Drought Monitor Update October 22
Moderate to Extreme drought continues along and west of the Divide with slight increase in dry conditions in Central Montana this week. Dry weather dominated much of the country, favoring summer crop harvesting and winter wheat planting. However, topsoil moisture shortages hampered wheat emergence and establishment in a variety of regions, including portions of the Plains, lower Midwest, and interior Northwest.
Extremely dry conditions persisted in much of Oregon and Washington, hampering winter crop establishment. By October 18, winter wheat emergence was at least 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average pace in Oregon (18% emerged) and Washington (62%).
View the most current Montana conditions from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Montana Weekly Auction Report – Week of October 19
Montana Weekly reports are now released on Mondays. Read more in USDA’s latest Montana Weekly Market Report.
Cattle on Feed Report – October 23
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.2 million head on October 1, 2015. The inventory was 2 percent above October 1, 2014. The inventory included 6.93 million steers and steer calves, up 7 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 68 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.29 million head, down 7 percent from 2014. October 1, 2015 heifers and heifer calves inventory is the lowest percent of total October inventory since the series began in 1996.
Placements in feedlots during September totaled 1.93 million head, 4 percent below 2014. Net placements were 1.87 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 395,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 290,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 416,000 head, and 800 pounds and greater were 830,000 head. Placements are the lowest for September since the series began in 1996.
Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.64 million head, 2 percent below 2014.
View more in this month’s USDA Cattle on Feed Report.
National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary – October 23
Receipts This Week: Total 324,400 – 281,200 (Auctions); 40,100 (Direct); 3,100 (Video/Internet)
Compared to last week: the calf market this period experienced wide price ranges and trends in all reporting regions, lightweight feeders under 500 lbs selling mostly 5.00-15.00 higher and calves over 500 lbs and yearlings trading fully steady to 5.00 higher with instances 10.00 higher. Last week’s sharply higher fed and feeder cattle markets and sharply higher futures caused feeder prices to come out of the gate with compelling buying interest. The fed cattle market has rallied near 20.00 over the last two weeks, after declining over 30.00 since Mid-August. Feedlot managers have reclaimed a considerable leverage and an overall positive attitude. This has also spilled over into the feeder cattle markets the last two weeks.
CME Live Cattle futures are back to trading at Mid-September levels, prior to the big break in the market. It seems what use to take months for markets to move is now taking days and weeks, hopefully this is not going to be the new norm as this market is trying to find its course. Optimism also remains guarded as the cattle markets continue higher. Futures are also finding renewed buying support. Despite higher futures prices and cattle producers continue to struggle to reach breakeven levels. This still could create some long term tension and volatility.
Corn harvest is now 59 percent completed, with soybeans 77 percent completed.
Auction volume included 39% weighing over 600 lbs and 36% heifers.
Weekly Montana Hay Report – October 23
Compared to last week: Alfalfa was steady to weak this week on mostly light movement and light to moderate demand. Producers are finished with 3rd cutting and a few have started on a 4th. Rain this week helped improve pasture and range conditions and allowed producers to leave cows turned out. This has decreased short term demand for hay. Demand for high quality 3rd cutting continues to be very limited, however demand for lower quality 3rd cutting was mostly moderate to good, with movement continuing to be seen on RFV under 185. Grass hay saw light movement and mostly light demand this week. Hay prices in neighboring states continue to be a drag on all hay prices as many feeders are shopping around to find the best deal.
- Supreme: Small Squares, 200.00-225.00
- Premium: Large Squares, 170.00-180.00
- Good: Large Squares, 150.00-170.00
- Fair: Large Squares, 90.00-135.00
- Utility: Large Squares, 100.00
- Alfalfa Mix Premium: Large Squares: 170.00; Good Large Rounds, 125.00-140.00
- Good: Large Squares, 135.00; Large Rounds, 115.00-120.00
- Fair: Large Squares, 80.00-100.00; Large Rounds, 100.00
- Timothy Grass:
- Premium: Small Squares, 180.00-225.00
- Good: Large Rounds, 120.00; Small Squares, 150.00
- Barley Straw:
- Large Squares, 35.00-55.00
- Wheat Straw:
- Large Squares, 25.00 (New crop); 32.00 (Old crop)