Negotiated cash fed cattle trade got underway in the Southern Plains on Wednesday at $126/cwt. on a live basis, which was $2 higher than the previous week.
Out of the 1,578 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction, 1,269 head sold—all from Nebraska—for a weighted average price of $127.08/cwt.; all for delivery at 1-17 days.
Choice 2-3 steers brought $126-$128/cwt. at Sioux Falls Regional in South Dakota.
Cattle futures closed mixed but mostly higher Wednesday as traders positioned for the holiday-shortened trading week.
Except for 22¢ and 7¢ lower in the front two contracts, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 46¢ higher.
Other than an average of 47¢ lower in the front two contracts and 5¢ lower at the back, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 58¢ higher. Popular estimates suggest tomorrow’s monthly Cattle on Feed report to show March placement about 4% more than a year earlier.
Corn futures closed fractionally lower.
Soybean futures closed 6¢ to 9¢ lower as global production and stocks continue to weigh on prices.
Wholesale beef values were higher on Choice and steady on Select with moderate to fairly good demand and moderate to heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 71¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $232.76/cwt. Select was 99¢ lower at $220.16.
Major U.S. financial indices wobbled on Wednesday. Despite strong quarterly earnings reports, traders reportedly fretted over the political uncertainly surrounding health care companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 3 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 6 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 4 points.
Life continues to be tougher for agricultural producers in the middle, according to the recently released 2017 Census of Agriculture from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
For instance, the total number of farms declined between 2012 and 2017, from 2.11 million to 2.04 million.
There were 77,000 farms with sales of $1 million or more, which was 2,000 fewer than in 2012, but 1,000 more farms with sales of $5 million or more.
There were 792,000 farms with sales of less than $2,500, which were 4,000 more (+0.51%) more than 2012.
In between, were farms with sales of $2,500 to $999,999, which totaled 1.17 million. That was 69,000 fewer (-5.56%) than 2012. There were 39,000 fewer farms (-4.85%) with sales of $2,500 to $4,999 and 30,000 fewer farms (-6.85%) with sales of $50,000 to $999,999.
Farms with sales of $5 million or more accounted for fewer than 1% of all farms but 35% of all sales. On the other end of the scale, farms with sales of $50,000 or less accounted for 76% of the farms and 3% of the sales.