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  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: August 2012

    LDPM-218, August 16, 2012

    Drought-motivated increases in cow slaughter and feeder cattle movements have adversely affected all cattle and beef prices and plans to increase the national cow herd.

  • Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat

    LDPM-216-01, June 19, 2012

    ERS evaluates slaughter and processing capacity for local meat production, and the options available to livestock producers selling to local markets. Local demand is still a small share of total demand.

  • Hog Spot Market Prices Not Strongly Associated With Production Contracts

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    A comparison of prices received by independent hog producers in regions of growing contract production with prices in regions of shrinking contract production reveals no strong relationship between contract prevalence and spot market prices.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: December 2011

    LDPM-210, December 15, 2011

    Disproportionally large cow slaughter has kept average dressed weights lower during most of 2011 than if steers had constituted half or more of beef slaughter, as they typically do. Packer margins and high feed and feeder cattle prices are exerting downward pressure on fed cattle prices.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: October 2011

    LDPM-208, October 18, 2011

    Drought-induced cow-herd liquidation has reduced average dressed weights and resulted in relatively more ground products but fewer middle cuts. Wheat pasture could be priced at a premium this winter. Cattle feeding margins remain negative despite higher fed cattle prices.

  • Cattle Sector Production Practices and Regional Price Differences

    LDPM-202-1, April 26, 2011

    This report outlines the tendency for fed cattle from the Southern Plains to typically sell at a premium over cattle from the Northern Central Plains, describing the nuances in regional production and marketing practices that underlie the price relationship referred to as "the North-South spread."

  • Local Food Supply Chains Use Diverse Business Models To Satisfy Demand

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    Local foods are reaching consumers through an expanding array of supply chain arrangements and marketing outlets. They may be sold in supermarkets; small specialty stores or regional chains; restaurants, schools, or hospitals; or a variety of direct-to-consumer outlets.

  • Feed Outlook: April 2009

    FDS-09D01, April 01, 2009

    The byproducts of making ethanol, sweeteners, syrups, and oils used to be considered less valuable than the primary products. But the increased livestock-feed market for such byproducts in the past few years has switched that perception to one of the ethanol industry making grain-based "co-products" that have market value separate from the primary products. Co-products such as dried distiller's grains, corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal, corn oil, solubles, and brewer's grains have become economically viable components, along with traditional ingredients (such as corn, soybean meal, and urea), in feed rations.

  • Slow Price Adjustments Benefit Beef and Pork Producers

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    The slow and asymmetric adjustment of cattle prices to changes in supply-and-demand conditions keeps them about 4 percent higher on average than they would be under complete adjustment. Hog prices average around 1 percent higher.

  • Consolidation in U.S. Meatpacking

    AER-785, March 01, 1999

    Meatpacking consolidated rapidly in the last two decades: slaughter plants became much larger, and concentration increased as smaller firms left the industry. We use establishment-based data from the U.S. Census Bureau to describe consolidation and to identify the roles of scale economies and technological change in driving consolidation. Through the 1970's, larger plants paid higher wages, generating a pecuniary scale diseconomy that largely offset the cost advantages that technological scale economies offered large plants. The larger plants' wage premium disappeared in the 1980's, and technological change created larger and more extensive technological scale economies. As a result, large plants realized growing cost advantages over smaller plants, and production shifted to larger plants.