Negotiated cash fed cattle sold steady in the beef on Friday at $197/cwt. Live sales were steady to mostly $1 lower at $123 in Kansas and Nebraska and at $123.00 to $125.50 in the western Corn Belt. The Texas Cattle Feeders Association reported its members selling steers at $123, which was $1 less than the previous week.
Softer cash trade and pressure in Lean Hog futures helped pressure Cattle futures on Friday.
Other than 70¢ and 37¢ higher in the front two contracts, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 37¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 45¢ lower.
Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 9¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were weak on Choice and steady on Select with light to moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 74¢ lower Friday afternoon at $217.01/cwt. Select was 11¢ lower at $212.02.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday with the announcement that Congress and President Trump reached a resolution to reopen the government, at least temporarily—until Feb. 15—with hopes all sides can come to agreement on a national budget and border security.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 183 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 22 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 91 points.
USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed report was due to be published Friday, but went missing due to the partial government shutdown. Even when government reopens for business, the report may go unpublished.
According to various pre-report estimates, December feedlot placements—feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity—were likely about 2% more year over year.
For instance, David Anderson, Extension livestock economist at Texas A&M University, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets, says “December saw an increase in cattle imports from Mexico and larger calf and feeder sales. Placements in December are typically much lower than in November, as much as 500,000 fewer in some years.”
The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) is more conservative, though, expecting placements to be 0.6% more.
“Feeder cattle imports from Mexico and Canada were about 25,000 head higher year-over-year. Auction receipts showed strong volumes relative to a year ago, both pointing to more placements,” LMIC analysts say in the latest Livestock Monitor. “The headwind to placements has been extremely muddy conditions in feedlots, especially in Kansas and Nebraska.
All of the sources mentioned here expect December marketings to be about on par with the previous year.
“Actual weekly slaughter has not been released since Dec. 8, so this estimate relies on estimated daily slaughter,” LMIC analysts explain. “While the estimated slaughter data is better than no data, there is a large difference in precision. Estimated daily slaughter for steers and heifers are rounded to the nearest 1,000 head, while actual slaughter is down to the number of head. Over the course of an entire month, estimated versus actual can vary.”
For Anderson, and the majority of analysts in the Urner Barry Survey—reported by the Daily Livestock Report—that leaves estimated inventory of cattle on feed Jan. 1 about 2% higher than a year earlier.
“That represents a relatively large number of cattle on feed, as have the last several reports,” Anderson says. “It also continues to represent a narrowing of the growth in on-feed numbers compared to months earlier in the year.”