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Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 23, 2024

Cattle futures softened Thursday with likely positioning ahead of Fridays monthly Cattle on Feed report. Many expect the report to indicate a sharp decline in feedlot placement, about 12% less year over year in January, based on average analyst estimates. January marketing are estimated to be about even, while the Feb. 1 on-feed inventory is projected to be up slightly.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 84¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an  average of $1.44 lower, except for an average of 56¢ higher in the front three contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.99 higher Thursday afternoon at $299.79/cwt. Select was $1.35 higher at $285.81/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures continued searching for a bottom Thursday with apparent added pressure from recent producer selling.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ lower through Dec. ’24 and then mostly 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 13¢ lower through Jly ’25. and then mostly 7¢ to 8¢ lower.

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 23, 2024 2024-02-22T18:18:27-06:00

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 23, 2023

Cattle futures softened Thursday with likely positioning ahead of Fridays monthly Cattle on Feed report. Many expect the report to indicate a sharp decline in feedlot placement, about 12% less year over year in January, based on average analyst estimates. January marketing are estimated to be about even, while the Feb. 1 on-feed inventory is projected to be up slightly.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 84¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an  average of $1.44 lower, except for an average of 56¢ higher in the front three contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.99 higher Thursday afternoon at $299.79/cwt. Select was $1.35 higher at $285.81/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures continued searching for a bottom Thursday with apparent added pressure from recent producer selling.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ lower through Dec. ’24 and then mostly 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 13¢ lower through Jly ’25. and then mostly 7¢ to 8¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices roared higher, fueled by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 456 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 105 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 466 points.

CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed 47¢ to 70¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Aggregating everything from cow-calf operations through feedlots, cattle sector returns are expected to be less this year as lower traded volume offsets higher prices, according to Matthew Diersen, Extension risk and business management specialist at South Dakota State University. His statement refers to the latest Agricultural Prices from USDA’s Economic Research Service, published earlier this month.

“At the same time, higher feeder animal expenditures are expected to continue,” Diersen says, in a recent issue of In the Cattle Markets. “Another major cost item, interest expense, is expected to remain high, as steady to potentially lower interest rates are offset by higher loan volumes. At the local level, higher rates have been discussed as they have influenced returns to storage on crops, resulted in higher operating expenses overall, and factored into the value of replacement heifers.”

Diersen points out multi-state grazing fee rates in the same report were higher last year for animal units and cow-calf pairs. “High prices for substitute feedstuffs (corn and hay) for much of 2023 likely placed upward pressure on grazing fees,” he says.

On the other hand, corn and hay prices are projected to be lower year over year in 2024 due to larger expected ending stocks.

A final cost pressure depends on individual perspective, according to Diersen.

“Feeder cattle continue to trade at high levels,” Diersen says. “The CME Feeder Cattle Index is a weighted average price of 700–899-pound steers traded at AMS-reported sales across 12 states. The index is a common benchmark that reached an all-time high of $254.10 on Sept. 20, 2023. The recent index values have been around $243.00, or record level for this time of year.”

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 23, 2023 2024-02-22T18:15:39-06:00

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 22, 2024

Cattle futures continued to crawl mostly higher Wednesday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ higher, except for 42¢ lower in spot Feb.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an  average of 45¢ higher, except for an average of 20¢ lower in two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 43¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $297.80/cwt. Select was $3.36 lower at $284.46/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 18¢ lower.

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 22, 2024 2024-02-21T18:50:02-06:00

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 22, 2024

Cattle futures continued to crawl mostly higher Wednesday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ higher, except for 42¢ lower in spot Feb.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an  average of 45¢ higher, except for an average of 20¢ lower in two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 43¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $297.80/cwt. Select was $3.36 lower at $284.46/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 18¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 48 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 49 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 38¢ to 87¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Although he says forage supplies, calf prices and production costs are the primary determinants of herd expansion, Kenny Burdine, Extension livestock economist the University of Kentucky also notes interest rates also play a role.

“The expansion decision is really a tradeoff,” Burdine says, in the recent issue of Cattle Market Notes Weekly. “A cow-calf producer choosing to expand makes a short-term investment (heifer retention or breeding stock purchase) in hopes of seeing higher profit levels in the future. Any time a short-term / long-term discussion is had, interest rates and inflation are likely to enter the conversation.”

When it comes to interest rates, Burdine explains the obvious impact is the interest cost or opportunity cost associated with buying or retaining more females. Less obvious, he says, is the time value of money.

