Negotiated cash fed cattle prices ended the week solidly lower, according to reports from the Agricultural Marketing Service. Regionally, live prices were $5-$7 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $93-$95/cwt., $5 less in Kansas at $95, $3-$7 lower in Nebraska at $95 and $1-$4 less in the western Corn Belt at $98. Dressed trade was $3-$7 less at $155-$156 in Nebraska and at $153-$156 in the western Corn Belt.
The five-area average direct fed steer price through Thursday was $96.24/cwt. on a live basis, which was $4.58 lower than the previous week and $14.34 less than the same period a year earlier. The average dressed steer price was $154.78, which was $5.96 less than the prior week and $24.58 less than a year earlier.
Cattle futures softened to end the week, amid the lower cash fed cattle prices, possible month-end and quarter-end positioning, as well as the picture painted by the monthly Livestock Slaughter report (see below).
Except for 52¢ higher in waning spot Jun, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 62¢ lower (5¢ to 97¢ lower).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.08 lower (65¢ lower to $1.75 lower).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.09 lower Friday afternoon at $207.17/cwt. Select was $1.08 lower at $198.85.
USDA estimated total cattle slaughter for the week at 680,000 head, which would be 3.7% more than the previous week and 1.5% more than the same week last year. Total beef production under federal inspection was estimated at 562.3 million lbs., which would be 3.9% more than the previous week and 5.3% more than the same week last year.
Corn futures closed fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 9¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Friday on renewed fears that recent spikes in COVID-19 will further slow nascent economic rebuilding.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 730 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 74 points lower. The NASDAQ closed 259 points lower.
The latest Livestock Slaughter report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provides insight to recent packing disruptions, including a reflection of how increased carcass weights are impacting total beef production. Keep in mind, there were two fewer business days in May this year compared to 2019.
Federally inspected beef production in May of 1.83 billion lbs. was 473.3 million lbs. less than the previous year (-20.6%), but 45.6 million lbs. more than the previous month (+2.6%).
Beef production for January through May of 10.50 billion lbs. was 364.7 million lbs. less than the same period a year earlier (-3.4%).
There were 1.70 million fed steers and heifers harvested in January-May, which was just 45,800 head more (+2.8%) than the previous month and 626,100 head fewer (-26.9%) less than May of last year.
For January through May, the 9.8 million steers and heifers slaughtered was 785,600 head fewer (-7.4%) than the same period a year earlier.
The 3.7 million fed heifers harvested in January through May were 199,100 more (+5.0%) than the same time a year earlier.
The 1.3 million beef cows harvested in January through May were 20,100 head more (+1.6%) than the same time a year earlier.
Federally inspected total red meat production of 3.71 billion lbs. in May was 820.3 million lbs. less than the previous May (-18.1%), and 108.2 million lbs. less than in April (-2.8%).
Total red meat production for January through May of 21.81 billion lbs. was 419.7 million lbs. less than the same period a year earlier (-1.9%).