3-way cross cattle at Studnicka Cattle Company

Beef from cattle at the Studnicka farm is sold through the Wisconsin Grass-Fed Beef Co-op or direct to consumers.

For the week ending April 15, live cattle closed $1.17 higher, while feeder cattle closed $2.17 higher.

Fed cattle trade occurred in the South at $126, $2 higher than prior week. Trade in the North was mostly $129 to $130 live and $208 dressed, $2 to $3 higher compared to the prior week.

The Fed Cattle Exchange online auction saw 1,578 head offered for sale from yards in Kansas and Oklahoma and Nebraska in 15 lots. One lot from Kansas went unsold after asking $126. However, 12 of 14 lots in Nebraska sold totaling 1,269 head. Eight lots were sold at $127 and four lots were sold at $127.25.

The latest USDA steer carcass weights were steady with the prior week at 865, making them 7 pounds lower than last year.

February beef exports came in down 13.6 million pounds, or 6 percent, versus last year. Year-to-date, exports are 19.5 million pounds or 4.1 percent below 2018.

The Cattle on Feed report reported on feed supplies as of April 1 at 102 percent, slightly above estimates of 101.7 percent. Placements came in at 104.8 percent, above estimates of 103.3 percent. The increased placements are building of supplies of cattle to be marketed in the second half of 2019. This month, feedlots are likely placing large numbers of cattle once again, which will further increase supplies of available cattle in the third and fourth quarters of 2019.

Marketings were down 3.7 percent from last year with one less marketing day compared to March of last year.

Strategy and Outlook: Increasing supplies next fall suggests producers need to be hedging fall and winter contracts with futures and options.

HOGS --------------------------------

Lean hogs closed the week ending April 15 at $1.55 lower.

Weekly export sales, now very closely watched, showed 40,300 metric tons of pork. Of the pork exports, 23,500 metric tons went to China.

Weekly hog weights increased to 286.5 pounds versus 285.7 pounds the prior week and 285.2 pounds a year ago.

Strategy and Outlook: Producers should now be transferring risk after such a massive rally in prices.

CORN ---------------------------------

Corn closed the week ending April 15 two cents lower. Private exporters did not announce any export sales.

U.S. corn exports were solid at 46.5 million bushels, at the top end of market expectations and up from the previous week’s 41.8 million bushels. However, exports were again below last year’s same week exports of 62.1 million bushels.

Overall, corn exports averaged 44.3 million bushels per week over the last handful of weeks, above the roughly 38.6 million per week in which they will need to average through the end of August in order to reach the USDA’s 2.3 billion bushel export projection.

Nationally, U.S. corn planting is 3 percent complete versus 5 percent expected, up from 2 percent the week before, and it is in line with 3 percent last year and 5 percent average.

If a planting delay rally does not emerge, the next best chance for a meaningful rally occurs after the crop is seeded and susceptible to adverse weather.

Strategy and Outlook: Producers should use options to re-own and manage risk. Weather related rallies are selling opportunities.

SOYBEANS -------------------------

For the week ending April 15, soybeans closed 14 cents lower. Private exporters announced sale of 140,000 metric tons to an unknown destination and 105,000 metric tons of meal to Columbia.

Exports were only 16.9 million bushels, at the extreme bottom end of expectations, down from the previous week’s 32.7 million bushels, but in line with last year’s exports of 16.4 million bushels.

More importantly, exports for the week were a 2018-19 marketing year low and significantly below the roughly 32 million bushels per week in which they will need to average through the end of August in order to reach the USDA’s export projection.

The National Oilseed Processors Association crush report saw its members crush 170 million bushels of soybeans in March, slightly above average market expectations of 168 million bushels, but within the overall range of ideas of 155 to 171.4 million bushels.

The March reported crush was slightly below last year’s same-month crush of 171.9 million bushels. The association reported its members produced 2 billion pounds of soybean oil in March compared to 1.807 billion in February and 1.977 billion pounds last year March.

The average soybean oil yield for oilseed association members in March rose to an impressive 11.76 pounds per bushel from 11.69 in February, a high for the 2018-19 marketing year so far and remains substantially better than last year’s 11.51 pounds per bushel in March.

Strategy and Outlook: Producers should use options to re-own and manage risk. Weather related rallies are selling opportunities.

WHEAT--------------------------------

Chicago wheat closed 18 cents lower, Kansas City wheat closed 15 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat 6 cents lower. Exporters did not announce any private sales.

Exports of 18.8 million bushels were in line with market expectations, little-changed from the previous week’s 20.4 million bushels, as well as last year’s same-week exports of 18.6 million bushels. Most importantly, though, wheat exports were again below the roughly 25 million bushels per week in which we estimate they need to average over the final seven weeks of 2018-19 in order to reach the USDA’s export projection.

Winter wheat conditions came in at 60 percent good-to-excellent, substantially above 31 percent last year. Spring wheat planting is now 2 percent complete, well behind the 13 percent average pace.

Sov Econ raised their estimate of Russian wheat crop for 2019-20 to 83.4 million metric tons from 80 million previously. This is up substantially from last year’s 71.7 million and slightly below the record of 85.2 million in 2017-18. They estimated Russia will export 1.8 million metric tons of wheat in April, down slightly from earlier estimates of 1.9 million and substantially lower than last year’s 3.268 million metric tons.

Brian Hoops is president and senior market analyst of Midwest Market Solutions Inc. The home office is in Springfield, Mo., with branch offices in Thief River Falls, Minn.; Verona, N.D.; Yankton, S.D.; Storm Lake, Iowa; and Springfield, Neb.