News & Media

Market Briefs | March 18, 2021

Livestock, Poultry, and Dairy
In the March Supply/Demand report, USDA lowered their projection for total red meat and poultry production in 2021. Beef production was slightly higher, but offset by lower expected pork, broiler, and turkey production. A slower pace of hog slaughter is expected to offset higher carcass weights and reduce pork production. Broiler production in the first quarter was lowered while estimates for the rest of the year were unchanged. Higher first-quarter feedlot placements resulted in higher production estimates for the rest of the year. First-half beef production was raised on higher non-fed cattle slaughter totals. Forecast egg production was raised on higher table and hatching egg production.

Fed cattle prices were unchanged from last month. Hog price forecasts were raised on current prices and expectations for firm demand. Broiler and turkey price forecasts were raised on current prices and tighter expected supplies. Egg prices were raised on current prices and stronger expected demand.

The 2021 milk production forecast was lowered slightly from last month as higher expected cow inventory was offset by slower growth in milk per cow. The 2021 fat basis import forecast was reduced on lower expected imports of butterfat; fat basis exports are raised as higher shipments of butterfat more than offset lower forecast cheese exports. On a skim-solids basis, the import forecast is unchanged due to offsetting changes in imports of a number of dairy products while the export forecast is lowered, reflecting expectations of lower lactose shipments which are partly offset by higher exports of skim/nonfat milk powder.

The annual cheese price forecast is unchanged from last month as weaker prices in the first part of 2021 were offset by improved demand later in the year. Butter, nonfat dry milk, and whey price forecasts were raised from last month with expected improvements in both domestic and export demand. The higher product prices are reflected in higher Class III and Class IV prices. The 2021 all milk price forecast was raised to $17.75/cwt.

Cotton futures look to have confirmed a top after breaking out of a nearly year-long up-trend. The market is now in a consolidation phase after charting a huge bearish reversal in late February. The top for December is the contract high of 89.28 cents, and support is between 80 and 81 cents. Beneficial rains in west Texas could potentially alleviate some of the drought concerns there and have a negative effect on prices. However, generally high commodity prices are adding support. Weekly export sales provided a boost on Thursday, when USDA reported net sales of 437,700 bales of 20-21 cotton and 143,300 bales for 21-22 delivery.

May rice futures have rallied this week, regaining all of last week’s losses. May futures have support at $12.90, but trade has been volatile, and volume has been light. September is trading just below contract-high levels and are building support at $12.70. Weekly exports were an impressive 112,300 metric tons. Venezuela was the largest cutomer.

Old crop corn futures are being supported by strong export demand, especially from China, while new crop futures are under some pressure from prospects for larger plantings. Weekly exports for last week were 985,000 metric tons for 20-21 and new crop sales were 240,900 metric tons. Next week’s report will be huge as USDA has reported flash sales to China three days in a row totaling nearly 3 million metric tons. Technically, May has resistance at $5.60 and support at $5.30 and prices are consolidating within that 30-cent range. New crop December has resistance at the contract high of $4.85 ¾, but expect weakness to be limited until we have a clearer picture of the size of the 2021 crop.

New crop November soybeans have backed off the contract high, but are now consolidating in a channel between the high of $12.65 ¼ and support at $12.25. Weekly export sales were disappointing at 202,400 metric tons for 20-21 and no new crop sales reported.