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Wednesday, September 2, 1953

Number 192

Reports from liv9stock markets last week indicate that prices of cows and
grass-fed steers were somewhat weak, while other cattle held relatively steady,
although stocker trade was somewhat uncertain. In Fort Worth, Good and Choice
slaughter steers and yearlings brought $18.00 to $24.oo while Connnon and Medium
grass-fed steers sold from $11.00 to $17.00. Fat cows were reported at $9.50 to
$12.00, a few up to $12.• 50. Canners and cutterS"sold as high as $9.50. Good and
Choice slaughter calves sold generally at $1.4.00 to $17.50 with a few up to $18.oo.
Good and Choice fed spring lambs were marketed in Fort Worth last week
at $17.00 to $21.00, while Choice clipped lambs brought $21.00.
Butcher hogs declined steadily last week, closing $1.00 lower at a top
price of $25.oo. On Monday of this week hogs regained about 50 cents.
The latest weekly USDA meat production report shows that ~ production
under Federal Inspection for the week ended August 22 was estimated at 329 million
pounds, or 11 percent more than in the corresponding week a year ago. These figures
illustrate the current high level of meat production in this country.
In this same week, arrival of the first sizable contingent of grass cattle
at markets this season and continued liberal marketings of fed offerings combined
to produce the largest week1y cattle slaughter since ~ ~ ~ .!!! October 1946
following removal of price controls. Slaughter of calves was the largest for any
week since November 1949.
The Department of Agriculture bought 11.6 million pounds of beef in the
week ended August 24, bringing the total purchased to relieve cattlemen in the
drought-stricken Southwest to 68.2 million pounds. The week's purchase consisted
of hamburger and canned beef.
In looking ahead at probable trends _!.!! livestock prices for the remainder
of this year, USDA economists have predicted that higher grade cattle likely will
continue to show the most price strength, since slaughter supplies are expected to
drop near or to the level of a year ago. Seasonally larger supplies, limited outlets for lower grade beef, and weakening demand from feeders will tend to hold down
prices of lower grade cattle. Hog prices thus far, though declining seasonally,
probably will stay higher than a year ago.
There were numerous purchases of Good French Combing and staple 12-months
wool reported in Texas last week at a minimum of $1.76, clean basis, delivered to
Boston, according to PMA. Eight-months wool sold from $1.65 to $1.70 and fall
Texas wool from $1.50 to $1.55, cle?n basis.
The mohair market in Texas continues relatively quiet. Buyers are
offering 75 cents for adult and $lo00 for kid mohair out of the fall clip, but
few sales are being made.
Auctions reopening the 1953-54 selling season in Australia began on
Mond~ of this week. Some prices were about S percent above those of the previous
sales held in early July.

The Department of Agriculture has reduced selling prices as nmch as 12
percent on some of the lower grades of wool it has in storage. The new price
policy will put many qualities of wool in line with current market quotations.
The CCC has about 100,000,000 pounds of wool acquired under the 1952 price support
Texas turkey growers ~ raising 3.4 million turkeys this year compared
with 3.7 million last year. Although the 1953 crop is 8 percent smaller than a
year ago, it is 15 percent larger than the average for the 5 years 1948-52. Farmers
of the Nation likewise are raising 8 percent less turkeys than in 1952.
Louisiana growers are raising 122,000 turkeys this year, the same as
last year.
An industry advisory committee has told the Secretary of Agriculture that
a Government turkey purchasing trogram will not be needed this year, since the smaller
production is expected to lead o prices equal to or higher than those of last year.
Texas broiler markets are holding relatively steady although over the past
month or so prices have eased downward about 1 cent or 2 cents. Closing prices
last week were mostly 27 cents to 28 cents. Year ago prices were 32 cents to 33
Although weather conditions over the Southwest for the past week or 10
days have been variable they have, for the most part, favored the cotton crop.
The crop is making good progress in most sections, although rainfall has been
excessive in some localities and the cool, damp weather is favoring insect and
worm infestation.
The spot cotton market is holding about steady. Merchants are buying
main]3 for current needs. Producers are holding on to their new cotton; through
August 21, producers in Texas had placed only 30,675 bales under loan.
Domestic mill constimption of cotton dropped off more than usual in July,
averaging 29,600 bales per working day, compared with 37,100 bales per working day
in June.
Provisions of the 1954 wheat allotment and marketing quota program have
been amended to afford better protection for land in the winter wheat wind-erosion
areas of Western states. Producers in these areas who have excess land prepared
for wheat will be pennitted to seed such acreage to wheat for use as green manure,
cover crop, and hay. The acreage must be turned under, pastured off, or cut for
hay or silage while still green.
The August issue of Federal Reserve Bulletin, with an article on "The
Balance Sheet of Agriculture, 1953, 11 reports that declining farm commodity prices
last year were accompanied by a decrease of 2 percent in value of assets of
agriculture in the United States. All the decline occurred in two items :-farm
real estate and livestock on farms - which together fell $6.1 billion. This
decline was partly offset by increases in other assets. Farm debts increased
$1.4 billion, or 10 percento The combined effect of decreased assets and increased
debts, says the Bulletin, was to reduce the equity of owners by $4.7 billion, or
about 3 percent.
The USDA index .2f. ~Bices received ~ farmers declined 1 point during the
month ended August 15. At 2 percent of the 1910-lL average, the index was 13
percent below a year earlier. The index of prices paid by farmers remained unchanged
during the month.


M. Pritchett
Agricultural Economist