The five-area direct weighted average steer price last week was $1.53 higher at $106.59/cwt. on a live basis, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. The dressed steer price was $1.37 higher at $169.41.
Cattle futures closed lower on Monday, especially Feeder Cattle, pressured by Friday’s Cattle on Feed (see below and note the correction).
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 64¢ lower (22¢ to $1.15 lower).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.32 lower (62¢ to $2.45 lower).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.53 higher Monday afternoon at $227.47/cwt. Select was $2.26 higher at $211.25.
Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher on Monday. Primary support seemed centered around more optimism about the pandemic, with the number of new COVID-19 cases continuing to decline. As well, the Food and Drug Administration approved use of a new plasma treatment for those hospitalized with the virus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 378 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 34 points higher. The NASDAQ closed 67 points higher.
Correction As many of you likely noticed, yesterday’s Cattle Current carried a review of the July Cattle on Feed report, rather than for the most recent August report. Sorry about that. Here’s the August report.
Placements in feedlots (feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity) during July of 1.89 million head were 188,000 more (+11.03%) than a year earlier, according to the monthly Cattle on Feed report. That was significantly more than pre-report expectations of a 6% increase. In terms of placement weight, 38.83% went on feed weighing less than 699 lbs., 47.17% went on feed weighing 700-899 lbs. and 14.0% weighed more than 900 lbs.
For broader perspective, in his weekly market comments, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, explains, “Placements were down 17.7% year over year in February, March and April. Despite the 11% increase in July, placements are down 7.1% year over year for the last six months.”
Marketings in July of 1.99 million head were 12,000 head fewer than last year (-0.60%), about in line with average analyst estimates ahead of the report.
“Marketings dropped dramatically in April and May (down 25.6% year over year in those two months) and are down 6.0% in the six months from February to July,” according to Peel.
Total cattle on feed Aug. 1 numbered 11.28 million head, which was 172,000 head more (+1.5%) than the same time a year earlier, a little more than expectations and the largest inventory for the month since the data series began in 1996.
“One of the biggest concerns in fed cattle markets is the extent to which the backlog of fed cattle created in April and May still remains,” Peel says. “Although June and July marketings were about equal to one year ago, a significant portion of those marketings were likely fed cattle that were carried over from April and May. Reductions in placements as far back as February have reduced the number of cattle finishing starting as early as June. Not only were total placements down in the February to July period, but more of the reduction was in heavyweight placements, further reducing the number of cattle finishing now. In the last six months, feedlot placements under 700 lbs. have made up a larger percentage of total placements, which further reduces the number of cattle finishing at this time.”
Add it all up and Peel says data and anecdotal indications suggest the backlog of fed cattle is rapidly diminishing and may be nearly cleaned up.
“Going forward, the 1 million head decrease in feedlot placements in February, March and April suggests that front-end feedlot supplies will be relatively tight at least through September,” Peel says.