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Jim Robb Says Calf and Yearling Prices to Remain Strong, But Lower Than 2014

Tue, 11 Aug 2015 14:55:41 CDT

Jim Robb Says Calf and Yearling Prices to Remain Strong, But Lower Than 2014

Slaughter cattle prices have likely reached the bottom. That's according to Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) Director Jim Robb. In speaking at the Southern Plains Beef Symposium in Ardmore on Saturday, he also shared the industry is near the bottom of the market for calf and yearling prices. With increasing cattle supplies and corn prices higher than last year, Robb said he is looking for softer calf and yearling prices for the rest of the year.

"We're not going to make the very strong calf and yearling markets that we did in the fourth quarter of 2014," Robb said. "We're going to have the second highest calf market ever, but it's certainly a softer market on a year-to-year basis. Fed cattle prices will be down year-to-year in the second half, still seasonally stronger."

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Jim Robb at the Southern Plains Beef Symposium held Saturday in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to this Beef Buzz feature.

While fed cattle, calf and yearling prices have been fairly volatile, Robb looks for it good year for cow-calf producers and a decent year for stockers, but it won't be a great year like 2014. Overall, he said herd rebuilding has been fairly modest and domestic consumer demand remains good. In looking at the outlook, he forecast more of an erosion of calf and yearling prices over the next several years, rather than a collapse. He said it's going to take an outside market shock to slow the erosion of prices.

In looking at international demand, U.S. beef exports are down ten percent in volume, but value remains nearly unchanged. Robb said the value has been fairly strong, but one area of weakness has been the demand for byproduct items like tongue, liver and hides. On the meat side of the marketplace, he said there has been a parallel decline in beef tonnage exports in terms of domestic production.

"So, we're maintaining those export markets, partly just reflecting our smaller supply in the U.S.," Robb said. "Certainly, we're just selling this meat product in foreign markets at pretty strong prices. "

The international market has changed due to a number of factors, like the stronger U.S. dollar that is working against U.S. exports. Robb said the international trade environment is also working against the U.S. with Australian beef exports restricted in Russia, some of the Middle Eastern markets and China because of their low growth rate. Right now the U.S. is the residual marketplace, so beef imports into the U.S. are much higher than previous years. Robb was surprised U.S. exports have remained this strong given the global economic environment.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Jim Robb of LMIC
right-click to download mp3


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