Daily Market Highlights 2017-06-02T12:08:41-06:00

Daily Market Highlights

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Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 23, 2023

Cattle futures softened Thursday with likely positioning ahead of Fridays monthly Cattle on Feed report. Many expect the report to indicate a sharp decline in feedlot placement, about 12% less year over year in January, based on average analyst estimates. January marketing are estimated to be about even, while the Feb. 1 on-feed inventory is projected to be up slightly.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 84¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an  average of $1.44 lower, except for an average of 56¢ higher in the front three contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.99 higher Thursday afternoon at $299.79/cwt. Select was $1.35 higher at $285.81/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures continued searching for a bottom Thursday with apparent added pressure from recent producer selling.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ lower through Dec. ’24 and then mostly 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 13¢ lower through Jly ’25. and then mostly 7¢ to 8¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices roared higher, fueled by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 456 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 105 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 466 points.

CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed 47¢ to 70¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Aggregating everything from cow-calf operations through feedlots, cattle sector returns are expected to be less this year as lower traded volume offsets higher prices, according to Matthew Diersen, Extension risk and business management specialist at South Dakota State University. His statement refers to the latest Agricultural Prices from USDA’s Economic Research Service, published earlier this month.

“At the same time, higher feeder animal expenditures are expected to continue,” Diersen says, in a recent issue of In the Cattle Markets. “Another major cost item, interest expense, is expected to remain high, as steady to potentially lower interest rates are offset by higher loan volumes. At the local level, higher rates have been discussed as they have influenced returns to storage on crops, resulted in higher operating expenses overall, and factored into the value of replacement heifers.”

Diersen points out multi-state grazing fee rates in the same report were higher last year for animal units and cow-calf pairs. “High prices for substitute feedstuffs (corn and hay) for much of 2023 likely placed upward pressure on grazing fees,” he says.

On the other hand, corn and hay prices are projected to be lower year over year in 2024 due to larger expected ending stocks.

A final cost pressure depends on individual perspective, according to Diersen.

“Feeder cattle continue to trade at high levels,” Diersen says. “The CME Feeder Cattle Index is a weighted average price of 700–899-pound steers traded at AMS-reported sales across 12 states. The index is a common benchmark that reached an all-time high of $254.10 on Sept. 20, 2023. The recent index values have been around $243.00, or record level for this time of year.”

By | February 22nd, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 22, 2024

Cattle futures continued to crawl mostly higher Wednesday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ higher, except for 42¢ lower in spot Feb.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an  average of 45¢ higher, except for an average of 20¢ lower in two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 43¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $297.80/cwt. Select was $3.36 lower at $284.46/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 18¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 48 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 49 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 38¢ to 87¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Although he says forage supplies, calf prices and production costs are the primary determinants of herd expansion, Kenny Burdine, Extension livestock economist the University of Kentucky also notes interest rates also play a role.

“The expansion decision is really a tradeoff,” Burdine says, in the recent issue of Cattle Market Notes Weekly. “A cow-calf producer choosing to expand makes a short-term investment (heifer retention or breeding stock purchase) in hopes of seeing higher profit levels in the future. Any time a short-term / long-term discussion is had, interest rates and inflation are likely to enter the conversation.”

When it comes to interest rates, Burdine explains the obvious impact is the interest cost or opportunity cost associated with buying or retaining more females. Less obvious, he says, is the time value of money.

“Money in the present is always preferred over money in the future and interest rates largely determine how significant that preference is,” Burdine says. “When a producer retains a heifer for replacement purposes, he/she forgoes her value as a calf (present) in order to see increased revenues from the sale of her calves after she enters the herd (future). The preference for money now, from the sale of the weaned heifer, is greater when interest rates are higher. At the same time, the real value of those future calves is lower due to higher interest rates. An economist might say those future returns are ‘more heavily discounted’ in a higher interest rate environment. This combination results in less desire to hold heifers for development purposes, and I think we are seeing some impact from this today.”

By | February 21st, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 21, 2024

Cattle futures closed mostly higher Tuesday, supported by positive fundamentals.

Live Cattle futures closed average of 58¢ higher, except for an average of 30¢ lower in the front two contracts.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.22 higher, except for 35¢ higher in spot Mar.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the South to mostly inactive on light demand in the North, with too few transactions to trend, through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $181 in Nebraska and $180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $287 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 28¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $297.37/cwt. Select was 42¢ higher at $287.82/cwt.

Apparent short covering helped lift grain futures Tuesday.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 14¢ to 19¢ higher through Dec ’25.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 10¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 64 points lower.

The S&P 500 closed 30 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 144 points.

CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed $1.01 to $1.42 lower through the front six contracts.

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Plenty of folks will be watching for Friday’s Monthly Cattle on Feed report to see how much placements decline year over year. Although placement are widely anticipated to be less, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says the Feb. 1 on-feed inventory likely will be higher again.

“Feedlots are quite full in many cases and are dealing with muddy conditions and lost performance due to winter weather in December and January,” Peel says in his weekly market comments. “The sluggish pen conditions resulted in sluggish cash fed market conditions with fed prices dropping back about a $1.00/cwt. this past week to $180/cwt. As feedlots clean up pens, on-feed numbers are expected to tighten up in the coming months as the reality of limited feeder supplies becomes apparent.” 

Peel points out estimated feeder supplies were 4.2% less year over year at the beginning of January, the least since 1972. 

So far this year, Peel notes steer and heifer slaughter is 3.3% less year over year and beef cow slaughter 15.7% less. 

