses. That tunnel of darkness stretched from the spring of 2012 through the winter of 2013, with average estimated losses of $18 per head, primarily due to high feed prices. Continue reading

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