Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday July 22 Cattle on Feed, Cattle Inventory and Cold Storage reports + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.37 million cattle on feed on July 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 3% from last year. Placements during June totaled 405,000 head, down 2% from 2021. Fed cattle marketings for the month of June totaled 545,000 head, down 2% from last year. Other disappearance during June totaled 20,000 head, up 10,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 580,000 head on July 1, 2022, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service -- Cattle on Feed report. This was down 2 percent from June and down 3 percent from July 1, 2021. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 520,000 head on feed, down 5 percent from last month but up 2 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,100,000 head, down 3 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during June 2022 totaled 60,000 head, down 19 percent from May but up 36 percent from June 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 33,000 head, down 28 percent from May and down 27 percent from June 2021. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 93,000 head, down 22 percent from May but up 4 percent from June 2021.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during June 2022 totaled 68,000 head, down 4 percent from May but up 10 percent from June 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 56,000 head, down 10 percent from May and down 11 percent from June 2021. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 124,000 head, down 7 percent from May and down 1 percent from June 2021. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up Slightly

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million head on July 1, 2022. The inventory was slightly above July 1, 2021. The inventory included 6.90 million steers and steer calves, down 1 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 61 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.45 million head, up 3 percent from 2021.

On Feed, by State  (1,000 hd   -  % July 1 '21)

Colorado ......:                  1,060          100             
Iowa .............:                    580            97           
Kansas ..........:                  2,350           96          
Nebraska ......:                  2,370          103            
Texas ............:                  2,860          103          

Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.63 million head, 2 percent below 2021. Net placements were 1.56 million head. During June, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 360,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 270,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 370,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 369,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 175,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 85,000 head.

Placements by state  (1,000 hd  -  % June '21)

Colorado ......:                  140           108              
Iowa .............:                   60           136               
Kansas ..........:                  380            88                
Nebraska ......:                  405            98              
Texas ............:                  390           103              

Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 2.06 million head, 2 percent above 2021. Other disappearance totaled 69,000 head during June, 21 percent above 2021.

Marketings by state  (1,000 hd  -  % June '21)

Colorado ......:                  165           114               
Iowa .............:                  68             110                
Kansas ..........:                  505           103                
Nebraska ......:                 545             98                 
Texas ............:                 460            102                

July 1 Cattle Inventory Down 2 Percent

All cattle and calves in the United States on July 1, 2022 totaled 98.8 million head, 2 percent below the 101 million head on July 1, 2021.

All cows and heifers that have calved totaled 39.8 million head, 2 percent below the 40.6 million head on July 1, 2021. Beef cows, at 30.4 million head, down 2 percent from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.45 million head, down 1 percent from previous year.

All heifers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2022 totaled 15.6 million head, 2 percent below the 15.9 million head on July 1, 2021. Beef replacement heifers, at 4.15 million head, down 3 percent from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 3.75 million head, down 1 percent from previous year. Other heifers, at 7.70 million head, 1 percent below a year earlier.

Steers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2022 totaled 14.4 million head, down 1 percent from July 1, 2021.

Bulls 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2022 totaled 2.00 million head, unchanged from previous year.

Calves under 500 pounds on July 1, 2022 totaled 27.0 million head, down 3 percent from a year earlier.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.4 million head on July 1, 2022, unchanged from previous year. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 84.6 percent of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2022, up slightly from previous year. The total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots), at 35.7 million head, down 3 percent from the 36.7 million head on July 1, 2021.  

Calf Crop Down 1 Percent

The 2022 calf crop in the United States is expected to be 34.6 million head, down 1 percent from last year. Calves born during the first half of 2022 are estimated at 25.3 million head, down 1 percent from the first half of 2021. An additional 9.30 million calves are expected to be born during the second half of 2022.

USDA Cold Storage June 2022 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on June 30, 2022 were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 24 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 29 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 22 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 6 percent from last month but up 46 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on June 30, 2022 were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 4 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 5 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 10 percent from last month and up 2 percent from June 30, 2021.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on June 30, 2022 were down slightly from the previous month but up 5 percent from June 30, 2021. Butter stocks were up 3 percent from last month but down 20 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on June 30, 2022 were up 5 percent from last month and up 9 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 3 percent from last month and down 1 percent from a year ago.


Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot is Appearing in Nebraska Soybean Fields
Dylan Mangel - Extension Plant Pathologist
Kyle Broderick - Extension Educator and Coordinator of the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic

Phytophthora root and stem rot (PRSR) is developing in Nebraska soybean fields that have received rain in recent weeks. The UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic has recently received several samples from south-central and eastern Nebraska counties.

This pathogen often causes pre- or post-emergence damping off during the seedling stage. However, the symptoms we generally see this time of year are infected surviving seedlings that exhibit water-soaked lesions on the stems and roots, and yellowing and wilting of the leaves. The stem rot phase is easily identified by the dark brown color on the exterior surface of the stem and lower branches. Discoloration of the stem extends from below the soil to six inches or more above the soil line. The taproot turns dark brown, and the entire root system may be rotted. Leaves on older infected plants become chlorotic between the veins followed by general wilting and death. These symptoms can, in some cases, look like plants that have been infected by soybean gall midge, without the presence of the orange larvae.

Disease development will be most rapid in low areas of the field that are poorly drained or where compacted soils are present. Disease can also occur in well-drained fields during growing seasons with excessive moisture. The field history of these areas should be noted for future management decisions as the “resting” spores can survive for many years in the soil or crop debris.

The most effective way to manage PRSR is the use of resistant varieties with high tolerance scores. Soybean varieties which contain resistance to specific races the pathogen are listed as containing “Rps” (Resistance to Phytophthora sojae) genes. Partial resistance, also called field resistance or tolerance, may become infected with PRSR but symptoms will be less severe. A combination of good partial resistance and Rps genes is recommended when possible, especially in areas that may contain a diverse population of races.

Seed treatments are also beneficial. In fields where a seed treatment fungicide was used and seedling disease is still developing, it can be the result of the wrong treatment or excessive moisture leading to product failure under extreme conditions. The most common example of a product rate issue is when mefenoxam or metalaxyl is put on at a rate too low for good Phytophthora control.

A correct diagnosis and good field history are key for selecting the correct varieties and seed treatments. More disease identification and management information can be found in Management of Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot of Soybeans" (NebGuide G1785) and in the Soybean Plant Disease section of CropWatch. For more assistance identifying diseases of crop plants, you can submit a sample(s) to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic.

Cattle Market Situation and Outlook

Elliott Dennis, Extension Livestock Economist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

It is no secret that slaughter cow numbers this year have been elevated but it’s the rate they have occurred that has been puzzling. Higher input costs in the form of hay, pasture rent, fuel, etc. partially caused by general economic inflation, low stock-to-use ratios in corn and soybeans, and high crude oil prices have raised the cost of production. Add to that a worsening drought, several years of low feeder cattle prices, and cull cow prices not seen since 2014/15 pulled up by a high cull cutout value and there have certainly been plenty of incentives to sell off cows. The long-term question is where this leaves the calf crop in 2023 and beef production in 2024 and 2025.

The broader economy is getting a feel for what the cattle industry goes through every 10 years or so. As inflation creeps up, the federal reserve can impact it by changing the amount of money in circulation and through interest rates. The federal reserve has already raised interest rates this year by more than 1.5% and more rate hikes are likely coming. But the general effect of these rate hikes this year takes time to work themselves through the general economy to curb inflation. In other words, it takes time for the effects to work. That’s the science/theory. The art is knowing how much to raise rates so as to not cause the economy to completely grind to a halt but raise them enough to curb inflation growth. The cattle cycle works similarly although in a less centralized fashion. Each industry participant individually decides on a culling decision and then collectively we get a reduction in cows and thus future beef production. That’s the science/theory. The art is trying to determine an optimal number of cows to cull to hopefully time market reversals and benefit from price movements seen in 2014/15. That is certainly a tall task.

