Negotiated cash fed cattle prices continued higher in Kansas and Nebraska on slow trade and light demand through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. So far this week, live prices are $2-$3 higher in the Southern Plains at $122/cwt. and $4 higher in Nebraska at $124. Dressed prices in Nebraska are $4-$5 higher at $195.
Last week, prices in the western Corn Belt were $120-$121 on a live basis and $190-$191 in the beef.
Cattle feeders offered 6,049 head in Central Stockyards’ weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction. Of those, 1,006 sold — all from the Southern Plains and all on a live weight basis. Steers brought a weighted average price of $121.65/cwt. and heifers brought an average of $121.22.
Cattle futures mostly gained again Wednesday, supported by the recent break in grain futures, as well as higher cash prices. That came in the face of limit-down moves in front-month Lean Hog futures.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 87¢ higher (17¢ to $2.30 higher), except for an average of 25¢ lower in the back two contracts.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 72¢ higher (12¢ to $1.35 higher).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.26 lower Wednesday afternoon at $329.17/cwt. Select was $8.32 lower at $289.96. The Choice/Select spread was $39.21/cwt.
Positive weather kept pressure on Corn futures Wednesday.
Corn futures closed 1¢ to 7¢ lower, except for 5¢ higher in spot Jly.
Soybean futures closed mostly 18¢ to 30¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday, pressured by information from the Federal Reserve, indicating inflation was running higher than previously expected and interest rates may increase sooner than expected. In this case, sooner means 2023 versus 2024.
In the meantime, according to the FOMC statement, the committee expects to maintain its current accommodative monetary policy until inflation averages 2% over time and longer‑term inflation expectations remain “well anchored” at 2%.
In prepared remarks, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said, “Inflation has increased notably in recent months. The 12-month change in Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) prices was 3.6% in April and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating.” The committee increased PCE expectations for this year by 1% from its previous estimate to 3.4%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 265 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 22 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 33 points.
Although total cattle slaughter in May was more than last year’s pandemic-ravaged pace, it was 1% less than in 2019, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). Cow slaughter, though, was 6% more than last year and 7% more than in 2019.
“While there have been improvements in drought conditions in some regions since last month, pasture and range conditions in areas like the Northwest and North Dakota remain very poor compared to last year,” say ERS analysts, in the latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.
ERS increased expected cow slaughter for the second and third quarters this year, but analysts say projected total cattle slaughter remained static based on less fed cattle slaughter in the second quarter, and reduced expectation for fourth-quarter cow slaughter. Expected annual beef production this year is 5 million lbs. more than the previous month at 27.905 billion lbs.
In the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, ERS forecast the annual average five-area direct fed steer price at $117/cwt. Average prices are projected at $120 in the second quarter, $115 in the third quarter and $120 in the fourth quarter. Next year’s forecast annual average price is $121.50.
ERS projects the annual average feeder steer price (basis Oklahoma City) this year at $139.33/cwt. Average prices are forecast at $139 in the second quarter, $141 in the third quarter and $143 in the fourth quarter. ERS pegs the average annual price for next year at $144.25.