Although too few transactions to trend, there were some live negotiated cash fed cattle sales in Nebraska on Tuesday at $110/cwt. on a live basis and at $170-$175 in the beef. That was $5 higher than Monday on a live basis and steady with last week’s trade. Dressed sales were steady to $5 higher than on Monday; dressed sales last week were at mostly $175.
Elsewhere, established trends so far this week occurred on Monday, with live sales in the Texas Panhandle steady to $5 lower than last week at $105-$110 and $10 lower in Kansas at $100.
But, Cattle futures rallied Tuesday, finally. Whether a technical gasp or a step toward a turning point, harsh volatility will likely continue. Support included brighter cash prospects, soaring wholesale beef values and the bounce in equity markets, following the steep losses in the previous session.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.44 higher, from $1.77 higher at the back to $4.50 higher in the front three contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.37 higher.
Wholesale beef values rocketed higher again Tuesday, with good demand and heavy offerings.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $15.77 higher Tuesday afternoon at $239.93/cwt. Select was $12.61 higher at $229.32. Over the last two days, Choice increased $31.99 and Select was up $27.34.
Corn futures closed 6¢ to 10¢ lower in the front three contracts and then mostly 2¢ to 3¢ lower.
Other than fractionally higher to 2¢ higher in the front three contracts, Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ lower.
At least for a day, major U.S. financial indices closed higher, recovering a portion of the previous day’s washout, as the Federal government pledged more financial support to citizens and businesses, in the wake of coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,048 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 143 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 430 points.
Response to COVID-19 continues to force everyone in the cattle and beef business to ponder potential impacts on how they operate.
For instance, according to the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) Tuesday, “With respect to public attendance at livestock auction markets, LMA is aware that many states and areas are enforcing varied crowd size limits and have mandated restrictions on operation of cafés or other food services. LMA is working with markets on a case-by-case basis to evaluate all parameters and impacts on their sales and strongly suggests markets develop contingency plans accordingly.”
Strategies LMA provided auction market members include:
- Familiarize yourself with and follow rapidly changing local and state rules regarding assembly of crowds.
- Work with café operators to follow location-specific guidance, which may include closure or offering to-go service only.
- If you are in a situation where you need to limit crowd size, then request that consignors deliver livestock and return home rather than remaining at the facility.
- Offer consignors flexibility in picking up their checks, such as delivery or pickup from their vehicle in the parking lot.
- Instruct any employee or visitor exhibiting symptoms of illness to remain home and request that any employee or visitor who is a member of a population of heightened vulnerability to consider avoiding areas where people are gathering.
- Evaluate all options to utilize web broadcast or phone bidding.
As for USDA services, according to a statement Tuesday from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Agricultural Marketing Service:
“In this time of much uncertainty, we know that many of you have questions about how the department will continue to ensure that grading and inspection personnel are available. We have all seen how consumers have reacted to the evolving coronavirus situation and how important access to food is to a sense of safety and wellbeing. It is more important than ever that we assure the American public that government and industry will take all steps necessary to ensure continued access to safe and wholesome USDA-inspected products.
“These agencies are prepared to utilize their authority and all administrative means and flexibilities to address staffing considerations. Field personnel will be working closely with establishment management and state and local health authorities to handle situations as they arise in your community. As always, communication between industry and government will be key. We are all relying on early and frequent communication with one another to overcome challenges as they arise.”