Negotiated cash fed cattle prices so far this week are mostly $4 higher on a live basis in the Southern Plains at $104/cwt. Live prices are $2.50-$4.00 higher in the western Corn Belt at $106.50-$107.00, where dressed trade is $2-$7 higher at $165-$170. In Nebraska, dressed trade is $2 higher at $165.
Except for the front months, Live Cattle futures edged lower Thursday, while higher corn prices helped pressure Feeder Cattle. The weekly U.S. Export Sales report (week ending Aug. 6) from the Foreign Agricultural Service offered no support. Net beef export sales of 11,600 metric tons for 2020 were down 13% from the previous week and down 46% from the prior four-week average.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 43¢ higher in four contracts (mostly front months) and then an average of 18¢ lower.
Except for 5¢ higher in Apr, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ lower.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.86 higher Thursday afternoon at $210.95/cwt. Select was $1.42 higher at $197.41.
Actual fed cattle slaughter for the week ending Aug. 1 was 515,150 head, which was 10,353 head more than the same week last year, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. Total cattle slaughter of 636,304 head was 3,520 head more. The average steer carcass weight that week was 905 lbs., which was 2 lbs. heavier than the previous week and 33 lbs. heavier than the prior year. The average heifer carcass weight of 828 lbs. was 1 lb. lighter than the prior week, but 23 lbs. heavier than the previous year. Beef production for the week of 530.0 million lbs. was 19.3 million lbs. more than last year.
Corn and Soybean futures bounced sharply higher Thursday, likely helped along by wonderments about crop damage in Iowa from the recent widespread storm, and mostly from the positive weekly export sales.
Net corn export sales of 377,200 metric tons (MT) for 2019-2020 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 18% from the prior four-week average.
Net soybean export sales of 570,100 MT for 2019-2020 were up 65% from the previous week and 96% from the prior four-week average, led by sales to China.
Corn futures closed 7¢ to 11¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 10¢ to 16¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed on Thursday. Positive news included weekly initial jobless claims of 963,000,which was 228,000 less than the previous week and the first time the number was less than 1 million since March.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 80 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 6 points lower. The NASDAQ closed 30 points higher.
USDA’s recent Crop Production report projects lower overall hay production for this year, compared to 2019.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated 16.35 million acres of alfalfa and alfalfa mixes harvested this year, which would be 391,000 fewer acres (-2.3%) than last year. Yield is estimated 5.2% less at 2.73 tons/acre. Production of 51.66 million tons would be 3.2 million tons less (-5.9%) than last year.
NASS estimates 347,000 more acres than last year harvested for all other hay at 36.03 million acres, but projected yield is slightly less than last year at 2.04 tons/acre. Production of other hay is projected at 73.59 million tons, which would be 399,000 tons less than last year (-0.5%).