Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was limited on light demand in Nebraska and in the western Corn Belt through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were a few live sales in Nebraska at $107/cwt. and a few dressed trades at $168, but too few to trend. Last week, live sales there were at $110 and dressed sales were at $172-$174.
In other regions this week:
Southern Plains—$108, which is $2 less than last week.
Western Corn Belt—$104-$105 on a live basis, which is $5 less than last week; $168 in the beef, which is $6 lower.
Cattle futures closed higher Thursday, with more activity, perhaps by bottom picking funds looking ahead to stronger demand once COVID-19 vaccinations take root.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 67¢ higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 58¢ higher.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.67 lower Thursday afternoon at $214.59/cwt. Select was $3.18 lower at $198.47.
The average dressed steer weight the week ending Nov. 28 was 921 lbs., which was 2 lbs. lighter than the previous week but 10 lbs. heavier than the previous year, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight was 850 lbs., which was 3 lbs. heavier than the prior week and 10 lbs. heavier than the prior year.
Net U.S. beef export sales for 2020 of 3,000 metric tons (mt) were 78% less than the previous week and 80% less than the prior four-week average, according to the weekly U.S. Export Sales report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Increases were primarily for Japan, Canada, China, and Indonesia.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower, except for 1¢ to 2¢ higher in the back four contracts.
Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ lower through Sep ’21 and then mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower. That was despite a bullish WASDE report (see below).
Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Thursday. Pressure came from unresolved economic stimulus talks, as well as disappointing labor news.
Initial unemployment insurance claims the week ending Dec. 5 of 853,000 were 137,000 more than the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was more than the trade expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 69 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 4 points lower. The NASDAQ closed 66 points higher.
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) forecast U.S. beef production for this year 15 million lbs. more than in the previous month’s projection at 27.4 billion lbs., based on increased non-fed cattle slaughter more than offsetting lighter expected cattle carcass weights. That’s according to the latest monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).
Beef production for next year was estimated at 27.26 billion lbs., which was 105 million lbs. less than the previous month’s estimate, on lower expected fed and non-fed cattle slaughter in the first half of 2021. If realized, beef production next year would be just 22 million lbs. more than this year.
ERS projected the annual average five-area direct steer price for 2021 $1 higher than the previous month at $115/cwt. That would be $6.54 more than this year’s estimated average of $108.46. For next year, prices are forecast at $113 in the first and second quarters; $114 in the third.
For 2021, projected total red meat and poultry production of 107.33 billion lbs. was reduced 145 million lbs. from the prior month’s forecast, with lower projected beef and poultry production more that offsetting slightly higher pork production. If realized, total red meat and poultry production next year would be 721 million lbs. more (+0.68%) than this year.
Among other WASDE highlights…
Corn—The U.S. corn supply and use outlook for 2020-21 was unchanged from last month. The projected season-average farm price was unchanged at $4.00/bu.
Soybeans—Ending stocks for 2020-21 were projected 175 million bu. less than the previous month, which would be the least since 2013-14.
The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2020-21 was projected 15¢ higher at $10.55 bu. The soybean meal price was projected $15 higher at $370 per short ton. The soybean oil price was forecast 1.5¢ higher at 36¢/lb., with cash prices reaching the highest level in the past six years.
Wheat—Projected 2020-21 ending stocks were reduced 15 million bu. to 862 million, down 16% from last year. The season-average farm price was unchanged at $4.70/bu.