Iowa Farm Outlook & News

  • Oct. 2018 Cattle on Feed:
       U.S.: Cattle on Feed: 11.4 million head, up 5.4% from last year
       U.S.: Placements: 2.051 million head, down 4.6% from last year
       U.S.: Marketings: 1.719 million head, down 3.6% from last year
  • Oct. 2018 Cattle on Feed:
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: Cattle on Feed: 690,000 head, up 6.2% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: Placements: 89,000 head, down 16% from last year
       Iowa: 1,000+ Head Feedlots: Marketings: 75,000 head, down 21.1% from last year
  • Oct. 2018 Cattle on Feed:
       Iowa: <1,000 Head Feedlots: Cattle on Feed: 400,000 head, down 10.1% from last year
       Iowa: <1,000 Head Feedlots: Placements: 27,000 head, down 61.4% from last year
       Iowa: <1,000 Head Feedlots: Marketings: 50,000 head, down 31.5% from last year
  • Oct. 2018 Yields for 2018/19 U.S. Crops:
       Corn 180.7 bushels per acre, down 0.6 bushels from last month
       Soybean 53.1 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushels from last month
  • Oct. 2018 Stocks for 2018/19 U.S. Crops:
       Corn 1.813 billion bushels, up 39 million bushels from last month's estimate
       Soybean 885 million bushels, up 40 million bushels from last month's estimate
Cattle on Feed (11/4/18)

Livestock slaughter data for September showed a decline in commercial beef production. Total beef production for the month was reported to be 2.158 billion pounds, 3% lower than a year ago. While the decline seems surprising since cattle inventories are larger, it is important to keep in mind that in September 2018 there were just 19 slaughter days, compared to 20 days in September 2017. The mismatch in production days is an issue that comes up frequently when doing monthly comparisons and one that analysts often adjust for in order to assess supply trends. Another way to look at beef production is to show the average production per slaughter day in a given month. In other words, total beef production divided by the number of slaughter days. Using this metric, beef production in September averaged about 113.6 million pounds per slaughter day, 2.1% more than a year ago. It's quite a reversal from the decline indicated in the raw monthly numbers. Daily September beef production was higher than a year prior solely because of more cattle coming to market. Total cattle slaughter in September was 2.618 million head, 3% smaller than a year ago. When adjusting for marketing days, daily slaughter was up 2.1% from last year. Cattle weights were almost identical to a year ago. In part this is due to the fact that the slaughter mix was closely equivalent to a year ago. In September 2018, steers made up 50.9% of the overall slaughter compared to 52.2% last year. In addition, one corollary to the recent trend of placing cattle on feed at lighter weights is that it makes it less likely to see large gains in slaughter weights because the animals are typically finished at lighter weights. With higher feedlot inventories it will be imperative that cattle aren't being backed up on the farm the next several months. A good indicator of how current producers are in their marketing of fed cattle will be tendencies of weights.

Sometimes a Big Crop Gets a Little Smaller (10/11/18)

The October crop update from USDA provided a bit of positive news as the estimated crops were a bit smaller than the trade expecting. For corn, the national yield estimate was reduced by 0.6 bushels to 180.7 bushels per acre. That lowered production by 49 million bushels. However, combined with the stocks news from the beginning of the month, total corn supplies are still larger at 16.97 billion bushels. The updates for corn usage were mixed, with feed and residual use dropping 25 million bushels and exports rising 75 million bushels. In the end, 2018/19 ending stocks are projected at 1.813 billion bushels, up 39 million bushels from last month's estimate, but down 327 million bushels from last year's level. USDA maintained the midpoint of their season-average price range at $3.50 per bushel.

For soybeans, there were mixed signals on production. Planted area was reduced by 400,000 acres and harvested area shrunk a half-million acres, but the national yield estimate increased by 0.3 bushels per acre to 53.1 bushels per acre. The end result is a production estimate that barely moved, holding at 4.69 billion bushels. Given the higher stock levels from the 2017/18 crop, total soybean supply is now estimated at 5.15 billion bushels. There were no substantive changes on the usage side, so the 2018/19 ending stock estimate rose to 885 million bushels, up 40 million from last month and 447 million from last year. As with corn, the midpoint of the season-average price range did not move, holding at $8.60 per bushel.