Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in the Southern Plains through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Elsewhere, it was limited on very light demand. Although too few to trend, there were a few live sales in Nebraska at $107/cwt.
For the week, live sales were steady in the Southern Plains at $108/cwt., $1-$2 lower in Nebraska at $105 and $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $105. Dressed trade was $3 lower at $165.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 88¢ lower at $208.63/cwt. Select was 57¢ higher at $194.27.
Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 659,000 head was 6,000 head fewer than the previous week and 9,000 head fewer than the same week last year.
Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 31.29 million head is 1.08 million fewer (-3.3%) than last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 26.02 billion lbs. is 223.6 million lbs. less (-0.85%) than the same time last year.
Net U.S. beef export sales for the week ending Dec. 10 were up noticeably from the prior week and 15% more than the previous four-week average, according to USDA’s weekly U.S. Export Sales report. Increases were primarily for Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and China.
Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed Friday, as traders awaited the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below), and in the face of rising grain futures prices.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 36¢ higher except for unchanged to an average of 3¢ lower in three contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed from an average of 33¢ lower to an average of 15¢ higher.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ higher through Jly ‘22 and then unchanged to fractionally higher.
Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 18¢ higher through Aug ’21, 7¢ to 9¢ higher through Sep ’22 and then mostly fractionally lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Friday as Congress tried to reach agreement for additional federal stimulus, tied to next year’s government spending bill. A spending bill stopgap was set to expire Saturday, risking government shutdown. Lawmakers wrangled a two-day extension set to expire first thing Monday morning.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 124 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 13 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 9 points.
Markets will likely view Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report as at least neutral, with slightly fewer November placements and slightly more marketings than expected.
Placements in November of 1.91 million head were 187,000 head fewer (-8.9%) than the prior year, compared to average expectations of 8.2% less, according to the Urner Barry Survey shared by the Daily Livestock Report.
In terms of weight, 51.41% went on feed weighing less than 600 lbs., 37.04% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 11.54% weighing 900 lbs. or more.
Marketings in November of 1.78 million head were 31,000 head fewer (-1.7%); pre-report expectations were for a decline of 2.1%.
Total cattle on feed in yards with 1,000 or more capacity, as of Dec. 1, were 12.04 million head, just 5,000 head more (+0.04%) than the previous year. Expectations ahead of the report were for no change.