“Steer and heifer carcass weights have dropped sharply in recent weeks as a result of earlier winter weather. Current steer carcass weights are close to year-ago levels at 909 pounds, having dropped from highs of 942 pounds in late December,” Peel says. “Although carcass weights dropped slightly on an annual basis in 2023, there is a good chance that carcass weights will increase modestly this year with cheaper cost of gain in feedlots and both cattle feeders and packers having incentives to find pounds of beef wherever they can in the face of decreasing cattle supplies.”

Beef production is projected to decrease roughly 5% year over in 2024, according to Peel. Beef production was 4.7% less year over year in 2023.

By | February 20th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 20-2024

Futures and equity markets were closed Monday in observance of President’s Day.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., unevenly steady in Nebraska at $181 and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $180. Dressed delivered prices were unevenly steady in Nebraska at mostly $287 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $285.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live fed steer price last week was 80¢ lower at $180.35. The weighted average dressed delivered fed steer price was 76¢ lower at $286.61.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 89¢ higher Monday afternoon at $297.09/cwt. Select was 74¢ higher at $287.40/cwt.

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Recent release of the 2022 Census of Agriculture indicates further reduction of operations and increasing consolidation over time.

There were 1.9 million farms in 2022. That was 208,916 fewer than in 2012 (-9.9%) and 228,495 fewer than in 2002 (-10.7%). The average farm size in 2022 was 463 acres, which was 29 acres more than in 2012 and 21 acres more than in 2002.

Of the total farms, 622,162 had beef cows, which was 105,744 fewer than in 2012 (-14.5%) and 174,274 fewer than in 2002 (-21.9%). Spun differently, 32.7% of all farms in 2022 had some beef cows, compared to 34.5% in 2012 and 37.4% in 2002.

In terms of herd size, 54.7% of operations had 19 head or fewer (33.6% with 1-9 head), while 14.6% of operations had herd sizes of 200 head or more (2.5% of operations with 1,000 head or more).

There were 880.1 million acres of land in farms in 2022. That was 34.4 million less than in 2012 (-3.8%) and 58.2 million less than in 2002 (-6.2%). Farms consisting of 1,000 or more acres comprised 8.4% of all farms in 2022, compared to 12.3% of farms with 1-9 acres, 29.8% with 10-49 acres and 27.9% with 50-179 acres.

By | February 19th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 19, 2024

Cattle futures rallied higher Friday helped along by recently stronger wholesale beef values.

Live Cattle futures closed average of $1.11 higher (65¢ to $1.95 higher).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.67 higher (50¢ higher at the back to $3.32 higher at the front).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to slow on light demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., steady to $2.50 lower in Nebraska at $180 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $180-$182. Dressed delivered prices were unevenly steady in Nebraska at mostly $287 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $285.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 90¢ higher Friday afternoon at $296.20/cwt. Select was $1.33 lower at $286.66/cwt.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 608,000 head was 14,000 head fewer than the previous week and 17,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Total year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 4.2. million head was 246,000 head fewer (-5.6%). Year-to-date estimated beef production of 3.5 billion pounds was 153.5 million pounds less (-4.2%).

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 8¢ to 11¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 10¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower on Friday with another report indicating stubborn inflation.

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.3% in January, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was more than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 145 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 24 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 130 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 54¢ to $1.16 higher through the front six contracts.

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Depending on your abacus, the USDA Agricultural Projections to 2033 released last week are plumb optimistic when it comes to the timing and degree of U.S. beef cow herd growth.

USDA pegs the Jan. 1, 2025 beef cow inventory at 28.82 million head, which would be 600,000 head more than Jan. 1 this year. USDA projects the beef cow herd growing to a peak of 31.68 million head in 2031, which would be 3.5 million head more than where this year began.

“Beef production is projected to increase during much of the forecast period as assumptions of normal weather and improved pastures, coupled with strong cattle prices, sets the stage for herd rebuilding,” according to the report. “Beef production is expected to decline in 2024 reflecting tighter cattle supplies leading into the projection period. However, higher expected cattle prices in 2024 and an expected return to normal pasture conditions will likely incentivize heifer retention, after which modest herd growth is expected through the end of the projection period.”

USDA projects the annual feeder steer price (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) to peak this year at $253.75/cwt. and at $246.34 next year. After that prices are projected to decline to a low of $159.78 in 2030 before increasing again.

USDA forecasts the weighted average annual five-area direct fed steer price at $185.00 this year and $180.60 next year before declining to a low of $128.78 in 2030.

“Corn prices are projected to decline from the elevated levels in 2022/23 and 2023/24, and corn planted acreage is projected to fall from 94.9 million acres in 2023/24 to 91 million acres in 2024/25, according to the report. Prices start at $4.50 per bushel in 2024/25 and then level off at $4.30 per bushel the remainder of the projection period.”

U.S. real GDP growth is projected at an annual average of 1.9% during the projection period from 2024–33.

By | February 17th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 16, 2024

Live Cattle futures closed higher Thursday, supported by firmer wholesale beef values and more reprieve in Corn futures.

Live Cattle futures closed average of 64¢ higher (17¢ higher at the back to $1.60 higher toward the front).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 57¢ lower, except for an average of 75¢ higher in the front two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from moderate on moderate demand in the North to mostly inactive on light demand in the Southern Plains through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., steady to $2.50 lower in Nebraska at $180 and mainly steady in the western Corn Belt at $180-$181. Dressed delivered prices are unevenly steady in Nebraska at mostly $287 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $285 on a light test.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.30 higher Thursday afternoon at $295.30/cwt. Select was $3.97 higher at $287.99/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures continued to plumb for new lows Thursday as the lack of demand faces abundant supplies.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 11¢ to 14¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 10¢ to 14¢ lower through Sep ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices continued to claw back early-week losses on Thursday, led by tech stock and supported by receding bond yields.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January this year were 0.6% higher year over year but 0.8% lower month to month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That was much weaker than the trade expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 348 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 29 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 47 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 85¢ to $1.39 higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA projects commercial beef production this year to be 3% less year over year at 26.19 billion pounds.

