Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in the Southern Plains and Western Corn Belt through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. In Nebraska, trading was mostly inactive with very light demand. Last week, live prices were at $120. Dressed prices in Nebraska and the Western Corn Belt were at $190-$191.
Cattle futures tread water to the downside Monday with pressure from new-crop grain prices and the appearance of an imminent top for wholesale beef values.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 18¢ lower, except for 28¢ and 55¢ higher at either end of the board.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower through the front four contracts and then an average of 68¢ higher (37¢ higher to $1.60 higher in the back contract).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 38¢ lower Monday afternoon at $338.60/cwt. Select was $2.56 lower at $309.17.
Except for nearby contracts, grain futures continued to extend gains Monday.
Corn futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ higher in new-crop contracts, and then mostly 4¢ to 7¢ higher. Spot Jly was down 3¢.
Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 14¢ higher, except for 4¢ to 23¢ lower in the front three contracts.
Major U.S. financial indices fell on Monday, due mostly to concern over inflation risks and speculation about the Fed’s looming decision on interest rates. However, the NASDAQ gained on biotech stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 126 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 3 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 67 points.
“Calmer times may be coming but we are not quite there yet,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. “It will take a few more weeks to work through current fed cattle supplies and get the packing industry below capacity constraints. That will allow fed cattle markets to once again fully reflect market conditions.”
Peel points out domestic and international beef markets are very strong as economies continue to open.
“Feed prices are expected to remain elevated and feeder cattle markets will continue to adjust to both feed market and fed cattle market conditions,” Peel says. “Drought impacts remain uncertain and the short-term and long-term impacts on cattle markets are unknown. If enough herd liquidation is forced by the drought, short-term cattle slaughter and beef production will be higher than expected and beef production prospects beyond 2021 will be reduced.”