Firmer late-week cash prices and the bounce higher in wholesale beef prices helped push Cattle futures mostly higher on Friday.
Choice Boxed beef cutout value was $8.53 higher Friday afternoon at $262.83/cwt. Select was $6.94 higher at $235.45/cwt.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 26¢ higher (2¢ to 72¢ higher), except for 12¢ lower in Apr. They closed an average of 24¢ lower week to week, except for an average of 30¢ higher in two away contracts.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 48¢ higher (5¢ higher at the back to $1.00 higher in spot Dec, except for unchanged in away Feb. Week to week, they closed from unchanged to an average of 65¢ higher through the front four contracts week to week on Friday (22¢ to $1.37 higher), and then an average of 26¢ lower.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from light on moderate demand to mostly inactive on light to moderate demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
For the week, live prices were steady to $2 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $155/cwt., steady to $1 lower in Kansas at $155 and $1 lower to $1 higher in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt at $155-$157. Dressed prices were $1-$2 higher at $248.
Estimated total weekly cattle slaughter last week was 629,000 head, which was 23,000 head fewer than the previous week and 29,000 head fewer than the same week a year earlier. Year-do-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 32.58 million head was 412,000 head more (+1.3%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 26.93 billion lbs. was 307.7 million lbs. more (+1.1%) than a year earlier.
Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower, but the front six contracts closed an average of 6’5¢ higher week to week on Friday.
On Friday, Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 7¢ higher through Sep ’23 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Friday with extended pressure from investor fears that the Fed’s hawkish stance on interest rates will lead to a recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 281 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 43 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 105 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.34 to $1.82 lower through the front six contracts.
Cow-calf producers’ sensitivity to feeder cattle prices has declined over time (1987-2022), according to a recent factsheet authored by Amber Oerly, a graduate research assistant in agricultural economics at Kansas State University (K-State) and Glynn Tonsor, K-State agricultural economist.
“While price is still an important factor for cow-calf producers when they are making their herd adjustment decisions, other factors may be influencing their decisions more than they did in the past,” say the authors. “For industry analysts, these findings are relevant because when analysts attempt to project future inventory changes, a larger percentage change in price is needed to change inventory than in the past.”
The report — Cow-Calf Level Supply Response: How Has the Industry Responded to Elevated Uncertainty? — points to the declining distance between cattle inventory highs and lows during recent cattle cycles.
“This could occur if cow-calf producers are less sensitive to changes in expected feeder cattle prices (output prices), when making herd adjustment decisions, than they were in the past,” say the authors. “Further, producers may be less likely to invest in herd expansion during times of decreased return on investment and/or increased volatility or uncertainty. Other factors that may reduce the price sensitivity of cow-calf producers are evolving producer and operation demographics; technology and efficiency gains; unexpected weather events; and barriers to entry.”
As well, authors explain increased volatility and uncertainty due to the pandemic and other unexpected events, “…may contribute to reduced price sensitivity of producers when making their herd adjustment decisions.”