Angus — The Business Breed

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Quality Grade Changes

USDA announces changes to the U.S. beef grade standards.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that it is updating the voluntary U.S. Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef. USDA quality grades are used by companies to provide information to purchasers about meat’s tenderness, juiciness and flavor, and are a major factor in determining the value of beef and live cattle.

This update to the standards will provide companies using the USDA grading program with additional options — dentition or age documentation — to establish the maturity of animals and ensure that cattle 30 months old, or less, are included in the youngest maturity group recognized as “beef” (A maturity). Skeletal and muscular evidence will still be used to determine maturity for those animals greater than 30 months of age. Read more.

In The Cattle Markets

The cost of wintering cattle.

As we move into the winter feeding months, cow-calf producers have additional opportunities to impact their bottom line. Winter feeding costs represent the single largest cost to cattlemen, typically representing 55%-80% of total costs for their cow herd. This cost is important to consider when making the decision to cull open or unproductive cows or to feed them through winter while trying to improve body condition score. Additional consideration should be given to feed resources available and market value for cull cows.

Cow-calf producers should consider what their individual feed costs are, along with feed availability. The average cow can eat 2.2% of her body weight in dry matter each day during the feeding period. For producers in the Upper Midwest, where hay prices are averaging $65-$100 per ton and long feeding periods (around 150 days), feed costs can add up quickly. Depending on hay quality, producers may need to add corn or another energy source into the ration along with providing a supplemental mineral. Read more.

Asian Sales Lift the Brand

CAB® is a destination brand at U.S. venues and in 49 other countries.

With the end of 2017 in our sights we’ll soon be reflecting on the year in beef. Undoubtedly, we’ll toast to what has been a pretty decent run with record-large production and very good demand to go with it. Factoring heavily into that success for the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand in our 2017 fiscal year (October to September) was a record year in international markets with a 26.4% sales tonnage increase beyond U.S. borders.

While riddled with politics and barriers unrelated to product acceptance, the CAB brand continues to make inroads and add “brand loyalists” across the globe. Geof Bednar, CAB international director, reports CAB brand products are enjoyed at licensed retailers and restaurants in 49 other countries, with double-digit percentage growth last year in every region. Global trade accounted for 15% of total CAB brand sales for the year compared to total U.S. international beef sales at 10% of whole-muscle cuts. Read more.

October Another Stellar Month
for U.S. Pork, Beef Exports

Total beef exports are up 9% in 2017.

U.S. pork exports remained ahead of last year’s record volume pace, and beef exports are poised to break $7 billion this year for only the second time, according to October export results released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

October pork exports were the largest since May, totaling 211,592 metric tons (mt), up 5% from a year ago, valued at $565.4 million, up 8%. Through the first 10 months of the year, pork exports increased 8% in volume (2.005 million mt) and 10% in value ($5.28 billion) from the same period last year. Read more.

Ginette Gottswiller

The Source

Questions answered about the Association’s recent purchase of Verified Beef.

Questions from producers about the American Angus Association’s recent purchase of Verified Beef and Reputation Feeder Cattle® program have kept the phone ringing. Here are a few of the most common questions and answers. Read more.

What Makes Food News and Information Credible?

New CFI research shows that truth is relative.

When it comes to the credibility of food news and information, truth is relative, according to new research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI). The study identified five consumer segments, how each defines truth, and how food news and information move through culture. It provides the food and agriculture industries insights into which segments are driving food trends and how — and where — to connect with them to earn trust.

“In its first-of-its-kind research, we used an innovative approach called digital ethnography to determine what constitutes ‘truth’ and why certain ideas get fleeting mentions while others turn into meaningful food movements,” said Charlie Arnot, CEO of CFI. “Certain consumer segments are creating food culture by influencing the information that’s shared and embraced.” Read more.

Market Update

CAB beef specialist analyzes markets.

The first full week of December’s fed-cattle market average of $117 per hundredweight (cwt.) was destined to be down from the week prior’s unexpectedly higher $121 per cwt. Weaker live-cattle futures led negative news, as each day saw a lower close on December and February contracts. The consensus has it that these contracts were oversold, and so far this week the slight uptick is marking a point of stability and a momentary end to the downward slide.

The federally inspected harvest last week was much reduced at 633,000 head, while packers remain profitable and are expected to continue a slight slowing of the pace in weekly head counts. That’s in an effort to maintain margin in a market that expects cheaper cattle input costs, but also cheaper beef cutout prices. Read more.

Angus Calendar

To view the Angus Calendar, a comprehensive list of Angus sales, click here.

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