Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained undeveloped through Thursday afternoon.
Spot Feeder Cattle futures pressured the entire cattle complex. Factors included stronger grain prices and the continued erosion in cash calf and feeder cattle prices, tied to weather.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 65¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.25 lower (72¢ lower to $2.35 lower in spot Jan).
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ higher through Sep ’20 and then 1¢ to 2¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 13¢ higher through Jan ’20 and then mostly 6¢ to 7¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were firm on moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 57¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $212.50/cwt. Select was 70¢ higher at $207.64.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher again Thursday, reportedly mostly due to disputed news that the White House might ease tariffs on China during current trade negotiations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 162 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 19 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 49 points.
Beef is healthier and more sustainable today than at any point in time, according to a recent study conducted by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and The Beef Checkoff, published in the journal Agricultural Systems.
For instance, the study found that data commonly used to depict beef cattle’s environmental impact in the U.S. is often overestimated. The study, which is the most comprehensive beef lifecycle assessment to date, evaluated greenhouse gas emissions, feed consumption, water use and fossil fuel inputs. In all these areas, beef’s environmental impacts were found to be less than previously reported.
Among the findings:
Beef production, including the production of animal feed, is responsible for only 3.3% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
Per pound of beef carcass weight, cattle only consume 2.6 lbs. of grain, which is similar to pork and poultry.
Corn used to feed beef cattle only represents approximately 9% of harvested corn grain in the U.S., or 8 million acres. By way of contrast, 37.5% of corn acreage in the U.S. is used for producing fuel ethanol.
On average, it takes 308 gallons of water, which is recycled, to produce a pound of boneless beef. In total, water use by beef is only around 5% of U.S. water withdrawals.
“Cattle are natural upcyclers, which means most of what cattle eat can’t be consumed by humans and would otherwise end up in the landfill,” says Sara Place, Ph.D., senior director of sustainable beef production research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “At the end of the day, cattle generate more protein for the human food supply than would exist without them because their unique digestive system allows them to convert human-inedible plants into high-quality protein.”
Moreover, beef continues to become more sustainable in the U.S. thanks to innovation and production efficiencies. In the U.S. today, the same amount of beef is produced with one-third fewer cattle as compared to the mid-1970s, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. If the rest of the world were as efficient as the U.S., global beef production could double while cutting the global cattle herd by 25%.
You can find the report—Environmental Footprints of Beef Cattle Production in the United States—HERE.