Negotiated cash fed cattle prices sank in the North on Thursday.
In Nebraska, dressed sales were at $165-$172/cwt., which was $6-$10 lower than the bulk of last week’s light test. Early live sales for the week are at $106, which is $1-$2 lower.
Dressed sales in the western Corn Belt were at $171, which was $3-$7 lower than last week. For the week so far, live sales are at $109, which is $1 less than last week.
Surging Lean Hog futures—perhaps tied in part, to hopeful rhetoric surrounding trade talks with China—helped lift Cattle futures Thursday, although they closed off of session highs.
Except for 20¢ lower in the back contract, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 31¢ higher.
Other than unchanged in expiring Aug and 2¢ lower in March, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 22¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and higher on Select with light to moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 77¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $232.19/cwt. Select was 97¢ higher at $212.78.
After 3¢ lower in spot Sep, Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply higher Thursday, with renewed optimism surrounding trade talks between the U.S. and China. That was based on reports suggesting China would prefer to avoid escalating trade tensions.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 326 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 36 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 116 points.
“While the impacts of the Tyson plant fire will likely diminish relatively quickly in the next few weeks, feeder cattle markets are still nervous and defensive about the corn market situation, increasingly shaky macroeconomic conditions and continued global economic turmoil,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. “Expectations about the 2019 corn crop vary widely, as do the emotions about the crop situation. The latest private crop tour estimates suggest a significantly lower corn yield than current USDA estimates and acres harvested remains an unknown. One thing that seems clear is that much of the corn crop is sharply delayed in maturity. The risk associated with an early or even normal frost in the Corn Belt is high.”
Peel made those comments relative to running several winter stocker budgets, which yielded a wide range of results from decent profit to little or no return.
“The uncertainty and volatility impacting feeder cattle markets is likely to continue this fall and winter. This increases the risks of winter stocker production but may also present short term opportunities for either buying or selling cattle or both,” Peel says. “The best advice at this point is to evaluate and reevaluate possibilities frequently and remain as nimble as possible both offensively and defensively.”