The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in May, including those for cattle and livestock overall, dropped slightly from a month ago according to USDA’s May 30 Agricultural Prices report. But while cattle prices posted a small month-to-month decline, they remain well above those of a year ago. Feed grain prices also remain much more favorable than those of a year ago.
The preliminary May index for all farm products stands at 114 percent, relative to a 2011 baseline of 100 percent. The index dropped 1 percentage point from April, with the crop index up 1 percent and the livestock index down 1 percent. Compared with a year ago, the May all-products index is up 4 points.
As for prices farmers paid for commodities, the May index stands at 112 percent of its 2011 base. The index is up 1 point from April and 6 points from May 2013. Higher prices for complete feeds, feeder cattle, hay & forages, and potash & phosphate offset lower prices in May for feeder pigs, concentrates, other services and LP gas.
The May average price for finished beef cattle, at $147 per hundredweight, is down $1 from April but $21 per hundredweight above the average from may 2013.
The May hog price, at $83.60 per hundredweight, is down $5.20 from April up $15.00 from a year ago, and the May index for all meat animals, at 129, is down 2.3 percent from last month but 19 percent higher than last May.
The May index for dairy products, at 123, is down 2.4 percent from a month ago but 26 percent higher than May last year. The May all milk price of $24.70 per hundredweight is down 60 cents from last month but up $5.00 from May 2013.
Corn prices during May averaged $4.71 per bushel, according to the report, a price that was unchanged from April but $2.26 below that from May 2013. The May feed grain index, at 79, was down 32 percent from a year ago. The soybean price, at $14.50 per bushel, increased 20 cents from April but is 40 cents below May 2013.
Cattle producers have not seen declines in hay prices though, as continued drought in key production areas keeps demand high. The U.S. average all-hay price for May, at $202 per ton, is up from $191 in April and about equal to the $203 average from May 2013. Drought stricken states in the West and Southwest have the highest hay prices, with the Arizona all-hay price listed at $240 per ton and California and New Mexico seeing prices of $246 and $256 respectively. The national average for alfalfa hay, at $224 per ton in May, was up from $206 in April and $221 in May 2013.
View the full report from USDA.