May 22nd 2020 NY Beef Industry Update

Amy Barkley, Livestock Specialist
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

May 26, 2020

Livestock Report - May 22, 2020

Michael J. Baker PhD, Cornell Beef Extension Specialist

Feeder prices up compared to last year. Finished steers and cull cow prices continue a positive trend. The beef packing industry is now estimated to be at 70% capacity and slowly inching up. However, given the backlog of cattle, it will be a while before the number of cattle is in line with capacity. Some analysts are wondering if the packing industry will ever be able to get beyond 90% due to the precautionary measures that have been instituted for worker safety.

Cull Cows:

The price of cull cows in NY continues to increase. The price of Lean/Boner cows averaged $56.43/cwt a 3.5% increase over last week, with a high of $73.61. The number of cows coming to the auction showed a dramatic increase to 640 hd for the markets reported. The price of ground beef at retail has increased dramatically, which is in part driving the increase in cull cow price. Anecdotally I have seen ground beef selling at $6.00+/lb in our local supermarkets. It is still important to keep an eye on the market, though seasonally we should be in a constant or slightly increasing price level.

Feeder Cattle:

Since the end of March 550 lb and 750 lb feeder cattle have been on an upward trend. In
the NYS auctions reported this week the average price of 550 lb steers was $138/cwt compared to $132/cwt during the same week in 2019. While the 750 lb steer dropped $2/cwt this week, it was still $7/cwt higher than 2019, though the number at auction was limited. 

Finished Cattle:

Choice and Prime 3-4 jumped $3/cwt to $118/cwt with a high of $121. 

Additional NYS cattle auction prices can be found at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/market-news/feeder-and-replacement-cattle-auctions#NewYork

(Funds to support the NYS Market News program come from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets project "Stocker cattle: Using underutilized grasslands to improve economic viability of the Southern Tier while providing viable careers for beginning farmers.").




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