“In the first part of the year, steer and heifer slaughter will reflect higher levels of cattle in feedlots but as the year progresses, marketings will decline as feedlot numbers diminish,” according to Shayle Shagam, livestock analyst with the World Agricultural Outlook Board. He provided the Outlook for Livestock and Poultry in 2024 at the Agricultural Outlook Forum taking place in Arlington, Va.

As for non-fed slaughter, Shagam says beef and dairy cow slaughter has been lower year over year so far in 2024 but may reflect the effects of winter weather on mid-January slaughter schedules.

“Nonetheless, with a smaller cow base, cow slaughter is expected to decline during the year, but reductions may also reflect improved forage conditions and strong calf prices which would support retention of cows as a precursor to any herd rebuilding,” Shagam says.

As mentioned in yesterday’s Cattle Current, USDA projects the average prices for a 750-800 lb. feeder steer selling at Oklahoma City record high at $248.50/cwt. USDA pegs the annual five-area direct average fed steer price for this year at $180/cwt.

By | February 15th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 15, 2024

Overbought conditions, seasonally lower wholesale beef values, early cash fed cattle sales at lower money and the previous day’s surprisingly strong Consumer Price Index all weighed on Cattle futures Wednesday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.43 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.57 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from moderate on moderate demand to active on good demand in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $2 lower at $180/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade was slow on light to moderate demand with too few transactions to trend. Last week, FOB live prices were $180-$182.50 in Nebraska and $180-$182 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $285-$289 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.73 higher Wednesday afternoon at $294.00/cwt. Select was $1.28 lower at $284.02/cwt.

Queasiness over the release of the latest USDA projections helped take grain and Soybean futures lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 6¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 7¢ to 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 9¢ to 15¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices rebounded Wednesday from the previous day’s sharp losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 151 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 47 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 203 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 98¢ to $1.23 lower through the front six contracts.

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Compared to prior-month projections, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) increased expected feeder steer prices (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) for this year, in the February Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.

Based on current prices and lower anticipate feed prices, ERS increased the feeder steer price $9 in the first quarter to $234/cwt., $6 in the second quarter to $242, $5 in the third quarter to $255 and $5 in the fourth quarter to $256. ERS increased the expected annual average price for this year $6.25 to $248.50.

“Forage availability, as well as historically high prices for calves and cull cows, likely discouraged producers from retaining females in 2023,” ERS analysts say. “The culling rate of beef cows in 2023 was over 12% of the beef cow inventory on Jan. 1, 2023, the third highest rate behind 2011 and 2022.”

As reported recently in Cattle Current, ERS also increased projected five-area direct fed steer prices slightly for this year in the February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Prices were projected at $176 in the first quarter, $180 in the second and third quarters and $184 in the fourth quarter. ERS increased the forecast annual five-area direct average fed steer price for this year by $2 to $180/cwt. Analysts say prices were raised on expected strength in first-half demand for fed cattle in the face of tightening feedlot numbers.

By | February 14th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 14, 2024

Cattle futures softened Tuesday with pressure from outside markets and likely profit taking.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.07 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 73¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $182/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $180-$182.50 in Nebraska and $180-$182 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $285-$289 in Nebraska and $285 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.81 lower Tuesday afternoon at $292.27/cwt. Select was $1.72 lower at $285.30/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply Tuesday, under pressure from a hotter inflation reading than expected, prompting concerns the Fed would take longer to cut interest rates.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3% in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.2% in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.1% before seasonal adjustment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 524 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 68 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 286 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 32¢ to 95¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Domestic and global economic growth continue to firm, according to the recent Interim Economic Outlook from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

OECD projects U.S. economic growth this year to be 2.1% and then 1.7% in 2025, helped by consumers continuing to spend savings built up during the COVID and easier financial conditions.

The Outlook projects global GDP growth of 2.9% in 2024 and 3.0% in 2025. Asia is expected to continue to account for the bulk of global growth in 2024-25, as it did in 2023. With said, OECD analysts note China’s economy is projected to grow at 4.7% this year and 4.2% in 2025 – the slowest rate in any of the 25 years before COVID, reflecting weak consumer demand and structural strains in property markets.

“The global economy has shown real resilience amid the high inflation of the past two years and the necessary monetary policy tightening. Growth has held up, and we expect inflation to be back to central bank targets by the end of 2025 in most G20 economies,” according to Mathias Cormann.  OECD Secretary-General. “Monetary policy needs to remain prudent, though central banks could start to lower interest rates this year, provided that inflation continues to ease.”

The OECD expects inflation to continue easing gradually, as cost pressures moderate. Headline inflation in G20 countries is expected to decline from 6.6% in 2024 to 3.8% in 2025. Core inflation in the G20 advanced economies is projected to fall back to 2.5% in 2024 and 2.1% in 2025.

By | February 13th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 13, 2024

Feeder Cattle futures continued higher Monday up an average of 87¢ with strong cash demand — 2¢ higher at the back to $1.67 higher at the front.

