There was no negotiated cash fed cattle trade summary available from USDA at press time Wednesday, but indications continued to point to higher prices for the week.
For instance, Choice steers and heifers sold $3.50 to $3.75 higher at the fat auction in Tama, Iowa. There were 127 head of Choice 2-4 steers weighing an average of 1,382 lbs. and bringing an average of $104.32/cwt.
Cattle feeders offered 1,474 head in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction—all from the Southern Plains. Of those, 1,400 head sold: 960 head for delivery of 1-9 days at an average weighted price of $99.95/cwt.; 440 head for delivery at 1-17 days for a weighted average price of $100.
Except for 2¢ and 5¢ lower in two contracts, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 34¢ higher.
Except for 15¢ lower in Sep, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 59¢ higher.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 58¢ lower Wednesday morning at $203.66/cwt. Select was 56¢ higher at $191.01.
Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower through Mar ’21 and then mostly 1¢ higher.
The five-area direct weighted monthly average fed steer price in July was $96.57/cwt. on a live basis, which was $7.25 less than in June and $15.63 less than the previous July. The average dressed steer price of $157.69 was $8 less than the previous month and $20.54 less than the prior year.
The average monthly fed heifer price of $96.22 was $9.24 less than in June and $15.88 less than in July of last year. The average heifer price in the beef was $157.32, which was $8.70 less month to month and $20.91 less year over year.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, amid mixed economic news. Support included more promise for another COVID-19 vaccine candidate and ongoing Congressional wrestling for more pandemic aid. Pressure included a more pessimistic labor outlook.
Private sector employment increased by 167,000 jobs from June to July according to the closely watched ADP National Employment Report®. That was significantly less than traders expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 373 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 21 points higher. The NASDAQ closed 57 points higher.
Heading into Labor Day–the last grilling holiday of the summer–David Anderson, Extension livestock economist at Texas A&M University says the recent surge in orders suggests retailers are making a push to feature beef.
“Big beef featuring will be welcome,” Anderson says, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets. “Slowly working off the backlog (fed cattle) and moving more beef into retail is slowly pulling cattle prices higher. The weekly Choice beef cutout hit its low for the year, so far, at $201.24/cwt. for the week ending July 18. Since then, it has clawed back to $202.34. But, as with fed cattle, large beef supplies are keeping the pressure on the wholesale market.”
Although the aforementioned backlog continues, Anderson notes fed cattle slaughter is almost equal to year-ago levels. Specifically, he says fed cattle slaughter for June and July, combined, was 99.9% of a year earlier. He adds that along with increased cow slaughter and heavier carcass weights beef production for the last eight weeks was more than the same time period last year.
“In coming weeks, watch for progress on the fed cattle slaughter front, more featuring for Labor Day and increasing beef exports as prices decline. All of these should act to boost fed cattle prices going into late summer,” Anderson says.