Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was limited on light demand in Nebraska through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were a few live trades at $114/cwt., and a few in the beef at $182, but too few to trend.
There were also a few dressed trades in the western Corn Belt at $182, but too few to trend.
Last week, live sales were at $114 in the Southern Plains and Nebraska; $114-$115 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was at $180-$182.
Cattle feeders offered 790 head (6 lots) in Central Stockyards’ special Fed Cattle Exchange auction Thursday, all from the Southern Plains. None sold. Reserve prices were $115-$116 and bids were $114.25 to $114.50.
Cattle futures closed mixed Thursday. Weaker Corn futures, tied to lower export sales and profit taking, helped Feeder Cattle.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 35¢ higher.
Sharply lower outside markets, the continued lack of cash direction and weaker export sales helped to mostly pressure Live Cattle.
Net U.S. beef export sales of 8,500 metric tons for 2021 were 63% less than the previous week and 66% less than the prior four-week average, according to the U.S. Export Sales report for the week ending Feb. 18. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and Taiwan.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower, except for an average of 17¢ higher in three contracts.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 36¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $240.39/cwt. Select was $1.00 lower at $228.79.
The average dressed steer weight the week ending Feb. 13 was 919 lbs., the same as a week earlier, but 14 lbs. heavier than the previous year, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight of 850 lbs. was 2 lbs. heavier than the prior week and 17 lbs. heavier than the previous year. Fed cattle slaughter of 468,241 head was 40,812 head less than the previous week; 20,542 head less than the prior year.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 7¢ lower through Sep ‘21, and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 5¢ to 18¢ lower through Jan ‘22, and then mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Thursday with investors apparently rattled by a surge in Treasury bond yield rates. That came in the face of a more positive unemployment report than the trade expected.
Weekly initial unemployment insurance claims were 730,000 the week ending Feb. 20, down 111,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 559 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 96 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 478 points.
Beef byproduct values continue to gain after sinking to a pandemic low of $6.57/cwt. the latter part of last April. Prices mostly gradually increased since then to $9.78 by Feb. 24; about 7% more than a year earlier.
“Beef and beef byproducts are typically produced in nearly fixed proportions; however, when packers experienced line disruption in 2020, many plants changed fabrication methods to keep more whole muscles/primals intact and keep less offal to maximize line speed,” explains Brenda Boetel, livestock economist at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets. “The decrease in beef and offal provided less opportunities for exports and byproduct values decreased…When these edible offal products are not exported, they will often go into rendering or into pet food and ultimately decrease the overall value of the finished steer.”
Total offal value plus hides accounted for 20.7% of U.S. beef export value in 2020, down from 22% in 2019, according to Boetel.
For perspective, basis a steer at 1,400 lbs., byproduct value increased $44.94 per head to $136.92 at the end of February, compared to the pandemic low.
“With the continued recovery from COVID disruptions, byproduct production has mostly returned to pre-COVID levels. Given the relatively fixed pounds of byproducts per 1,400 lb. steer, the byproduct drop value contributions have been increasing due primarily to changes in demand,” Boetel says.