Live Cattle closed mixed on some likely profit taking. They were an average of 48¢ lower through the front four contracts to an average of 20¢ higher, except for unchanged in Oct.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $3 to $4 higher in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt., $3.75 to $4 higher in Nebraska at $180 to $182.50 and $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $180-$182. Dressed delivered prices were $5 to $9 higher in Nebraska at $285-$289 and $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $285.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live steer price last week was $3.36 higher at $181.15. The weighted average dressed delivered price was $7.84 higher at $287.37.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 4¢ higher Monday afternoon at $294.08/cwt. Select was $1.94 higher at $287.02/cwt.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 7¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ lower through May ’25 and then unchanged.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 125 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 4 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 48 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 3¢ to 8¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Although inflation is moderating, Kevin Good, CattleFax vice president of market analysis says domestic consumer demand this year could be pressured by consumer debt and interest rates, cheaper alternative proteins, and economic uncertainty.

Speaking at the recent annual CattleFax Outlook Seminar, Good explained 2024 USDA All-Fresh Retail Beef prices are expected to average $7.90/pound. While higher beef prices may soften consumer purchasing habits, Good predicted the consumer preference for the quality, consistency and safety of U.S. beef will continue to support relatively strong demand. “Premiums for higher quality beef should remain as consumers have shown a willingness to pay for Choice grade or better beef,” he said.

From an international perspective, Good explained global protein demand has continued to increase and tighter global protein supplies should broadly support prices in 2024.

As reported in the last edition of Cattle Current, U.S. beef exports continue lower year over year, as domestic supplies decline and prices increase. CattleFax expects U.S. beef exports to decline 5% this year.

By | February 12th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 12, 2024

Cattle futures eased Friday as traders appeared to take a break from the week’s strong gains and awaiting cash fed cattle direction which ultimately proved positive.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.23 lower (15¢ to $2.45 lower) except for 30¢ higher in spot Mar.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 25¢ higher (5¢ to 85¢ higher) except for an average of 12¢ lower in three contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand in the Texas Panhandle to slow on light to moderate demand in the North through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices were $1.25 to $4.00 higher in Nebraska at $180/cwt. in a light test. Dressed delivered prices were $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $285, where there were a few live trades at $180, but too few to trend.

The previous week, FOB live prices were $178 in the Texas Panhandle, $178-$179 in Kansas and $177-$179 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $280.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 97¢ lower Friday afternoon at $294.04/cwt. Select was 96¢ higher at $285.08/cwt. Week to week on Friday, Choice was 96¢ higher and Select was $1.61 higher.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 622,000 head was 15,000 head fewer than the previous week and 6,000 head fewer than the same week a year earlier. Beef packers continue to slow production in efforts to boost wholesale beef values. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 3.6 million head was 225,000 head fewer (-5.9%) than the same period last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 3 billion pounds was 133.8 million pounds less (-4.3%) than a year earlier.

Grain and soybean futures continued to be pressured by the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 9¢ to 11¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Friday, with the most support from tech stocks and further confirmation of easing inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 54 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 28 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 196 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 56¢ to 62¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports finished last year down 12% from the previous year’s record level at 1.29 million metric tons (mt), according to year-end data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef export value was 15% less year over year at just under $10 billion but was still the third highest annual value for beef exports.

“There is no question that 2023 was a challenging year for U.S. beef exports, especially in our largest Asian markets where economic conditions have weighed on foodservice demand,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Of course, we were also challenged on the supply side, with less product available for export. Nevertheless, U.S. beef achieved excellent growth in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and we are encouraged by the December uptick in demand in South Korea and China. It was also great to see such strong per-head export value in December, topping $430.”

December exports of U.S. beef totaled 108,497 mt, down 4% year-over-year but the largest since August. Export value was also the highest since August and climbed 10% year-over-year to $860.8 million.

December beef export value equated to $431.50 per head of fed slaughter, up 11% from a year ago and the highest since April. The 2023 average was $397.04 per head, down 11% from the record level ($448.57) posted in 2022.

By | February 10th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 9, 2024

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 84¢ higher Thursday (5¢ higher at the back to $1.77 higher toward the front), supported by friendly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below) and prospects of higher cash prices this week.

Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 53¢ higher through the front five contracts (2¢ to $1.30 higher) to an average of 27¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light demand in the western Corn Belt through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were a few early FOB live trades at $179/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade was at a standstill.

Last week, FOB live prices were $178 in the Texas Panhandle, $178-$179 in Kansas,  $176-$178.75 in Nebraska and $177-$179 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $280.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 3¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $295.01/cwt. Select was $1.30 lower at $284.13/cwt.

Corn futures closed 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 13¢ to 17¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 8¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Thursday, buoyed by more strong quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 49 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 2 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 37 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.82 to $2.36 higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA increased the forecast annual five-area direct average fed steer price for this year by $2 to $180/cwt., in the February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Prices were projected at $176 in the first quarter, $180 in the second and third quarters and $184 in the fourth quarter.

USDA analysts say prices were raised on expected strength in first-half demand for fed cattle in the face of tightening feedlot numbers.

At the same time, estimated beef production for this year was estimated slightly higher, up 75 million pounds from the previous report to 26.2. billion pounds. The total would be 778 million pounds less than last year (-2.9%).

“Slaughter is lowered for the first half, reflecting a slower pace of cattle slaughter,” say USDA analysts. “For the second half, steer and heifer slaughter is raised as USDA’s January Cattle report implied a smaller decline in cattle outside feedlots than previously expected and to the extent these cattle are placed on feed in the first half, they will likely be marketed and slaughtered in the second half.”

Among other WASDE highlights…

Corn

U.S. corn ending stocks were projected 10 million bushels more than last month. The season-average corn price received by producers was unchanged at $4.80 per bushel.

Wheat

Projected ending stocks were raised 10 million bushels to 658 million. The 2023/24 season-average farm price forecast was unchanged at $7.20 per bushel.

Soybeans

Ending stocks were forecast at 315 million bushels, up 35 million from the prior month.

