Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly $3 lower in Nebraska Thursday at mostly $127/cwt. Dressed trade was mostly $3 lower at mostly $205. Dressed sales were $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at mostly $205-$206.
Pessimism began to build about looming cattle supplies as some funds began to unwind long positions. Technical pressure that began in Cattle futures the previous session found a new gear on Thursday, getting more fuel from limit-down moves in Lean Hog futures, which was tied to the lack of exports to China.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.54 lower, for an average of about $4.50 lower in the last two sessions.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.27 lower, for an average of about $6 lower in the last two sessions.
Wholesale beef values were steady to weak on light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 3¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $232.93/cwt. Select was 53¢ lower at $219.75.
Corn futures closed 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures bounced back and closed 3¢ to 4¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed on Thursday. Despite mostly positive quarterly earnings reports, the main pressure was attributed to significantly lower 3M earnings than expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 134 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 1 point lower. The NASDAQ was up 16 points.
The latest monthly Livestock Slaughter report from USDA provides further overall perspective regarding the weather impact on carcass weights.
Average dressed steer weight in March was 11 lbs. less year over year at 867 lbs. For January-March it was 8 lbs. less at 878 lbs. Average dressed heifer weight was 13 lbs. less year over year at 807 lbs. It was 11 lbs. less for January to March at 817 lbs.
Keeping in mind one less business day in March this year, there were 1.22 million steers harvested under federal inspection in March, which was 105,900 head fewer (-7.9%) than the previous year. There were 42,900 more heifers slaughtered (+5.69%) at 797,300 head. Combined steer and heifer slaughter of 2.02 million head was 63,000 head fewer (-3.03%) than the previous March.
Total cattle slaughter under federal inspection of 2.61 million head in March were 51,100 fewer (-1.92%) than the prior year.
Total commercial beef production in March of 2.12 billion lbs. was 85.8 million lbs. less (-3.89%) year over year.
Total commercial red meat production was 86.8 million lbs. less (-1.92%) at 4.43 billion lbs.