Cattle Projections 

Form-A-Feed provides monthly cattle feeding projections for various weights and types of cattle.  These projections provide a good estimate of the current cattle feeding climate.  Contact a Form-A-Feed representative for projections specifically tailored to your operation.

Click on the link below to see current projections:

March 2017 FAF Projections.pdf

Commentary Regarding Current Projections by Simon Kern, M.S.:

In spite of lighter carcass weights (-2%), U.S. beef production is up 4.3% year over year driven by an increase in federally inspected slaughter of 6.3%. The Choice beef cutout has gained significant traction and is up 9% over the past four weeks. This has primarily been driven by an increase in the value of middle meats (rib and loin) and ground beef/trim. Foodservice demand has been stronger due to an improving economy, lower unemployment, and higher incomes. Exports have also been strong (driven by Japan and South Korea) as volumes are up 26% over the previous four weeks. The tightened supply in Australia/New Zealand has reduced imports the United States significantly (-16% in February). With exports up and imports down, domestic beef availability has been able to remain steady over 2016 levels in spite of the substantial increase in U.S. beef production. This has allowed fed cattle prices to not only hold serve, but actually gain ground. While corn planting intentions for 2017 look to decrease over 2016, a large crop is still expected and should continue to temper feed costs.


Changes month over month:

  • Expected fed cattle prices have experienced steady gains netting +$2.50-3.50/cwt.
  • Improving fed cattle prices have pushed the demand for feeder cattle and prices have responded in kind (+$7-9/cwt for Holstein feeders, +$7/cwt for beef calves, and +$0.50-1.50 for beef yearlings).
  • Modest reduction in cost of gain (-$1.50/cwt): corn -$0.09/bushel, grass hay -$5/ton, DDGS -$1/ton, MDGS -$3/ton, pelleted soybean hulls +$10/ton (tight supply), corn silage and corn stalks unchanged.
  • Margins have improved for beef feeders to the tune of +$20-50 per head depending on cattle class.
  • Holstein feeder margins have remained strong for most feeder classes. Danger looms for lighter or slower growing calves as summer 2018 prices are at a sharp discount to spring (-$7-9/cwt).


As always, please note the difference in cost of gain ($6-11/cwt) and potential profits ($50-100+/head) between the high and low efficiency projections. Ensuring proper management and animal husbandry can make the world of difference in this regard. Spring has finally arrived and wild temperature swings and added moisture making pen conditions difficult to maintain. It is as important as ever to keep pen and bunk management at the forefront in order to keep cattle healthy and performing.


For more specific projections, please contact your Form-A-Feed representative.