May 27

5/27 – 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. Cattle futures, which hit $129.90/cwt during the March flooding in Nebraska, declined in early May and are currently $111.18. Forward future contracts for 2020 are averaging just $113.74. In the 5/10 WASDE report, the USDA gave its first forecast for 2020 at $121.00/cwt. A pending, China-driven protein shortage for next year appears to support the USDA number. Beef trimmings prices have peaked seasonally but look to be well supported through July 4th. Then look for fresh 50s to drop to $.70/lb and 90s to move below $2.20.

Sheena Levi