The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2023/24 was forecast at 10¢ less at $12.65 per bushel. The soybean meal price forecast was unchanged at $380 per short ton. The soybean oil price was forecast 3¢ less at 51¢ per pound.

By | February 8th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 8, 2024

Cattle futures took a breather Wednesday with traders apparently waiting for the week’s cash direction.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 47¢ lower (17¢ lower toward the back to $1.12 lower in the spot month).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 76¢ lower (27¢ lower at the back to $1.27 lower toward the front).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand in the western Corn Belt to a standstill elsewhere through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $178/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $178-$179 in Kansas, $176-$178.75 in Nebraska and $177-$179 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices $280.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 91¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $294.98/cwt. Select was 82¢ higher at $285.42/cwt.

Apparent fund selling helped pressure Corn and Soybean futures. Positioning ahead of Thursday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates could have played a role, too.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 5¢ to 10¢ lower through Sep ’25 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, buoyed by strong quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 156 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 40 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 147 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 52¢ to 55¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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After several months watching El Niño’s influence on the global weather pattern, Meteorologist Matt Makens said the El Niño event that placed moisture on the South and Southeast is fading away and La Niña is showing signs of making a rapid return.

“During the next several weeks, we will continue to see strong and wet storm systems move across the central and southern states. Increased odds for snow and cold as far south as Texas will mean possible impacts on calving and wheat,” Makens explained during the annual CattleFax Outlook Seminar at the recent Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. “Take this moisture now and make the most of it; look for a good start to this grazing season overall but be mindful that drought conditions will increase for the Southern Plains during summer and fall as we see our pattern change quickly.”

As La Niña’s influence grows, increased heat and drought-related issues are expected for the Central and Southern Plains. The moisture pattern will favor the northern tier of states and the Ohio to Tennessee Valleys.

By | February 7th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 7, 2024

Cattle futures roared back Tuesday with apparent fund buying.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.78 higher (from $1.95 higher at the back to $3.92 higher at the front).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.04 higher (from $1.05 higher near the back to $3.72 higher toward the front).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $178/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $178-$179 in Kansas, $176-$178.75 in Nebraska and $177-$179 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices $280.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 59¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $294.07/cwt. Select was 83¢ higher at $284.60/cwt.

Soybean futures closed fractionally higher to 3¢ higher through Sep ’25 and then mostly 1¢ lower.

Corn futures closed fractionally mixed after the first three contracts.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally lower after the first few contracts.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 141 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 11 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 11 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 38¢ to 53¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. agriculture producers were less optimistic than the previous month in January, according to the latest Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.

Month to month, the overall Ag Economy barometer declined 8 points to 106. The Current Conditions Index fell 9 points, and the Future Expectations Index dropped by 7.

“The number of producers pointing to lower commodity prices and lower farm income in 2024 significantly influenced the decline across all indices,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

In January, 31% of respondents anticipated a decline in their operation’s performance this year, compared to 20% in December.

“For the first time, the percentage of producers choosing lower commodity prices as a top concern matched the percentage of producers who chose higher input costs,” Mintert says. “This alignment indicates that U.S. producers are worried about a possible cost/price squeeze leading to lower incomes.”

The latest Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from Jan. 15-19.

By | February 6th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 6, 2024

Cattle futures closed lower Monday on oversold conditions and likely profit taking as traders await this week’s cash direction.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.89 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.19 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $3 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $178/cwt., $4 higher in Kansas at $178-$179, $1 to $1.75 higher in Nebraska at $176-$178.75 and steady to $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $177-$179. Dressed delivered prices were $3 higher at $280.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 40¢ higher Monday afternoon at $293.48/cwt. Select was 30¢ higher at $283.77/cwt.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ higher through Nov ’25.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 8¢ to 11¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower as Treasury yields climbed in response to expectations the Fed will be slower to cut interest rates amid the strong employment outlook.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 274 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 15 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 31 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 50¢ to 64¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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All cattle and calves in the U.S. inventory at the beginning of this year of 87.15 million head was the least since 1951, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. He lends historical perspective of last week’s USDA Cattle report, in his weekly market comments.

The Jan. 1 beef cow inventory of 28.2 million head was 3.47 million head less (-10.9%) than the cyclical peak in 2019. Peel says, It’s the smallest beef cow herd since 1961.

As well, he explains, The top 10 beef cow states, represent 57.3% of total beef cows and accounted for 79.4% of the year over year decrease in total beef cow numbers. They accounted for 67.7% of the decrease from 2019 to 2024.

Beef replacement heifers on Jan.1 of 4.86 million head were 1.4% less year over year. However, Peel notes, “The 2023 beef replacement heifer inventory was revised down by 4.5% from the initial value reported one year ago.”

Estimated supply of feeder cattle outside feedlots of 24.2 million head was 4.2% less, representing the fewest in the 53 years, according to Peel, who explains

“The smaller cattle inventory is projected to result in a decrease of about 5% in total beef production to roughly 25.5 billion pounds in 2024.

Although That’s three times as much beef as was produced in 1951, the last time the total cattle inventory was this small; Peel says, the current ability to produce beef is smaller than market potential today and the industry will look to rebuild numbers and increase beef production when conditions allow.”  

By | February 5th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 5, 2024

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed Friday as traders paused at the end of a significantly positive week, fueled by gains in cash fed cattle prices and supported by the friendly Cattle report.

For the week, FOB live prices were $3 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $178/cwt., $4 higher in Kansas at $178-$179, steady to $1 higher in Nebraska at $176-$177 and steady to $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $177-$179. Dressed delivered prices were $3 higher at $280.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ lower. Week to week, there were an average of $3.99 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 39¢ higher, except for unchanged in away Feb. Week to week, they were an average of $2.36 higher.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.86 lower Friday afternoon at $293.08/cwt. Select was 22¢ higher at $283.47/cwt. Week to week, Choice was $7.45 lower and Select was down $5.66.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 637,000 head was 19,000 more than the previous week and the same as a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 2.9 million head was 215,000 head fewer (-6.8%) than the same period a year ago. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 2.5 billion pounds was 125.7 million pounds less (-4.8%).

