Weekly Livestock Market Update

Last Friday’s Five Area weighted average price for beef breed steers was $182.75. Negotiated sales were mostly $180 in the south. Northern sales were mostly $183, with $185 reported Friday. Wisconsin auction markets reported higher prices to open this week. Recent strength in Live Cattle futures should help sellers leverage higher prices. Last week October live cattle were $3.07 higher, December live cattle were up $3.25. Harvest totals were predictably lower last week due to the holiday shortened production schedule. The estimate of 559,000 head was 70,000 less than the previous week and 47,000 head below Labor Day week last year. The weekly total includes 51,000 head harvested on Saturday, compared to 89,000 a year ago. It remains to be seen if the lower harvest totals cause higher wholesale prices. Last week’s Choice beef cutout value averaged $313.41, $1.55 lower than the previous week. Cutout values to start this week showed weakness and have failed to gain upward momentum. July beef exports totaled 103,167 metric tons, down 18% from a year ago and the lowest in six months. Export value was down 19% and the lowest since February. For January through July, beef exports trailed last year’s record pace by 11% in volume and 19% in value. July beef export value equated to $403.63 per head, down 15% from a year ago. The January-July average was $395.65, down 17%. Exports accounted for 14.2% of total July beef production and 11.8% for muscle cuts only. #

Wholesale pork prices have shown some improvement. The pork cutout value averaged $97.30 last week, a gain of $3.91 and was higher to begin this week. The National Carcass Base Price paid last Friday was $79.14 with a Live Price weighted average of $58.43. Cash prices worked higher through the week. The Labor Day week harvest estimate was 2.234 million, 147,000 fewer hogs than the week before and 18,000 less than the holiday week last year. Domestic demand for pork is improving, and exports remain strong. According to the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF), July pork exports totaled 219,014 metric tons, up 5% year-over-year, while export value increased 1% to $628.7 million. Through the first seven months of 2023, pork exports were 13% above last year’s pace with value 10% higher. July pork export value equated to $65.38 per head, down 3% from a year ago, while the January-July average increased 8% to $64.07. Exports accounted for 30.3% of total July pork production, up one percentage point from a year ago. For muscle cuts only, exports accounted for 25.5% of production, up from 24.7%. #

Sheep and lamb harvest last week was 28,000 head, making it 5,000 head less than the previous week and 3,000 less than the holiday week a year ago. Traditional market lamb prices were called steady to $10/cwt lower last week. The net carcass value fell $6.27 when compared to the previous Friday to end the week at $449.86. Following a slow second quarter, July exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts showed signs of a rebound. July export volume was 197 metric tons, up 22% from a year ago and the highest since March. Export value was $928,000, down 2% year-over-year, but the highest since April. 
For January through July, lamb exports were 1% below last year’s pace while value fell 6%. Markets trending higher included Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands Antilles, Panama, and Guatemala.

Fed cattle prices were higher at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets this week. Beef breed fed steers and heifers brought $145 to $182/cwt. High Choice and Prime steers and heifers brought $183 to $190/cwt. Holstein steers were steady to $2 higher from $128 to $166/cwt with a few to $170. Silage fed, under finished or heavy dairy breed steers brought $75 to $128/cwt. Dairy x Beef steers were bringing $126 to $174 with a few to $180/cwt. Cows were higher. A bulk of the cows brought $72 to $106/cwt with some fleshier dairy and beef cows selling to $120/cwt and higher. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $71/cwt and down. Dairy breed bull calves were higher bringing $100 to $300/cwt with some heavier, well-managed calves selling to $380. Beef and Beef Cross calves were higher, selling up to $680/cwt. Market lambs were mostly steady to higher from $165 to $207/cwt. with reports of some to $230.