Negotiated cash fed cattle prices were $2 higher in Kansas Thursday at $117/cwt., with moderate trade and demand, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). For the week, some early live sales traded at $118 in Nebraska and the Texas Panhandle, but too few to trend.
Live prices last week were at $115 in the Texas Panhandle, $116 in Nebraska and $115-$117 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was at $185.
Cattle futures were mixed Thursday amid likely profit taking and repositioning.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 50¢ lower, except for 35¢ higher in the back contract.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 66¢ higher, except for unchanged and 17¢ lower in the front two contracts.
Wholesale beef prices continue to climb. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.85 higher Thursday afternoon at $249.97/cwt. Select was $6.57 higher at $244.70.
The average dressed steer weight for the week ending Mar. 21 was 901 lbs. according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection repot. That was 3 lbs. lighter than the previous week but 3 lbs. heavier than the same week last year. The average dressed heifer weight of 836 lbs. was 4 lbs. heavier than the previous week but even with the prior year.
Corn futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ higher in the front five new-crop contracts and then fractionally mixed. The two remaining old-crop contracts close 2¢ to 4¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mixed but mostly 19¢ to 34¢ lower, following the previous session’s limit-up move.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply higher Thursday, buoyed by lower Treasury yield rates and President Biden’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 171 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 46 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 233 points.
COVID-19 case rates among meat and poultry workers continue to be significantly less than the general population, thanks to safety measures implemented by packers and processors since the pandemic began.
For perspective, the most recent data from the North American Meat Institute (the Meat Institute) indicate the current COVID-19 case rate among meat and poultry workers is 2.67 cases per day per 100,000 workers. That’s more than 85% lower than rates in the general population (18.25 cases per day per 100,000 people) and more than 98% lower than the May 2020 peak in the sector of 98.39 cases per day per 100,000 workers.
“Frontline meat and poultry workers were among the first impacted by the pandemic, but comprehensive protections implemented in the sector since spring 2020 work,” says Julie Anna Potts, president and CEO of the Meat Institute.
For example, the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the combination of universal masking and physical barriers reduced cases significantly in 62% of meat facilities studied. An analysis published in the Lancet in June 2020 found that distancing of 3 ft. and use of facemasks each reduce transmission by about 80%, and use of eye protection reduces transmission by about 65%.
“The critical next step is to ensure immediate access to vaccines as this dedicated and diverse workforce continues feeding Americans and keeping our farm economy working,” Potts says.