Soybean futures closed 14¢ to 15¢ lower through Sep ’25.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 4¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.   

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Major U.S. financial indices rose Friday, buoyed by tech stocks. That was despite significantly more employment in January than expected.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 353,000 in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%. In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose by 19¢ to $34.55. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.5%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 134 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 52 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 267 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.25 to $1.54 lower through the front six contracts.

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Higher cattle prices and reduced feeding costs will continue to improve margins for cow-calf producers for the next several years, as reduced cattle numbers and beef production return more leverage to the sector, according to CattleFax.

“Though drought conditions did improve in many regions, over a third of the cow herd was affected by drought in 2023, causing limited heifer retention and more liquidation in some regions. This will limit growth to the cow herd near-term,” Kevin Good, CattleFax vice president of market analysis, explained during the annual CattleFax Outlook Seminar at last week’s Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.

Despite record prices, CattleFax analysts say beef cow herd expansion will likely be delayed again this year with lingering drought, high input costs, limited labor availability, high interest rates, and market uncertainty as headwinds. Overall, they expect cyclical herd expansion to slower and more prolonged this time around with expected lows in fed slaughter by 2026.

Cow and bull slaughter is forecast to be 6.5 million head in 2024, down around 800,000 head, from 2023. CattleFax predicts feeder cattle and calf supplies outside of feedlots will be 1 million head fewer than 2023 at 24.1 million head.

Commercial fed slaughter in 2024 is forecast to decline by 750,000 to 24.8 million head. “Though inventories may remain somewhat elevated for a few months, they are expected to decline significantly through the second half of the year,” according to Good.

CattleFax projects beef production to be 1 billion pounds less than last year. It was about 1.3 billion pounds less year over year in 2023.

Prices for all classes of cattle are forecast to be higher this year, according to Mike Murphy, CattleFax chief operating officer.

CattleFax pegs this year’s annual average price for fed steers $9 higher than last year at $184/cwt. As for other classes:

  • Feeder steers (800 lbs.) — $240/cwt.
  • Steer calves (550 lbs.) — $290/cwt.
  • Utility cows — $115/cwt.
  • Bred cows — $2,600/head

Peak cattle prices are likely to come in 2025-26, according to Randy Blach, CattleFax chief executive officer.

By | February 4th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 2, 2024

Cattle futures charged ahead Thursday, fueled by strong gains in cash fed cattle prices and the bullish Cattle inventory report (see below) released after trading the previous day.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.90 higher ($3.21 higher at the back to $4.72 higher at the front).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.08 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was moderate on moderate demand in the Southern Plains through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were mostly $3 higher at mostly $178/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from moderate on moderate demand to moderate on light demand.

So far this week, dressed delivered prices are $3 higher at $280.

Last week, FOB live prices were $175-$177 in Nebraska and $174-$177 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value were 40¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $294.94/cwt. Select was 92¢ lower at $287.05/cwt.

Corn futures closed unchanged to 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 1¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 12¢ to 19¢ lower.

By | February 2nd, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 31, 2024

Cattle futures bounced back Tuesday, perhaps with positioning ahead of Wednesday’s Cattle inventory report.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.98 higher, except for 27¢ higher in the back contract.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 80¢ higher, 52¢ to $1.27 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $175/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $174-$175 in Kansas (mostly $175), $175-$177 in Nebraska and $174-$177 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were at $277

Choice boxed beef cutout value (p.m.): $3.35 lower at $296.07/cwt. Select was $1.77 lower at $287.05/cwt.

Grain and soybean futures rallied Tuesday with apparent short covering.

Corn futures closed 6¢ to 8¢ higher through May ’25.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 8¢ to 12¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 24¢ higher.

By | January 30th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 30, 2024

Cattle futures started Monday’s session with follow-through support that faded as the day wore on amid likely profit taking and positioning ahead of Wednesday’s USDA Cattle inventory report. Although another year of beef cow contraction is widely anticipated, the degree will also depend on whether USDA makes any adjustments to prior-year figures.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 94¢ lower (55¢ to $1.32 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 56¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $175/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $174-$175 in Kansas (mostly $175), $175-$177 in Nebraska and $174-$177 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were at $277.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live steer price last week was $1.68 higher at $175.44/cwt. The five-area direct dressed delivered price was $2.98 higher at $276.87.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.11 lower Monday afternoon at $299.42/cwt. Select was 31¢ lower at $288.82/cwt.

Turning to row crops, grain and soybean futures closed lower Monday with apparent concerns about China’s economy.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 15¢ lower through May ’25 and then mainly fractionally higher.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 6¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 7¢ to 8¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, led by bullish tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 224 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 36 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 172 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 96¢ to $1.23 lower through the front six contracts.

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Besides offering a glimpse of the beef cow inventory, Wednesday’s USDA Cattle report offer opportunity to corroborate notions about how the monthly feedlot inventory has exceeded year-ago levels in the face of estimated reductions in the number of cattle available for placement.

Kenny Burdine, Extension livestock economist at the University of Kentucky notes earlier marketing due to dry conditions was partly the reason, along with increased imports of heavier feeder cattle from Mexico. He also points to the counter-cyclical increase in slaughter weights during the last couple of months last year.

