Negotiated cash fed cattle prices were $1-$3 lower in Nebraska Wednesday at $139-$142/cwt. Dressed prices were $3 lower at $227. That was on slow trade and light demand, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Elsewhere, trade was limited on light demand with too few transactions to trend.
Live sales were $1 lower in the Texas Panhandle on Tuesday at $136.
Last week, live sales were $137 in Kansas and $143.50-$145.00 in the western Corn Belt, where dressed prices were $228-$230.
Despite the softer cash tone, recently firmer wholesale beef values helped Live Cattle close narrowly mixed, from 32¢ lower to 25¢ higher.
However, Choice Boxed beef cutout value was $2.04 lower Wednesday afternoon at $270.53/cwt. Select was $1.48 lower at $242.25/cwt.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 80¢ lower with likely profit taking and retrenching ahead of Friday’s semiannual Cattle report and the monthly Cattle on Feed report.
Favorable weather pressured Corn and Soybean futures Wednesday.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ lower through new-crop contracts and then mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 22¢ to 25¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, maintaining steep gains from the previous session and buoyed by mostly positive quarterly corporate earnings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 47 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 23 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 184 points.
WTI Crude Oil futures on the CME closed mixed through the front six contracts, from 18¢ higher in Dec to $1.96 lower in spot Aug.
More calves headed to market earlier will change the complexion of available supplies in the Southern Plains this fall, as producers respond to drought and dwindling supplies of high-priced feed.
For instance, drought continues to encompass virtually the entire state of Texas — much of it extreme (D3) or exceptional (D4) — according to the July 12 U.S. Drought Monitor. Sale barns across Texas reported higher sale volumes over the last few months, including historically wetter parts of the state, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Mark Welch, AgriLife Extension grain economist says feed-use numbers remain high for all livestock this year, but cattle producers around the state are experiencing below-average hay and grazing capacity.
“The question is how long that can continue before cattle producers work the numbers or run out of grazing and supplemental feed substitutes they can use to efficiently feed grain?” Welch wonders. “Cash prices for feed-grade grain in Texas are still at a premium. We’re still living on supplies, and harvests in southern parts of the state are trickling in, but yields are below average.”
Of course, extreme heat in the Corn Belt has folks concerned about overall U.S. corn production this year.
Welch notes USDA’s recent corn harvest-area adjustment based on the June Acreage report, while holding expected yield steady at 177 bu./acre.
“Further down the road is more uncertain,” Welch says. “We need every bushel and every acre. The umbrella over all the markets is the economic slowdown and what that could do to demand on everything from corn to crude oil and cattle. That is an overarching concern.”
Approximately 56% of the nation’s cattle were in drought areas July 12, according to USDA’s Ag in Drought report.