Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand were moderate in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Live prices were $3 higher than last week at $120/cwt.
In Nebraska, trade was light on light to moderate demand. Although too few to trend, there were some live sales at $120-$123. Prices there last week were at $118 on a live basis and at $190 in the beef.
Also too few to trend, early live prices in Colorado were at $120-$123. The last established market was two weeks ago at $116.
Last week, in the western Corn Belt, prices were at $118-$120 on a live basis and at $188-$190 dressed.
Cattle feeders offered 4,422 head in Central Stockyards’ weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction. Of those, 3,277 head sold, all from Texas and Nebraska and all on a live weight basis. Steer prices ranged from $122.00 to $122.75/cwt. in Nebraska and from $120.00 to $120.75 in Texas. Heifer prices ranged from $122.00 to $122.75 in Nebraska and from $120.50 to $121.00 in Texas.
Cattle futures extended gains Wednesday, supported by higher cash fed cattle prices and the continued increase in wholesale beef values.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 49¢ higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.11 higher (90¢ to $1.60 higher).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.54 higher Wednesday afternoon at $266.31/cwt. Select was $3.89 higher at $255.19.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 10¢ lower through the front four contracts, and then mostly fractionally mixed.
Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 16 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 9 points.
Agricultural producers are growing more optimistic, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. It rose 12 points month to month in March to 177, the highest level since October 2020.
“Even with a rebound in crop production in 2021, it looks like carryover supplies of corn and soybeans will remain tight, providing producers confidence that crop prices will remain strong this year,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “A rebound in the U.S. economy this summer, combined with expectations for a smaller pork supply, is also providing some optimism in the livestock sector.”
The Index of Future Expectations increased 16 points in March to 164 after declining four consecutive months. The Index of Current Conditions rose 2 points to 202, tying the record high.
Producers’ perspective about their operations’ financial position continues to improve, as well. The Farm Financial Performance Index was 125 in March, up from the record low of 55 in April of last year. In turn, that optimism appears to be fueling short-term optimism for land values.
The Short-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index rose for the fourth consecutive month, up 3 points to 148. The Long-Term Farmland Value Index, matched its previous high, up 4 points to 157.
Producer optimism about U.S.-China trade continued to decline. In March, 31% of survey respondents expected the trade dispute to be resolved in a way that’s beneficial to U.S. agriculture. That’s down 50 points from early last year.