Pricing Resources & Reports
The market cycles of our different agricultural sectors are driven by many factors. These cycles are a function of excess supply and excess demand, where markets are assumed to be constantly seeking a state where supply and demand are equal, or market equilibrium. Low prices are caused by excess supply, where too much milk, steers or lambs have come on the market versus the original projections. As these conditions come to light through lower prices, creameries and retail outlets should begin to purchase more, which increases prices. However, as supply rises, some farmers will reduce their herds and output as a reaction to rising costs and other factors of having too large a supply for the market. As this happens with increasing demand, prices rise and may rise too far. When this happens, there will be a drop in price again, and the cycle continues.
There are three primary components to the market cycles that impact commodity pricing: trend, seasonality and random factors or shocks. An example of trend is general inflation, which is rising over the long-term and affects all markets based on time. Seasonality is an issue that occurs because of the time of the year. For example, milk prices face some seasonal volatility, but beef and sheep prices face more pronounced seasonality due to gestation cycles and timing of sales. Imports have made the seasons less of an issue for retail markets, but do not solve domestic seasonality issues. Shocks are considered to be random or out of control of those that participate in the market. A shock can be a new government regulation, subsidy, or new import or export markets. It can also be inclement weather, disease or a crop that was unexpectedly large. Forecasting prices for agricultural commodities requires accounting for all these components.
Below are some resources for tracking prices and other market changes to help with your own forecasting:
- USDA Economic Research Service – Cattle & Beef Reports
- USDA Ag Marketing Service – Daily Beef Reports
- California Department of Food & Ag - Dairy Marketing Reports & Statistics
- USDA Economic Research Service – Dairy Marketplace Research and Reports
- USDA Ag Marketing Service – Dairy Market Statistics
- USDA Ag Marketing Service – Sheep Market Reports
- USDA Economic Research Service – Sheep, Lamb & Mutton Reports
- American Sheep Industry Association – Weekly Market Report
- National Ag Statistic Service – Sheep & Goats Reports
Specialty Crops (Vegetable, Fruit, etc.)
- USDA Ag Marketing Service – Specialty Crop Reports including Terminal Market Pricing
- USDA Economic Research Service – Specialty Crop & Pulse Publications