Cattle futures strengthened Monday with firm to bullish fundamental support.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 84¢ higher.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 96¢ higher.
Corn and Soybean futures wavered to start the week as traders await the WASDE this week.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 7¢ lower.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Live prices last week were $157/cwt. in the Southern Plains and Nebraska and $158-$160 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $252.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.15 higher Monday afternoon at $286.14/cwt. Select was 26¢ higher at $259.60/cwt.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Monday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 112 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 2 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 66 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 86¢ to $1.02 higher through the front six contracts.
Calf and feeder cattle buyers are rolling into the new year with a bang.
Demand was good to very good at auctions last week, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Volume was heavy, as is typically the case during the first week of the year — 262,300 head at auction and 338,700 head when combined with direct and video-internet sales.
Prices so far are generally $15-$20/cwt. higher than the previous year, according to AMS.
As an example, the price of 500-lb. Medium and Large #1 steers at Oklahoma auctions averaged $227.50/cwt. the first week of 2023, up 19.3% year over year, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. The price of 800-lb. steers averaged $180.97/cwt., which was 14.7% more than a year earlier.
“The cattle and beef market momentum at the end of 2022 has carried over into the first week of the new year,” Peel says. “The new year looks to contrast with last year with noticeably tighter cattle numbers, especially at the feedlot level, driven by previous herd liquidation and sharply lower feeder cattle supplies.”
Peel notes Feeder Cattle futures anticipate higher prices and tightening supply fundamentals, given the $26 price increase from the nearby Jan contract of about $182 to the $209 price for Nov.
“Drought remains the biggest issue for many producers aggravated by persistently high feed costs,” Peel says. “The revenue side of cattle production will be less of a concern in 2023, at least as far as cattle prices go. However, managing and maintaining production and managing the rising cost of production will continue to be major challenges for cattle producers this year.”