Looking at the relationship between cow slaughter and prices can tell us something about both the current position and the temporal dynamics. Several academic studies have attempted to model this and currently, there are several working papers to build on these models. I offer here a more descriptive approach to what these magnitudes and movements could be over the next several years. In that, as in all outlooks, there are lots of assumptions. To illustrate the relationship between cull cow prices and cow slaughter, I used the beef cow slaughter in Region 6 and the deflated (2021 = 100) Oklahoma City Boner Cow Price (80-85% lean). Each point in Figure 1 represents the average cull cow price during that year and the average weekly cull cow slaughter. Red dots indicate what prices and slaughter have been in each of the first three quarters of 2022 and the green dot is the average of 2022 YTD. A similar figure could be created for other regions as well which would have their own price dynamics.

There is a clear negative relationship between cull cow prices and cow slaughter – prices are high when the slaughter is low, and vis-versa. On average, cull cow prices have been $98 per cwt. (2021 dollars) and decrease approximately $1.18 per cwt. for every additional 1,000 head slaughtered. The cow slaughter to cow price ratio in 2022 YTD has been similar to 1996 and 2010-2011. These correspond to periods of drought, most noticeable the drought which occurred from 2010-2013. As the drought worsened between 2010-2013, cull cow prices began to rise as there were fewer cull cows on the market. This dynamic continued, peaking in 2014, and ultimately normalizing back to pre-drought prices in 2017. By some accounts, the current drought has been ongoing for approximately 2 years but has most recently been felt in Texas and Oklahoma in the past year.

So, what could we expect for weekly average slaughter and cull cow price if markets follow a similar pattern (magnitude + direction) as the previous drought? The first assumption one needs to make is where we are at in the drought cycle. If we believe it is just starting (i.e. 2022 is equivalent to 2010) then we should see average culling continue to rise into 2023 to approximately 24,000 head weekly at $92 per cwt. Peak prices would be in 2026 at $140 per cwt. What is more probable is that the industry is in either it's last or second to last year (2022 is equivalent to either 2012 or 2013) given the weather forecasts of La Nina softening and heading towards a more neutral pattern at the end of this year. That would put the industry at somewhere in the $100 per cwt. range (2021 dollars) in 2023 or 2024 with an average weekly slaughter of 16,000-18,000 head.

Softening cow cutout values provide some indication that the second scenario is more likely. Nominally, the cow cutout reached all-time highs not seen since 2014 and 2015 in late 2021 and early 2022. However, a key difference between those highs and 2014-2015 has been inflation in retail and food service, especially for beef products. Adjusting cutter cow cutout prices to 2021 levels indicates that prices in 2014-2015 would be equivalent to a cutter cow cutout value of $288 per cwt. today – a far cry from the $254 per cwt. at its peak. Removing all the seasonal price patterns (i.e. seasonally adjusted) further indicates that the cutter cow cutout was climbing from 2020 into 2022. It has since peaked and started to decline. The cow cutout primarily derives its value from lean beef products of which 90% lean has historically made up approximately 70% of the total cow cutout. Add in the other lean products (100% lean inside round, 100% lean flats and eyes, and 100% lean, S.P.B) and lean products have accounted for 87% of cow cutout. So what products are driving the cutout lower? The price decrease is almost entirely contributed to the decline in 100% lean products.

Consumers are clearly apprehensive about the economy and softening domestic beef demand could also be influencing this trend reversal. If that continues it should put downward pressure on cull cow prices causing them to return to a more seasonal price pattern into the Fall of 2022. The last time the industry experienced this atypical cull cow and cutter cow cutout price pattern was in 2014/15. The second half is sure shaping up to be very dynamic. Actively watching the market to find ways to mitigate downward price movements is likely warranted.

Free Farm and Ag Law Clinics Set for August

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers across the state in July. The clinics are one-on-one in-person meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Dates

    Wednesday, Aug. 3 — Fairbury
    Tuesday, Aug. 9 — Norfolk
    Tuesday, Aug. 16 — Scottsbluff
    Tuesday, Aug. 30 — Ogallala

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258. Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska.

