Cold Drives Cattle Futures Higher
Jan 07, 2014
If you're looking for a silver lining from this ridiculous cold snap, it sent cattle futures to all-time highs yesterday. Cattle traders in Chicago worried the coldest weather in 20 years would cause weight losses in feedyards, further diminishing the available supply of beef. The nearby February Live Cattle futures closed Monday at $136.82, the fourth consecutive day a new high has been posted. Dangerous wind chills and icy roads slowed cattle movement to packers and Monday's slaughter was reduced roughly 15,000 head. The freezing weather was also expected to damage crops such as winter wheat and oranges.
Book ‘em, Dano
A County Council on Hawaii's Big Island is guilty of being hoodwinked by anti-GMO activists. Even after several university scientists testified about the safety of GMOs, the County Council voted in favor of a ban on GMOs--except, of course, the GMOs that were already in use on the island that had saved the local papaya industry from extinction due to virus that was controlled with genetic engineering. That's convenient. But Councilman Greggor Ilagan is no hypocrite. He spent a lot of time studying GMOs in an effort to cast his vote in the best way to serve his constituents. With the GMO bill, he often despaired of assembling the information he needed to definitively decide. Every time he answered one question, it seemed, new ones arose.
Is it Kobe or is it Not?
Kobe beef from Japan has a reputation as one of the finest beef products in the world, and it's really expensive. Unfortunately, when something becomes very expensive it invites people to market products that are similar but not quite the real thing. Two years ago, Terry Olmsted wrote "Food's Biggest Scam: The Great Kobe Beef Lie," which told Forbes readers the truth, that Japanese Kobe beef could not be purchased in the United States. Olmsted is back with some new truths about Kobe beef. A small amount has been shipped to the U.S., but he notes that only 10% of the beef from the 3,900 Kobe animals are offered for export. That means there's not much available here, and it's likely to be really, really expensive.
Brazilian Beef Impact on World Trade
A proposed plan to allow Brazil to ship fresh beef to the U.S. appears unlikely to threaten market prices here. That's because such imports would be subject to quota limits. The impact of Brazilian imports to other countries, however, could have a huge impact on world beef trade dynamics. For instance, if China and Saudi Arabia opened their markets to Brazilian beef, the impact on Australia would be significant since the Aussies moved in to fill the void when Brazilian beef was banned in those countries in 2012 due to a reported case of mad cow disease, or BSE.