Cattle futures rallied higher Monday, apparently buoyed by increasing open interest and trader focus on fundamentals.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.60 higher.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 76¢ higher (2¢ to $1.12 higher).
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on very light demand in the western Corn Belt through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Elsewhere, trade was at a standstill.
Last week, FOB live prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $178-$179/cwt., $1-$3 lower in Nebraska at $184-$185 and steady to $3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $292-$295 and from $3 lower to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $292 on a light test.
The five-area direct weighted average steer price last week was $2.29 lower on a live basis at $182.75/cwt. The five-area average steer price in the beef was $1.01 lower at $292.75.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 86¢ lower Monday afternoon at $317.04/cwt. Select was 58¢ lower at $292.09/cwt.
Turning to the grain complex, Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 8¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat closed 10¢ to 16¢ lower through May ‘24 and then 3¢ to 6¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 18¢ higher through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 1¢ to 4¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices extended gains Monday, led by tech stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 213 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 27 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 114 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 1¢ to 27¢ higher through the front six contracts.
Based on August auction data, prices for replacement females are significantly higher year over year, according to the Livestock marketing Information Center (LMIC).
“Bred cows, 1-3 months along that are classified Medium and Large 1-2, sold on a per head basis, have shown significant uptick across many of the USDA AMS reported August auction data,” say LMIC analysts, in the latest Livestock Monitor. “These cows are generally timing spring-born calves in 2024. Generally speaking, replacement costs have moved substantially higher in the South. The Southeast in particular, has seen upward movement to the tune of 40-60% from a year ago. Kentucky, on the other hand, is one of the few states to see replacement values rise only 21% from last August.”
While data was unavailable for many northern-tier states, LMIC analysts note August replacement prices were 24% year over year at Ozarks Regional Stockyards in West Plains MO and 53% higher at Joplin Regional Stockyards in Missouri. Prices at Oklahoma National Stockyards were 57% higher.
“Bred cows further along in the 4-6 months bred category, which will be calving this year, have seen similar increases,” according to LMIC analysts. “Clovis, NM saw prices jump 29% in August from last year; Colorado was up 21%; West Plains, MO was up 36%; Mississippi was up 11%; and Kentucky, was up 28%.”
“Auction data moved exponentially higher back in 2014 and 2015, however, that expansion effort was propelled by record high profits,” LMIC analysts explain. “Producers are already seeing better calf prices in some areas of the country than they did back then, but costs have increased substantially as well. It is a different environment in which this cattle cycle will turn. Profits are likely to not be as good, and interest rates are substantially higher. While these are not expected to limit expansion, it may be a headwind for some producers.”