EPA Ag Advisor to Provide Biofuel Update at ACE Conference

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) welcomes Rod Snyder, Senior Advisor for Agriculture at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as a keynote speaker during its 35th annual conference taking place August 10-12 at the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the appointment of Rod Snyder as EPA’s Agriculture Advisor in October 2021. Snyder leads outreach and engagement efforts with the agricultural community for EPA, working to advance the Biden-Harris environmental agenda for farmers, biofuel producers and rural communities. Prior to this role, Snyder served as president of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, which is the largest multi-stakeholder initiative working to advance the sustainability of commodity crop farming in the U.S.

“Given the incredibly long list of ethanol industry priorities on EPA’s to-do list, we are honored Rod Snyder will be joining us to address conference attendees on August 12,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “We look forward to his updates on EPA’s work to ensure uninterrupted year-round access for E15, the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard, adopting the GREET model to determine the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels, steps the Agency can take to clear regulatory roadblocks to higher blends of ethanol, and the role farmers and ethanol producers play in helping combat climate change.”

Snyder’s keynote will take place during the August 12 morning general session. More event and agenda details are available at

NPPC Makes Recommendations on APHIS Strategic Plan Framework

The National Pork Producers Council submitted comments on USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s strategic plan framework, the agency’s roadmap for improving programs and services. Among other recommendations, NPPC suggested APHIS:
    Change the government’s grade levels for veterinarians to be more competitive with the private sector and help recent veterinary graduates with student loan debt.
    Include the animal agriculture industry in developing an early warning system to detect emerging and zoonotic diseases.
    Begin the regulatory process of increasing user fees to cover a shortfall in Customs and Border Protection staff needed to conduct inspections for agricultural contraband.
    Increase staff within its Veterinary Services to meet the growing need for negotiating new market access and maintaining existing markets and within its International Services to address sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
    Request additional resources for its Wildlife Services program to meet the growing threat of wildlife diseases.
    Recognize that farm animal welfare is best left to producers and their veterinarians, using the science-based standards of the National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus program.

NPPC commended APHIS for “its foresight in framing future programs and activities around those trends that will drive American agriculture’s long-term productivity.”

NCGA Launches Call-to-Action to Protect Atrazine

The National Corn Growers Association has launched a call-to-action asking advocates to submit comments to EPA in response to the recent announcement that they are revising the registration for atrazine.

On June 30, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they are amending the registration of this well-studied herbicide that allows farmers to do more with less. The new level of concern for atrazine will vastly reduce the herbicide's effectiveness, hindering farmers' ability to utilize this critical tool.

“Corn growers know the value of atrazine, and it is time again that we tell EPA the value of this product to our operations,” said Iowa Farmer and NCGA President Chris Edgington. “In 2016, we came together to submit 10,000 comments to the EPA, and we need that same momentum again.”

Comments can be submitted to EPA here, and advocates are encouraged to include information about how the proposed level of concern would impact their individual operations.

The comment period closes on Tuesday, September 6.

Ending Ukraine’s Grain Blockade Is Welcome but Will Not Solve the Global Food Catastrophe

Mercy Corps Chief Executive Officer Tjada D’Oyen McKenna

“If respected and enacted in good faith, today’s deal to protect Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea will help ease grain shortages, but let’s be clear - this will not end or significantly alter the trajectory of the worsening global food crisis.”

“Unblocking Ukraine’s ports will not reverse the damage war has wreaked on crops, agricultural land and agricultural transit routes in the country; it will not significantly change the price or availability of fuel, fertilizer, and other staple goods that are now beyond the reach of many, particularly in lower-income countries; and it will certainly not help the majority of the 50 million people around the world inching closer to famine stave off starvation.”

