Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained undeveloped through Wednesday afternoon, based on USDA reports.
Choice steers brought $1.75-$2.00/cwt. higher at the fat auction in Tama, Iowa. Ch 2-4 steers (152 head) at an average of 1,344 lbs. brought an average of $109.27/cwt. Choice heifers were $2.25-$2.50 higher.
Similarly, slaughter steers sold $3-$4 higher at Sioux Falls Regional in South Dakota; $5-$6 higher for slaughter heifers. Ch 2-3 steers (182 head) weighing an average of 1,440 lbs. brought an average of $108.89.
Incrementally, Cattle futures continued to recover some of last week’s steep losses, helped along by wholesale beef strength, as well as notions that Friday’s Cattle on Feed report should be neutral to slightly bullish (see below).
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ higher (17¢ higher at the back to 95¢ higher).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.09 higher (77¢ to $1.57 higher).
Wholesale beef values were steady on Choice and higher on Select with light to moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 4¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $241.74/cwt. Select was $1.43 higher at $215.70.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, recovering losses from the previous session. Support included loftier quarterly earnings than expected from consumer giants Lowes and Target.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 240 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 23 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 71 points.
Positive forage conditions for longer grazing, as well as the bump higher in grain prices earlier this summer are among reasons market analysts seem to be expecting lower year-over-year July feedlot placements when the monthly Cattle on Feed report comes out Friday.
For instance, analysts at Allendale, Inc. estimate July placements to be 1.6% less than last year. Analysts surveyed by Urner Barry expect, on average, placements to be 0.5% less, according to the Daily Livestock Report.
If either are correct, Allendale analysts point out it would be the third consecutive month of placements below year-earlier levels.
“Concerns over feedlot profitability, and more restrained supplies of replacement feeders are two important reasons,” say Allendale analysts. “July placements supply a portion of the January through April finished cattle supply. Kansas State University estimates fed cattle finishing in that period may run losses averaging $106 per head.”
Helped along by an extra marketing day in July this year, both estimate marketings to be 6.6-6.8% more than a year earlier.
Allendale’s estimate puts marketing in July at 1.997 million head. That would be the most for the month in 11 years, according to analysts there.
Likewise, between both sources, cattle on feed Aug. 1 is estimated to be up 0.5-0.6%, compared to the same time last year.