Following multiple U.S. meatpacking plant closures, livestock producers are quickly reducing herds to limit profit losses. With such a quick drop in demand, many producers have nowhere to sell their ready-for-market hogs or cattle.

Some pork producers have found it most cost-effective to slaughter excess hogs at the farm and let them go unprocessed. Due to the feed needs of slaughter-ready hogs, it may not be economical to continue feeding them.

Most cattle will still be fed and slaughtered for human or pet food consumption as soon as possible. To limit costs, slaughter-weight cattle may be rationed, meaning fed less than they normally would be at their current weight. Also, below-slaughter-weight cattle and hogs are being rationed to prevent quick growth and effectively buy meatpackers time.

Reductions to domestic herds and feed rationing measures may reduce both corn and soy feed demand. As of Apr. 9, USDA projected 2019/20 corn feed demand at 5.675 billion bushels, and domestic disappearance of 2019/20 soybean meal is forecast at 37.1 million short tons.

Monthly cattle on feed, by corn MY

Source USDA
Posted by: Information Services
Our Information Services team assists our clients with understanding commodity and ingredient market dynamics. Using our extensive database of intelligence, we also produce regular commodity and commercial market publications covering supply and demand fundamentals, news alerts on events that shape the markets, and resource guides to give you a complete picture of the industries we monitor.