Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service, with too few transactions to trend.
Prices last week were steady on a live basis at $114/cwt. in Kansas, steady to $1 higher in Nebraska at $114, $1-$2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $114-$115. Prices were a touch higher than steady in the Texas Panhandle, with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association reporting $114.24 for steers and $114.30 for heifers. Dressed trade was $2 higher in Nebraska and $2-$4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $182.
Cattle futures closed mostly lower Friday with follow-through selling and higher Corn futures prices. That was despite what appears to be fundamental market improvement stemming from higher wholesale beef values and the likelihood for cash fed cattle prices to begin moving higher.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.38 higher Friday afternoon at $229.99/cwt. Select was $1.84 higher at $219.95.
Estimated total cattle slaughter of 624,000 head for the week ending March 20 were 23,000 head fewer (-0.35%) than the previous week and 36,000 head fewer (-5.45%) than the same week a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 7.1 million head is 244,000 fewer (-3.3%) than the same period a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated total beef production of 5.97 billion lbs. is 110.2 million lbs. less (-1.81%).
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 75¢ lower (17¢ to $1.25 lower), except for 12¢ higher in the back contract.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.06 lower (62¢ to $2.00 lower).
Corn futures closed 2¢ to 3¢ higher, except for 11¢ and 8¢ higher in the front two contracts.
Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 24¢ higher through Jan ‘22, and then mostly 5¢ to 6¢ higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed sharply lower Friday, driven by bank stocks. The popular explanation was the Federal Reserve’s decision to allow a rule to elapse at the end of the month, which allowed banks to hold less capital relative to Treasury notes and other holdings. The fear, in part and supposedly, is that making banks set aside more capital could make them less willing lenders.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 234 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 2 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 99 points.
Cattle feeders placed 1.68 million head in February, according to the monthly Cattle on Feed report from USDA—for feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity. That was 1.86% less than a year earlier and close to average expectations ahead of the report for a decline of 1.7%.
In terms of weight, 37.4% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less. 51,89% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 10.69% weighing 900 lbs. or more.
Marketings in February of 1.73 million head were 43,000 head fewer (-2.42%) year over year. Expectations ahead of the report were for a decline of 2.6%.
Cattle on feed March 1 of 12.0 million head were 189,000 head more (+1.60%), the second highest inventory for the month since the data series began in 1996. Average pre-report expectations were for an increase of 1.5%.