The average five-area direct fed steer price was $3.21 higher on a live basis last week at $112.44/cwt. The average steer price in the beef was $4.98 higher at $177.56.
Monday’s negotiated cash fed cattle trade summary was unavailable from AMS at press time.
Through Friday afternoon, prices were $3-$4 higher on a live basis in the Northern Plains at mostly $113/cwt. Dressed sales in Nebraska were $5 higher at $178.
On Friday, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association reported its members trading cattle at just over $2 more week to week: $112.80 for steers and $112.91 for heifers.
Softer Corn futures early on Monday, along with last week’s stronger cash prices, helped Cattle futures mostly gain.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 76¢ higher, except for an average of 16¢ lower in the front two contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.08 higher (20¢ higher in spot Mar to $2.55 higher toward the back).
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 9¢ to 12¢ higher through Sep ‘22, except for 3¢ to 4¢ lower in the front three contracts.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply higher Monday, likely helped along by new-month positioning, and ahead of more corporate earnings reports this week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 229 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 59 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 332 points.
“Both the inventory of beef replacement heifers, at 18.7% of the beef cow herd, and the number of heifers calving are at a level that does not indicate either herd liquidation or expansion, though the levels could support limited herd expansion in the coming year,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, reflecting on Friday’s semi-annual USDA Cattle report.
Likewise, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets, Matthew Diersen, a risk and business management specialist at South Dakota State University says, “The main takeaways were the stabilization of inventories, the smaller calf crop and fewer cattle outside of feedlots. The inventory levels have increased or consolidated in the Plains states, stretching from North Dakota to Texas, with levels generally lower elsewhere.”
Peel points to the drought-induced 14.5% year-over-year decline in Colorado beef cows and the 16.1% decrease in Colorado beef replacement heifers as perhaps the most notable headline from the Jan. 1 inventory numbers.
For those keeping score, Peel also notes the number of cattle grazing small grains pasture in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas were 7.5% more year over year at 1.73 million head. He adds that the total estimated feeder supply of 7.245 million head in those same states was 1% more.
“In general, U.S. cattle inventories show little direction and are more stable than anything,” Peel says. “Market conditions, and perhaps drought in the coming months will determine the direction of cattle numbers in 2021 and beyond.”