Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in the Texas Panhandle through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Last week in the Southern Plains, live sales traded at $120. In Nebraska and the Western Corn Belt, trade was slow on moderate demand. Live sales in Nebraska traded steady at $120, dressed at $190-$191. In the Western Corn Belt, a few lives sales traded from $120-$121 and dressed from $190-$193. In Kansas, trading was limited on light demand with a few live sales at $119.
Cattle futures traded mixed Tuesday with Feeder Cattle mainly pressured by higher Corn futures, while Live Cattle edged higher, helped along by early cash direction.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 59¢ lower through the front half of the board and then an average of 30¢ higher, except for $1.15 lower in the back contract.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 36¢ higher, except for 30¢ lower in the back contract.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 1¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $338.61/cwt. Select was $2.99 lower at $306.18
A continued hot and dry forecast in the Midwest and Northern Plains helped push grain markets higher on Tuesday.
Corn futures closed mostly 6¢ to 9¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 6¢ to 17¢ higher, except for 15¢ to 17¢ lower in most ‘23 contracts.
Major U.S. financial indices were little changed Tuesday with some investors likely waiting for Thursday’s inflation reading that comes with the consumer price index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 31 lower. The S&P 500 closed 1 point higher. The NASDAQ up 43 points.
Good, bad or otherwise, the state of cattle markets is drawing more Congressional attention.
Yesterday, Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) introduced the Optimizing the Cattle Market Act of 2021 in the U.S. House. The legislation builds on a growing consensus among cattle producers, industry leaders, and Members of Congress that current market dynamics are unsustainable for the beef supply chain.
If enacted, the bill would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a cattle formula contracts library, and increase the reporting window for “cattle committed” from seven to 14 days. These measures would increase transparency in the industry and improve the opportunity for robust price discovery.
Rep. Hartzler’s legislation also reiterates the need for expedited reauthorization of USDA’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) program. That jibes with one of the recommendations from the coalition of national cattlemen’s organizations that met last month.
The bill would also require USDA, in consultation with the Chief Economist, to establish mandated minimums for regional negotiated cash and negotiated grid live cattle trade. Minimums would be set within two years of passage of the bill, and would invite stakeholder input through a public comment period and the consideration of key, peer-reviewed research from land grant universities.
Mandatory requirements versus voluntary ones remain a difference of opinion between producers and producer groups. In the case of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), for instance, grassroots policy supports voluntary regional minimums, but also provides for pursuing a legislative or regulatory solution determined by membership.
“The growing momentum we’re seeing in the House and Senate behind addressing these critical concerns in the cattle markets is reflective of the urgency producers are feeling across the country,” says Ethan Lane, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs. “Extreme market volatility, unpredictable input costs, a shifting regulatory landscape and natural crises like drought leave cattle farmers and ranchers with a growing list of threats to their continued financial viability. Something needs to give.”
Also on Tuesday, Representative Mike Guest (R-MS) and Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) led a bipartisan group of 52 lawmakers in pushing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to complete its investigation into the meatpacking sector, and whether or not anticompetitive practices have contributed to a persistent imbalance in the cattle markets.