“Money in the present is always preferred over money in the future and interest rates largely determine how significant that preference is,” Burdine says. “When a producer retains a heifer for replacement purposes, he/she forgoes her value as a calf (present) in order to see increased revenues from the sale of her calves after she enters the herd (future). The preference for money now, from the sale of the weaned heifer, is greater when interest rates are higher. At the same time, the real value of those future calves is lower due to higher interest rates. An economist might say those future returns are ‘more heavily discounted’ in a higher interest rate environment. This combination results in less desire to hold heifers for development purposes, and I think we are seeing some impact from this today.”

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 22, 2024 2024-02-21T18:48:14-06:00

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb., 21, 2024

Cattle futures closed mostly higher Tuesday, supported by positive fundamentals.

Live Cattle futures closed average of 58¢ higher, except for an average of 30¢ lower in the front two contracts.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.22 higher, except for 35¢ higher in spot Mar.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 28¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $297.37/cwt. Select was 42¢ higher at $287.82/cwt.

Apparent short covering helped lift grain futures Tuesday.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 14¢ to 19¢ higher through Dec ’25.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 10¢ higher.

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb., 21, 2024 2024-02-20T18:46:15-06:00

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 21, 2024

Cattle futures closed mostly higher Tuesday, supported by positive fundamentals.

Live Cattle futures closed average of 58¢ higher, except for an average of 30¢ lower in the front two contracts.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.22 higher, except for 35¢ higher in spot Mar.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 28¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $297.37/cwt. Select was 42¢ higher at $287.82/cwt.

Apparent short covering helped lift grain futures Tuesday.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 14¢ to 19¢ higher through Dec ’25.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 10¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 64 points lower.

The S&P 500 closed 30 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 144 points.

CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed $1.01 to $1.42 lower through the front six contracts.

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Plenty of folks will be watching for Friday’s Monthly Cattle on Feed report to see how much placements decline year over year. Although placement are widely anticipated to be less, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says the Feb. 1 on-feed inventory likely will be higher again.

“Feedlots are quite full in many cases and are dealing with muddy conditions and lost performance due to winter weather in December and January,” Peel says in his weekly market comments. “The sluggish pen conditions resulted in sluggish cash fed market conditions with fed prices dropping back about a $1.00/cwt. this past week to $180/cwt. As feedlots clean up pens, on-feed numbers are expected to tighten up in the coming months as the reality of limited feeder supplies becomes apparent.” 

Peel points out estimated feeder supplies were 4.2% less year over year at the beginning of January, the least since 1972. 

So far this year, Peel notes steer and heifer slaughter is 3.3% less year over year and beef cow slaughter 15.7% less. 

“Steer and heifer carcass weights have dropped sharply in recent weeks as a result of earlier winter weather. Current steer carcass weights are close to year-ago levels at 909 pounds, having dropped from highs of 942 pounds in late December,” Peel says. “Although carcass weights dropped slightly on an annual basis in 2023, there is a good chance that carcass weights will increase modestly this year with cheaper cost of gain in feedlots and both cattle feeders and packers having incentives to find pounds of beef wherever they can in the face of decreasing cattle supplies.”

Beef production is projected to decrease roughly 5% year over in 2024, according to Peel. Beef production was 4.7% less year over year in 2023.

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 21, 2024 2024-02-20T18:43:21-06:00

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 20, 2024

Futures and equity markets were closed Monday in observance of President’s Day.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., unevenly steady in Nebraska at $181 and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $180. Dressed delivered prices were unevenly steady in Nebraska at mostly $287 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $285.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live fed steer price last week was 80¢ lower at $180.35. The weighted average dressed delivered fed steer price was 76¢ lower at $286.61.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 89¢ higher Monday afternoon at $297.09/cwt. Select was 74¢ higher at $287.40/cwt

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 20, 2024 2024-02-19T19:30:52-06:00

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 20-2024

Futures and equity markets were closed Monday in observance of President’s Day.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., unevenly steady in Nebraska at $181 and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $180. Dressed delivered prices were unevenly steady in Nebraska at mostly $287 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $285.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live fed steer price last week was 80¢ lower at $180.35. The weighted average dressed delivered fed steer price was 76¢ lower at $286.61.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 89¢ higher Monday afternoon at $297.09/cwt. Select was 74¢ higher at $287.40/cwt.

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Recent release of the 2022 Census of Agriculture indicates further reduction of operations and increasing consolidation over time.

There were 1.9 million farms in 2022. That was 208,916 fewer than in 2012 (-9.9%) and 228,495 fewer than in 2002 (-10.7%). The average farm size in 2022 was 463 acres, which was 29 acres more than in 2012 and 21 acres more than in 2002.

