2012 Prospective Plantings Report Recap


USDA released their annual Prospective Plantings report Friday morning (Mar 30). The report reveled that corn is the big gainer in terms of acres planted this year versus last year. Corn acres across the U.S. are expected to jump by almost four million to 95.864. Although not the largest gainer in terms of total acres, peanuts are projected to increase by 24.7%. This accounts for an increase to 1.422 million acres from 1.141 in 2011, or up 281,000. Cotton and soybeans are expected to see the largest declines in acreage across the U.S. Cotton acres are projected to be down 1.577 million acres versus last year at 13.155 million (total cotton acres, Upland acres are projected at 12.885 million). Soybean acres are expected to drop by 1.074 million to 73.902. Two other crops that will see an increase in total acres are hay and wheat, forecasted at 57.348 and 55.908 million, respectively and up 3.1% and 2.8% from 2011. Grain Sorghum is also forecasted higher at 5.95 million acres, up 469,000 from last year. Rice and Sweet Potato acres are expected to fall compared to 2011 by 128,000 and 800, respectively, which would put 2012 plantings for these two crops at 2.561 million for rice and 133,400 for sweet potatoes.
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When Media, Science, Statistics, Risk and Red Meat…Meet


I recently penned a post detailing the difference between relative and absolute risk (link). On Friday, March 23 the Wall Street Journal highlighted a similar article on the subject by “The Numbers Guy” Carl Bialik (see his blog post here). If you need something to help you fall to sleep this evening I encourage you to take a read (link is here, subscription may be necessary).

On a serious note, though, the article highlights the recently published study by Harvard scientist on the dangers of eating processed red meat.  The authors of this study report how life expectancy declines as consumption of red processed meat increases.  They report their results in terms of relative risk and do not mention the absolute risk.  Often in science this common due to the many different factors that makes reporting the absolute risk very difficult; however, when the media gets their hands on the published output the message gets convoluted.  This was the case with the Harvard study.   The study found that (quoting Mr. Bialik’s article):

“A study by public-health researchers, including several from Harvard University, found that eating one additional serving of processed red meat each day is associated with an increase in the risk of death each year by 20%.”

On the other hand, the absolute measure means something quite different (again from Mr. Bialik’s article):

“Prof. Spiegelhalter, analyzing the red-meat results for the British Broadcasting Corporation, determined that if eating red meat really does shorten life instead of merely being associated with higher death rates, the results translate into a typical 40-year-old man in the study living to 79 instead of 80 if he chooses to add a hamburger a day to his diet. That extra year may not seem worth the change in diet to some red-meat fans.”

Just more food for thought… Happy snoozing!

March Cattle on Feed Report Recap


USDA released their monthly Cattle on Feed report this Friday afternoon (Mar 23). The report showed that 11.677 million head of cattle were in feedlots with 1,000 head capacity or larger on March 1 of this year. This is 2.6% above last year’s on feed number for the same point in time. Pre-report expectations looked for cattle on feed to be up 2.3%, so the reported value was mostly in line with this estimate. Placements into feedlots during February totaled 1.714 million head, up 2.8% from last year. Pre-report estimates pegged placements to be higher by 2.7%, so again the reported number is about spot on. Cattle marketed during February totaled 1.755 million head, down 2.0% from last year. The expectation was for marketing to be lower by 0.5%, so the reported number is likely to be viewed as bearish by most (especially given that it is below the lowest estimate of -1.8%).
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Livestock Price & Production Tables – Week of Mar 23, 2012


Mississippi Auction Markets
Weight Steers Heifers Slaughter Cows, Bulls, and Replacements
300-350 $185 $200 $180 $190 Boning (80-85% lean) $78 $85
350-400 $185 $200 $170 $180 Boning (high-yielding) $85 $99
400-450 $175 $190 $155 $170 Lean $72 $87
450-500 $175 $190 $155 $170 Bulls, YG 1-2, <1,500 lbs $83 $97
500-550 $170 $180 $145 $155 Bulls, YG 1-2, >1,500 lbs $95 $108
550-600 $155 $170 $145 $155
600-650 $150 $160 $140 $150 Sm/Mdm Cow-Calf Pairs $800 $1,150
650-700 $140 $150 $130 $140 Mdm/Lg Cow-Calf Pairs $1,000 $1,500
700-750 $130 $140 $111 $130 Sm/Mdm Replacements $70 $1,100
750-800 $130 $140 $111 $130 Mdm/Lg Replacements $900 $1,300
Volume1 (head): vs Last Week vs Last Year
under 600 lbs -3.4% 9.2%
over 600 lbs -0.4% 32.1%
Slaughter Cows 1.0% -3.4%
Rep. Females -2.1% -0.1%
Note: Steer and heifer prices are for medium and large frame, numbers 1-2.
1- Four Week Rolling Average
Source: USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

Continue reading “Livestock Price & Production Tables – Week of Mar 23, 2012”

Cattle Market Notes – Week of Mar 23, 2012


Cash Cattle:
Cash fed cattle movement continues to be sluggish.  Live sales in the Southern Plains were called at $126/cwt on Wednesday.  On Wednesday in Nebraska, live sales were at $127-$128/cwt and dressed trade was at $203-$204/cwt.  In Oklahoma City, feeder steers were steady and feeder heifers were steady to $2/cwt lower.  Calves in OKC were steady to $3/cwt higher for steers and steady to $2/cwt higher for heifers.  Feeder steers and heifers in Mississippi markets were called steady, while slaughter cows were $1-$2/cwt higher and bulls were steady.
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Cattle Market Notes – Week of Mar 16, 2012


Cash Cattle:
Cash fed cattle were steady to slightly lower when compared to last week. Live sales in the Southern Plains were called at $126/cwt. In Nebraska, live sales were at $126-$127/cwt and dressed trade was at $202/cwt. In Oklahoma City, all classes looked to be mostly steady.  Feeder steers and heifers were called mixed; slaughter cows and bulls were steady.
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Livestock Price & Production Tables – Week of Mar 16, 2012


Mississippi Auction Markets
Weight Steers Heifers Slaughter Cows, Bulls, and Replacements
300-350 $210 $225 $175 $200 Boning (80-85% lean) $80 $87
350-400 $200 $210 $167 $175 Boning (high-yielding) $87 $96
400-450 $190 $200 $155 $170 Lean $74 $84
450-500 $170 $190 $155 $170 Bulls, YG 1-2, <1,500 lbs $85 $99
500-550 $160 $175 $145 $160 Bulls, YG 1-2, >1,500 lbs $95 $112
550-600 $160 $175 $145 $160
600-650 $150 $160 $130 $147 Sm/Mdm Cow-Calf Pairs $850 $1,300
650-700 $145 $150 $130 $147 Mdm/Lg Cow-Calf Pairs $1,000 $1,500
700-750 $135 $140 $127 $137 Sm/Mdm Replacements $700 $1,100
750-800 $135 $140 $127 $137 Mdm/Lg Replacements $850 $1,300
Volume1 (head): vs Last Week vs Last Year
under 600 lbs 5.2% 7.7%
over 600 lbs 0.7% 24.1%
Slaughter Cows -0.7% -15.7%
Rep. Females -4.3% -4.3%
Note: Steer and heifer prices are for medium and large frame, numbers 1-2.
1- Four Week Rolling Average
Source: USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

Continue reading “Livestock Price & Production Tables – Week of Mar 16, 2012”