June 17

Record rainfall has delayed planting almost beyond hope this year. As of 6/10, only 83% of the corn crop was planted, compared to 99% a year ago and a 5-year average of 99%. Five-to-nine million acres of corn could go unplanted this year. That would represent a 6-to-10% drop in corn acres vs. planting intentions.

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Sheena Levi
June 10

While rain-delayed Midwest crops and China’s hog situation have dominated the commodity news, butter prices have been quietly creeping higher. U.S. milk supplies are tightening due to lower cow herd numbers and cream for butter processing is reported to be short in the Midwest.

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Sheena Levi
June 3

Record rainfall has delayed planting almost beyond hope this year. Last week’s crop progress report was more of the same. The corn crop is 58% planted vs. 90% last year and a 5-yr average of 90%. Soybeans are 29% planted vs. 74% a year ago. With the calendar turning to June, farmers are out of time.

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Sheena Levi
May 27

In Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report, the USDA said new placements onto feedlots in April were up 8.7% from a year ago. The May 1st feedlot inventory at 11.8M head was 2.2% above a year ago (highest May number since the data series began in 1996) - partly driven by an increase in the number of heifers (breeding stock) being sent to slaughter.

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Sheena Levi
May 20

On Friday, the U.S. finally reached a deal with Canada and Mexico to lift U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, while also confirming Canada and Mexico would remove tariffs on a wide range of U.S. goods, including pork and cheese.

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Sheena Levi
May 13

In Friday’s WASDE, the USDA released its first projections for next year. The outlook for 2019/20 U.S. wheat is for larger supplies, lower exports, and larger stocks. Wheat prices for 2019/20 are projected at $4.70/bu - down 9.6% from $5.20 for 2018/19.

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Sheena Levi
May 6

Beef middle meats and ground beef are in the midst of their annual seasonal price run-up ahead of the big 3 grilling holidays – Memorial Day (5/27), Father’s Day (6/16) and July 4th. So far this year, #180 choice boneless strips at $8.17/lb are up 54.7% after starting the year a $5.28 – and are currently 4.5% above a year ago.

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Sheena Levi
April 29

In April’s Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook, the USDA (again) dropped its first-half 2019 broiler output forecast to 21.16B pounds, now up just 0.4% from a year ago. Looking at Q1 data, the total number of (broiler) head slaughtered was up 0.3% from a year ago, while YOY slaughter weights were marginally negative.

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Sheena Levi
April 22

In Thursday’s Cattle on Feed Report, the USDA said new placements onto feedlots in March were up 4.8% from a year ago. The April 1st feedlot inventory at 11.96M head was 2.0% above a year ago and the highest April inventory since the data series began in 1996.

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Sheena Levi
April 15

China’s African Swine Fever just keeps going from bad to worse. On Thursday, Rabobank said that up to 200 million Chinese pigs could be culled or die as result of the disease. The drop would drag down China’s 2019 pork output by 30% from a year ago – a decline of 16 million metric tons.

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Sheena Levi
April 8

It’s that time of year when refiners begin transitioning to more expensive, summer-grade fuel. This year’s seasonal price increases will get an extra boost as a result of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, rising crude oil prices and Midwest flooding that has impeded the production and distribution of ethanol.

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Sheena Levi
April 1

In Thursday’s quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report, the USDA confirmed very large U.S. pork supplies. As of March 1st, total hog numbers and the market hog inventory were both up 2.1% from a year ago.

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Sheena Levi
March 25

In Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report, the USDA said new placements onto feedlots in Feb were up 2.2% from a year ago, surprising private analysts whose consensus forecast was for a 3.8% decrease. The March 1st feedlot inventory at 11.8M head was 0.7% above a year ago, while most agricultural economists had expected the first monthly decline since Dec 2016.

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Sheena Levi
March 18

In last week’s Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook, the USDA highlighted strong U.S. protein exports in 2018 driven by “domestic production increases and favorable foreign demand.” The USDA reported 2018 beef exports up 10.3%; pork +4.2%; broiler +4.1% and dairy products +9.5%. Eggs, down 6.1% and turkey -1.8% were the notable exceptions.

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Sheena Levi
March 11

In Friday’s WASDE report, the USDA increased 2018/19 corn ending stocks by 100M bushels, based on a projected 25M bushel decrease in corn usage for ethanol and a 75M bushel reduction in corn export forecast.

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Sheena Levi
March 4

The USDA’s annual cattle inventory report (originally scheduled for Jan 31) was released on Feb 28. The USDA said there were 94.8M head of cattle in the U.S. on Jan 1, up 0.5% from a year ago.

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Sheena Levi
February 25

The USDA is just about back on schedule with reporting. In Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report, the USDA said new placements onto feedlots in Dec 2018 were down 1.8% vs. Dec 2017.

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Sheena Levi
February 18

In the delayed Grain Stocks Report, the USDA raised 2018/19 soybean oil output due to increased crush and a higher oil extraction rate.

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Sheena Levi
February 11

The USDA released a slew of data on Friday, including Feb’s WASDE report – the first in two months. The Jan WASDE was cancelled due to the gov’t shutdown.

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Sheena Levi
February 4

Shutdown Update: The USDA is finally getting back on track and Feb 8 is looming as a big day. While Jan’s WASDE report will be skipped, Feb’s WASDE will be released on schedule this Friday.

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Sheena Levi