“Today’s global food catastrophe goes far beyond the 20 million tons of grain that have been stuck in Ukraine. Spiking fuel prices are driving up the cost of staple goods across nearly every country where we work. In parts of Somalia, where hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of famine, we’ve seen the price of cooking oil, beans, rice, sugar and flour nearly double since the start of the Ukraine conflict, and fertilizer prices have increased by 75%. In Yemen, families are forced to choose who receives a single food ration when they used to receive four. In Northwest Syria, food prices have increased upwards of 67%. From Colombia to Guatemala, farmers we work with can’t get their crops to market because fuel has become too expensive to travel. None of this will be solved by the end of the blockade.”

“The uncertain future of Ukrainian agriculture and grain exports as war grinds on will certainly impact global grain markets and particularly countries in Africa and the Middle East that are heavily dependent on imports from Ukraine. But we must recognize that our global food systems were already failing and record numbers of people were edging toward poverty and hunger due to the economic pummeling of the COVID-19 crisis and the impacts of climate change. A record fourth failed season of rains in the Horn of Africa has decimated food production, robbed people of their economic assets, and pushed 18.4 million people into acute food insecurity.”

“Emergency cash, food, and nutrition assistance are vital in places like Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan where children are dying daily of hunger. Beyond immediate assistance, urgent action must be taken to strengthen agricultural food systems: scale climate-resilient agricultural production and boost support for local agriculture by providing smallholder farmers the information, financial, and regulatory support they need to help their communities and countries reduce reliance on imports.”

Cargill and Continental Grain Complete Acquisition of Sanderson Farms

Cargill and Continental Grain Company today announced the completion of the previously announced acquisition of Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) by a joint venture between Cargill and Continental Grain. The acquisition was announced on August 9, 2021.

Sanderson Farms shareholders are receiving $203.00 per each share of common stock they owned as of immediately prior to the completion of the transaction. As a result of the completion of the transaction, Sanderson Farms’ shares will no longer trade on the NASDAQ beginning July 22, 2022.

As a part of the closing of the transaction, Cargill and Continental Grain have combined Sanderson Farms with Wayne Farms, a subsidiary of Continental Grain, forming a new privately held poultry business. The new business, named Wayne-Sanderson Farms, will be headquartered in Oakwood, GA. As previously announced, Clint Rivers, currently CEO of Wayne Farms, has been appointed CEO of the combined company.

Mr. Rivers said, “I am honored to lead the new Wayne-Sanderson Farms, which brings together a talented team with complementary operations and cultures and a strong commitment to employees, farmers and the communities where we operate. The new company is ideally positioned to continue to serve customers and consumers with high-quality and affordable products.”

Wayne-Sanderson Farms is a best-in-class U.S. poultry company with a high-quality asset base, a strong operating culture, and an industry-leading management team and workforce. Operating chicken processing plants and prepared foods plants across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas, Wayne-Sanderson Farms has state-of-the-art operations and will continue to invest in its stakeholders, workforce and in employee safety.

Joe F. Sanderson, Jr. said, “It has been an incredible privilege to lead the Sanderson Farms team over the last thirty-three years and to continue my family’s legacy by helping to nourish families across the country. I am proud of all we have achieved together, and I am confident that the fairness, honesty and integrity that has been synonymous with the Sanderson Farms name will carry on with Wayne-Sanderson Farms.”  

Tractor Supply Co. Reports Higher Quarterly Sales

Tractor Supply Company reported financial results for its second quarter ended June 25, 2022.  Net Sales Increased 8.4%; Comparable Store Sales Increased 5.5%, while Diluted Earnings per share were up 10.7% to $3.53.

Company Raises Fiscal 2022 Financial Outlook to Reflect Outperformance in the First Half of the Year. Tractor Supply had a strong second quarter that was in line with our expectations with record results on both sales and earnings. Our team's outstanding focus on serving our customers with the products and services they need to live the Out Here lifestyle allowed us to capture broad-based market share during the quarter," said Hal Lawton, Tractor Supply's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Lawton continued, "Given the strong performance in the first half of the year, ongoing consistency of our sales performance, visibility into our cost structure and the quality of our inventory, we are raising our financial outlook for the full year. We believe Tractor Supply is uniquely positioned for growth with a resilient, domestic business model that has stood the test of time, despite our outlook for a highly inflationary and volatile environment.

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