August 21 Weekly Update

8/21 – In last week’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Report, the USDA bumped projected 2017 beef production to 26.7B pounds, up 5.9% from a year ago, and said 2018 output will be 27.4B lbs, up another 2.5%. The July 1st cattle herd clocked in at 102.6M head, up 4% from mid-year 2016 and the largest since 2008. Additionally, the number of heifers being retained for herd expansion is starting to decline. That will eventually mean a smaller cattle herd in a few years, but for now it will further increase feeder cattle supplies. Choice steers, which averaged 127.86/cwt in the 1st half of 2018 and projected to average $114.00 in the 2nd half. The USDA says the choice steers will average $121.00/cwt for the year in 2017, about the same as $120.86 in 2017, before dropping to $116.50 in 2018. Cattle futures closed at their lost level (so far) in 2017 at $106.38/cwt on Friday.