PORK, BEEF STOCKS SLIGHTLY LESS THAN EXPECTED... USDA's Cold Storage Report showed total pork and beef stocks in frozen storage at the end of November were slightly less than expected. Pork stocks declined slightly more than anticipated last month, while beef stocks increased less than expected.
On Nov. 30, pork stocks in storage totaled 546.333 million lbs., which was nearly 19 million lbs. less than at the end of October and just over 12 million lbs. less than year-ago. Traders expected pork stocks to total 549.2 million pounds.
Beef stocks in storage at the end of last month totaled 445.002 million pounds. That was just over 9 million lbs. less than expected, but up nearly 5 million lbs. from October and around 3.2 million lbs. more than year-ago.
Total poultry stocks on Nov. 30 were 942.167 million lbs., which is around 200 million lbs. less than at the end of October but about 13.6 million lbs. more than year-ago.
ARGENTINE WEATHER DRAWING MORE ATTENTION... The hot, dry weather pattern that recently developed in Argentina must be monitored, though Pro Farmer South American Consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier isn't ready to adjust his soybean or corn crop estimates yet. He reports that 80% of the Argentine soybean crop is planted and what's left is double-crop soybeans and some acres in far northern areas of the country. While he's getting a little concerned with the hot, dry conditions, there's the possibility soybeans could pick up some acres from corn. Therefore, he left his Argentine soybean crop estimate at 56 MMT, and he has a neutral bias going forward.
For corn, Dr. Cordonnier says there are roughly 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres) left to plant in Argentina. He left his Argentine corn crop estimate at 24 MMT, but has a lower bias going forward with weather turning hotter and drier.
BRAZILIAN CROP ESTIMATES UNCHANGED... Dr. Cordonnier says the condition of the soybean crop in Brazil remains "good" to "very good. Though a few pockets of dryness are developing in Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul and Sao Paulo, they aren't concerning enough to lower his bean crop estimate, which remains at 90 MMT. While his crop estimate is "quite high," he says he is "hard pressed to find much that could go wrong" with the crop.
The full-season corn crop in Brazil looks it "will do quite well," according to Dr. Cordonnier. However, the safrinha (second season) corn crop remains an unknown due to weather and acreage. For now, Dr. Cordonnier is leaving his estimate at 68.5 MMT and he has a neutral bias toward the crop.
SMITHFIELD EXECS EXPECT 2% TO 3% DROP IN 2014 PIG NUMBERS... On a conference call today, executives with Smithfield Foods said that vaccinations are having "limited success" in containing the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) that has been impacting baby pigs for the better part of the year. Therefore, Executive Vice President Robert Manly says he expects pig production in the U.S. to decline 2% to 3% in the year ahead.
10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF USDA'S BSE ANNOUNCEMENT... Dec. 23 marks the 10-year anniversary of USDA announcing a presumptive positive case of BSE in a Holstein cow slaughtered in the state of Washington. The impacts on domestic demand were short-lived, but key trading partners quickly moved to ban U.S. beef. The road to recovery was a long one.
In 2003, the U.S. exported 1.274 million metric tons (MMT) of beef valued at more than $3.8 billion. In 2004, beef exports dropped to 321,967 metric tons (MT). It took until 2011 for beef exports to finally inch above 2003 levels in terms of volume. Through the first 10 months of 2013, beef exports are on pace to reach nearly 1.2 MMT, valued in excess of $6 billion. The beef industry once again has a strong export base, which is crucial to supporting prices that will encourage much-needed expansion to recharge the beef herd. To watch a video clip where Digital Managing Editor Julianne Johnston discusses the long road to recovery for the cattle industry, click here.