Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 17, 2021

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 17, 2021

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was limited on light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, live prices are $2 lower in Kansas at $138/cwt. and $4 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $136. Dressed prices are $2 lower in Nebraska at $218.

Last week, live prices were at $140 in Colorado and $138-$140 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices in the western Corn Belt were $218-$220.

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed Thursday with lackluster trade.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 28¢ higher, except for 5¢ lower in Jun.

Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 35¢ lower in five contracts to and average of 31¢ higher.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.71 higher Thursday afternoon at $262.97/cwt. Select was 69¢ higher at $248.14.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ higher, boosted by positive weekly U.S. export sales.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ higher through the front four contracts and then mostly 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday with hard pressure on tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 29 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 41 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 385 points.

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Domestic beef demand is the strongest it has been in three decades. Beef gained about 8% market share over the last two decades and U.S. beef exports through November 2021 were on a record pace in terms of volume and value.

Kevin Good, CattleFax analyst and vice president of industry relations, says this is all a result of listening to the consumer.

Good was speaking to members of the American Hereford Association (AHA), guests and allied industry partners during an educational forum at the organization’s recent Annual Membership Meeting and Conference.

“Think about grade, think about consistency. They are the driving points,” Good said. He explained, “Today, we have a much better product than we had in the past and our customers are rewarding us with more dollars.”

For perspective, 72.7% of all beef cattle graded Choice in 2020 and 10.2% graded Prime, according to USDA’s Estimated National Grading Summary. Just 10 years earlier, 60.1% were Choice and 3.4% were Prime. Through October this year, 72.6% were Choice and 10.1% were Prime.

Whether regarded as the proverbial chicken or egg, Good pointed out carcass quality increased as the industry applied premiums and discounts in order to get what consumers wanted.

“There will be a time when we produce 20-30% prime in the national herd, and it’s not that far away,” Good predicted. “As we think about what our customer is demanding, let’s remember that last year, with COVID, we couldn’t sell Prime through restaurants, it went through retail. Every major retail chain in the U.S. now has a premium product offering. Consumers want it, so we’re going to have to provide it.”

Good also shared price expectations for 2022, as cow numbers and fed cattle supplies decline and more leverage returns to producers. Currently, CattleFax projects calves to average $205/cwt., compared to $170 in 2021; yearlings to average $168, compared to $140 in 2021; fed steers to average $140, compared to $121 in 2021.

2021-12-16T21:18:10-06:00

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