Of the total farms, 622,162 had beef cows, which was 105,744 fewer than in 2012 (-14.5%) and 174,274 fewer than in 2002 (-21.9%). Spun differently, 32.7% of all farms in 2022 had some beef cows, compared to 34.5% in 2012 and 37.4% in 2002.

In terms of herd size, 54.7% of operations had 19 head or fewer (33.6% with 1-9 head), while 14.6% of operations had herd sizes of 200 head or more (2.5% of operations with 1,000 head or more).

There were 880.1 million acres of land in farms in 2022. That was 34.4 million less than in 2012 (-3.8%) and 58.2 million less than in 2002 (-6.2%). Farms consisting of 1,000 or more acres comprised 8.4% of all farms in 2022, compared to 12.3% of farms with 1-9 acres, 29.8% with 10-49 acres and 27.9% with 50-179 acres.

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 20-2024 2024-02-19T19:29:00-06:00

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 19, 2024

Cattle futures rallied higher Friday helped along by recently stronger wholesale beef values.

Live Cattle futures closed average of $1.11 higher (65¢ to $1.95 higher).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.67 higher (50¢ higher at the back to $3.32 higher at the front).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to slow on light demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., steady to $2.50 lower in Nebraska at $180 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $180-$182. Dressed delivered prices were unevenly steady in Nebraska at mostly $287 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $285.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 90¢ higher Friday afternoon at $296.20/cwt. Select was $1.33 lower at $286.66/cwt.

 Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 608,000 head was 14,000 head fewer than the previous week and 17,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Total year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 4.2. million head was 246,000 head fewer (-5.6%). Year-to-date estimated beef production of 3.5 billion pounds was 153.5 million pounds less (-4.2%).

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 8¢ to 11¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 10¢ higher.

Cattle Current Podcast—Feb. 19, 2024 2024-02-17T19:13:20-06:00

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 19, 2024

Cattle futures rallied higher Friday helped along by recently stronger wholesale beef values.

Live Cattle futures closed average of $1.11 higher (65¢ to $1.95 higher).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.67 higher (50¢ higher at the back to $3.32 higher at the front).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to slow on light demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., steady to $2.50 lower in Nebraska at $180 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $180-$182. Dressed delivered prices were unevenly steady in Nebraska at mostly $287 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $285.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 90¢ higher Friday afternoon at $296.20/cwt. Select was $1.33 lower at $286.66/cwt.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 608,000 head was 14,000 head fewer than the previous week and 17,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Total year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 4.2. million head was 246,000 head fewer (-5.6%). Year-to-date estimated beef production of 3.5 billion pounds was 153.5 million pounds less (-4.2%).

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 8¢ to 11¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 10¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower on Friday with another report indicating stubborn inflation.

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.3% in January, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was more than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 145 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 24 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 130 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 54¢ to $1.16 higher through the front six contracts.

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Depending on your abacus, the USDA Agricultural Projections to 2033 released last week are plumb optimistic when it comes to the timing and degree of U.S. beef cow herd growth.

USDA pegs the Jan. 1, 2025 beef cow inventory at 28.82 million head, which would be 600,000 head more than Jan. 1 this year. USDA projects the beef cow herd growing to a peak of 31.68 million head in 2031, which would be 3.5 million head more than where this year began.

“Beef production is projected to increase during much of the forecast period as assumptions of normal weather and improved pastures, coupled with strong cattle prices, sets the stage for herd rebuilding,” according to the report. “Beef production is expected to decline in 2024 reflecting tighter cattle supplies leading into the projection period. However, higher expected cattle prices in 2024 and an expected return to normal pasture conditions will likely incentivize heifer retention, after which modest herd growth is expected through the end of the projection period.”

USDA projects the annual feeder steer price (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) to peak this year at $253.75/cwt. and at $246.34 next year. After that prices are projected to decline to a low of $159.78 in 2030 before increasing again.

USDA forecasts the weighted average annual five-area direct fed steer price at $185.00 this year and $180.60 next year before declining to a low of $128.78 in 2030.

“Corn prices are projected to decline from the elevated levels in 2022/23 and 2023/24, and corn planted acreage is projected to fall from 94.9 million acres in 2023/24 to 91 million acres in 2024/25, according to the report. Prices start at $4.50 per bushel in 2024/25 and then level off at $4.30 per bushel the remainder of the projection period.”

U.S. real GDP growth is projected at an annual average of 1.9% during the projection period from 2024–33.

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 19, 2024 2024-02-17T19:10:45-06:00

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.