Negotiated cash fed cattle prices ended the week generally steady.
The weighted average five-area direct fed steer price through Thursday was $96.32/cwt. on a live basis, which was 35¢ higher than the previous week, but $16.70 less than the same week last year. The average steer price in the beef was $157.58, which was 9¢ less than the previous week and $25.39 less than a year earlier.
Cattle futures meandered higher by Friday’s close, supported by the week’s optimism built by cash feeder prices and thoughts that the low may be in the books for fed cattle prices.
Except for unchanged in spot Aug, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 36¢ higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 38¢ higher.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 33¢ lower Friday afternoon at $200.47/cwt. Select was 99¢ lower at $190.31.
The average dressed steer weight for the week ending July 4 was 896 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was even with the previous week and 35 lbs. heavier than the previous year. The average dressed heifer weight was 826 lbs., on par with the previous week but 34 lbs. heavier than the same week last year.
Estimated total cattle slaughter for the week ending July 18 was 650,000 head, according to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. That would be 7,000 head fewer (-1.07%) than the previous week’s estimate and 5,000 head fewer (-0.76%) than the same week last year. Year to date estimated total cattle slaughter of 17.15 million head is 1.01 million head fewer (-5.56%) than last year.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 4¢ higher through Jly ’21 and then fractionally higher to 3¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Friday. Pressure included the expanding number of coronavirus cases.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 62 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 9 points higher. The NASDAQ closed 23 points higher.
U.S. beef exports are typically viewed in terms of tonnage, dollars and the impact on the U.S. beef industry, specifically. Export benefits run deeper, though.
Since 2015, indirect exports of corn and soybeans through beef and pork exports has been the fastest-growing category of corn and soybean use, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
For perspective, U.S. beef and pork exports last year used 480 million bushels of corn. Corn revenue generated by beef and pork exports totaled $1.8 billion (480 million bushels x average annual price of $3.75/bushel).
U.S. beef and pork exports also used about 3 million tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in 2019 at an annual average price of $137/ton, generating $411.8 million in revenue for ethanol mills’ co-products.
U.S. pork exports last year also used 2.12 million tons of soybean meal, which is the equivalent of 89.2 million bushels of soybeans. Soybean revenue generated by pork exports totaled $751.7 million (89.2 million bushels x average annual price of $8.43/bushel).
Snubbed to a different post, beef and pork exports last year contributed more than 12% of the per-bushel price of corn ($0.46/bushel) of an annual average price of $3.75/bushel.
All of that comes from a recently updated study conducted by World Perspectives, Inc. It helps explain why domestic corn and soybean growers invest a portion of their checkoff dollars in market development efforts conducted by USMEF.
“These are challenging times for everyone in U.S. agriculture, with producers facing difficult choices every day,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “USMEF greatly appreciates the foresight and confidence shown by the corn and soybean sectors when they invest in red meat exports. This study provides a detailed analysis of the value delivered by that investment.”