Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was undeveloped through Tuesday afternoon, but there were a few live sales reported in Kansas at $124/cwt., but too few to trend. Country trade there last week was at $126.
That might be one reason for softer Cattle futures, especially Feeder Cattle, although Live Cattle got some early support from another run up in Lean Hog futures.
Other than an average of 9¢ higher in four contracts, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 60¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.20 lower (60¢ to $1.45 lower).
After fractionally mixed in the front four contracts, Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were lower on light to moderate demand and heavy offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.11 lower Tuesday afternoon at $225.73/cwt. Select was 84¢ lower at $218.49.
Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Tuesday, with investors apparently content to take a breather from the recent rally.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 79 points lower. The S&P 500 closed unchanged. The NASDAQ was up 19 points.
Producer sentiment weakened slightly in late winter, according to the March Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, which is based on a survey of 400 U.S. agricultural producers. Month to month, the barometer declined 3 points in March to 133.
“This month’s drop is largely due to producers’ weaker outlook regarding future economic conditions in agriculture and, in some cases, stress regarding their farm’s future financial performance,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.
The Index of Future Expectations dropped 6 points to 139, while the Index of Current Conditions remained relatively unchanged at 120.
To learn more about financial conditions on U.S. farms, Purdue researchers asked producers about their operating debt, both in the January and March surveys this year. Using the need to carry over unpaid operating debt as an indicator of financial stress, results suggest that 5% to as much as 7% of U.S. farms are suffering from some financial stress. However, of the 22% of farms (March survey) that expect to have a larger operating loan in 2019, slightly more than one in five said it was the result of carrying over a previous year’s unpaid operating debt.
When asked about their financial performance expectations for 2019 compared to last year, 59% of producers expect their farm’s performance to be “about the same,” and 21% expect “better,” financial performance; 20% expect their farm’s performance to be “worse than” last year.