“Cheaper feed in the fourth quarter was likely the driving factor, but this ultimately means that cattle were on feed for a longer period of time,” Burdine explains, in the latest issue of Cattle Market Notes Weekly. “This seems to be supported by increased estimates of cattle on feed over 90 and 120 days and also partially explains the higher feedlot inventories.”

Moreover, Burdine notes the high percentage of heifers on feed, explaining

“The number of heifers on feed (Jan. 1) was higher than the last quarter and higher than January of 2023. While heifers as a percent of on-feed inventory declined slightly in January, it remained just under 40%, and Burdine says that During expansionary times, the percentage of heifers on feed tends to be in the lower to middle of the 30% range. In sum, he says A number near 40% does not suggest that heifer retention is ongoing and continues to suggest that expansion is not immediately visible on the nearby horizon.”

 

By | January 29th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 29, 2024

Cattle futures continued higher Friday, buoyed by lighter carcass weights due to the weather, higher cash fed cattle prices and strong wholesale beef values.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.62 higher. Week to week, they were up an average of $7.64.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 94¢ higher. They were an average of $3.70 higher week to week.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $1.50 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $175/cwt., $1-$2 higher in Kansas at $174-$175 (mostly $175), $2-$4 higher in Nebraska at $175-$177 and from $1 lower to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $174-$177. Dressed delivered prices were $3-$4 higher at $277.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.85 higher Friday afternoon at $300.53/cwt. Select was $1.28 higher at $289.13/cwt. Week to week, Choice was $5.03 higher and Select was $6.08 higher.

Grain and soybean futures continued to chop in search of a low Friday.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ lower.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ lower through Jly ’25.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 6¢ to 9¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 60 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 3 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 55 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 64¢ to 67¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 618,000 head was 1,000 head more than the previous week but 35,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 2.3 million head was 204,000 head fewer (-8.1%) than the same period a year ago. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 1.96 billion pounds was 120.4 million pounds less (-5.8%).

As long as current consumer beef demand holds, beef prices should continue higher, according to Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments.

“It is not necessary for beef demand to increase to push prices higher. As long as demand stays steady then one would expect beef prices to increase as beef production declines with the number of cattle moving through the system,” Griffith says. “Consumers are currently focused on end meats, but it will not be long before retailers shift their focus toward middle meats.”

Griffith also notes, “It seems there has been a shift in consumer preferences with the wide Choice Select spread, and the spread will widen further.”

By | January 28th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 26, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices bounced higher Thursday.

FOB live prices were $1.50 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $175/cwt., $2 higher in Kansas at $175, $2-$4 higher in Nebraska at $175-$177 and unevenly steady in the western Corn Belt at $174-$176. Dressed delivered prices $3-$4 higher in Nebraska at $277. Prices in the western Corn Belt last week were $273-$274.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 82¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $298.68/cwt. Select was 61¢ higher at $287.85/cwt.

Stronger cash fed cattle prices and strong country demand for calves and feeder cattle helped push Cattle futures higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.54 higher ($2.72 higher at the back to $4.40 higher in spot Mar), not counting Jan going off the board 20¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.53 higher (60¢ higher at the back to $2.37 higher in the front contract).

Turning to row crops, traders took some of the South American weather premium back out of Soybean futures, which closed mostly 10¢ to 17¢ lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 1¢ to 11¢ higher through May ’25 and then 2¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday, supported by more bullish domestic GDP than expected. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Real GDP increased 4.9% in the third quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 242 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 25 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 28 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.90 to $2.27 higher through the front six contracts.

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Food price growth slowed last year with less economy-wide inflationary pressure, fewer supply chain issues, and lower wholesale food prices, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Food-at-home prices increased by 5.0% in 2023, much lower than the growth rate of 11.4% in 2022 but still double the historical annual average growth of 2.5% from 2003 to 2022, according to ERS.

Beef and veal prices rose 3.6% last year, more slowly than their historical averages. Pork prices declined 1.2%.

For broader perspective, the steepest price increases last year were 9.0% for fats and oils, 8.7% for sugar and sweets and 8.4% for cereal and bakery products.

ERS researchers project overall food-at-home prices will decrease 0.4% this year.

By | January 25th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 25, 2024

Cattle futures extended gains Wednesday with help from higher cash fed cattle prices, albeit in limited trade.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 61¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was moderate on moderate demand in Kansas through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $1 higher at $174/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade was mostly inactive on light demand. FOB live prices last week were $173.50/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $173 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $273-$274.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.16 lower Wednesday afternoon at $299.50/cwt. Select was $1.14 lower at $287.24/cwt.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 8¢ to 9¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ higher after Sep ’24.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed again Wednesday after early support from tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 99 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 3 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 55 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 58¢ to 72¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Beef supplies in cold storage continue to be less year over year, according to the latest reportfrom USDA.

Total pounds of beef in freezers Dec. 31 were 6% more than the previous month but 11% less than the same time last year.

Similarly, frozen pork supplies were up 3% from the previous month but down 6% from the prior year.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were 4% more than the previous month but 9% less than a year earlier.

On the other hand, total frozen poultry supplies were up 4% from the previous month and up slightly from a year earlier.

 

By | January 24th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 24, 2023

Cattle futures bounced higher Tuesday with support from stronger wholesale beef values. Feeder Cattle were also buoyed by hefty cash trade.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.87 higher ($1.47 to $2.37 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 63¢ higher.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.99 higher Tuesday afternoon at 301.66/cwt., the highest level since the first part of November. Select was $1.80 higher at $288.38/cwt.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices last week were $173.50/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $173 in Kansas $173 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $273-$274.

Soybean futures closed mostly 8¢ to 15¢ higher through Sep ’25 and then 6¢ higher with chatter about softer South American production.

Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Tuesday on mixed earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 96 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 14 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 65 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 36¢ to 39¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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USDA will release the much-anticipated semiannual Cattle report next Wednesday with estimates of the cattle inventory. In the meantime, other data continues pointing to the lack of her rebuilding so far.

For one, the ratio of beef cows and heifers in last year’s slaughter mix was near record high, according to analysts with USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), in the January Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. Specifically, ERS analysts say beef cows and heifers comprised 42.1% of cattle slaughter last year, only slightly less than the previous year’s record 42.3% (since the data series began in 1986).

“In 2023, all classes of slaughter were down from the prior year. However, the proportion of heifers and cows in the slaughter mix was higher than anticipated a year ago,” say ERS analysts. “The expectation was that as drought from 2020–22 largely receded, pasture conditions improved, and calf prices rose, producers would be more willing to retain heifers and cows to maintain or expand their herds.”

As well, heifers comprised 39.4% of the cattle on feed, Jan.1, according to the most recent Cattle on Feed report. That was about the same as the previous year’s historically high percentage. In raw numbers, however, there were 4.74 million heifers on feed Jan. 1, compared to 4.65 million head the previous year.

By | January 23rd, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 23, 2024

Cattle futures faded early pressure to close narrowly mixed Monday. Despite the neutral Cattle on Feed report, reasons for skittishness included anemic cash fed cattle trade at static prices.

Feeder Cattle futures closed from an average of 44¢ lower in the front three contracts to an average of 24¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed from an average of 27¢ lower in the front five contracts to an average of 31¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices last week were $1.50 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $173.50/cwt., $1 higher in Kansas at $173, and steady in the North at $173 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were unevenly steady in the Nebraska at $273-$274 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $273-$274.

Last week’s weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price was 29¢ higher at $173.76/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered steers price was 19¢ higher at $273.89.

Choice boxed beef cutout value (p.m.): $3.17 higher at 298.67/cwt. Select was $3.53 higher at $286.58/cwt.

Soybean futures closed mostly 6¢ to 7¢ higher.

Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday on follow-through support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 138 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 10 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 49 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.56 to $1.78 higher through the front six contracts.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday on follow-through support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 395 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 58 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 255 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 67¢ to 71¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Between year-end holidays and widespread severe winter weather in the new year, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says it will likely take another week or two to sort out both beef demand and supply conditions. That assumes no further disruptions.

Peel notes in his weekly market comments boxed beef markets decreased the first week of January as retailers assessed holiday markets and sorted out post-holiday beef pipelines. Suspended packer production, tied to the weather pushed wholesale beef prices higher.

As the new year began, analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) explain prices for wholesale 50% fresh lean beef trimmings were $144/cwt. less (-72%) than during the summer.

“Wholesale 50% lean beef trimming prices dropped below the five-year average at the end of October after soaring most of the year,” say LMIC analysts, in the latest Livestock Monitor. “For the last nine weeks, these prices have been below the five-year average by 8% to 25%. This level of decline is somewhat concerning given November and December fed cattle slaughter was down 4% from 2022, indicating significantly smaller supplies.”

By | January 22nd, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 22, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade on Friday ranged from a standstill in the Southern Plains to slow on light demand in the North, but with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. The previous week, FOB live prices were $172/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $173 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $272-$275 in Nebraska and $275 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 79¢ lower Friday afternoon at 295.50/cwt. Select was 71¢ lower at $283.05/cwt. Week to week, Choice was up $6.24 and Select was $11.20 higher.

Cattle futures mainly paddled in place Friday ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below) and awaiting the week’s cash fed cattle direction.

Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 35¢ lower in the front five contracts to an average of 24¢ higher. They were an average of $4.06 higher week to week.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 24¢ lower to an average of 14¢ higher. Week to week, they were up an average of $2.48.

Corn futures closed narrowly mixed, from 1¢ lower to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed fractionally lower to 1¢ lower through Mar ’25 and then mostly fractionally higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices surged higher Friday, underpinned by bullish consumer data. Consumer sentiment was 13.1% higher month to month in January and reached the highest level since July 2021, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 395 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 58 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 255 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 67¢ to 71¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Markets should view Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report as neutral, coming in about dead even with pre-report estimates.

Feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity placed 1.7 million head in December, which was 80,000 head fewer (-4.5%) than the prior year.

In terms of placement weights, 50% went on feed weighing 699 pounds or less, 38% weighing 700-899 pounds and 12% weighing 900 pounds or more.

Marketings in December of 1.7 million head were 16,000 head fewer (-0.9%) than a year earlier.

Cattle on feed Jan. 1 of 11.9 million head were 248,000 more (+2.1%) than the same time last year.

By | January 20th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 19, 2024

Cattle futures stretched higher Thursday, led by Feeder Cattle. Recently higher wholesale beef prices and growing prospects of steady to higher cash fed cattle prices this week added support. There was also likely some positioning ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report scheduled for release Friday. Analyst estimates ahead of the report peg December placements about 4% lower year over year, December marketings about 0.5% less and the Jan. 1 feedlot inventory about 2% higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.21 higher ($1.65 to $2.77 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.41 higher (1.00 to $2.02 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Last week, FOB live prices were $172/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $173 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $272-$275 in Nebraska and $275 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.16 lower Thursday afternoon at 296.29/cwt. Select was 74¢ higher at $283.76/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures firmed on apparently oversold conditions and positive outside markets.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 7¢ higher through Mar ’25 and then 1¢ to 5¢ lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ higher through Jly ’25 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 7¢ to 9¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday, led tech stocks. Pressure early in the day came from indicators of a tighter labor market.  

Seasonally adjusted weekly initial unemployment insurance claims were 187,000 for the week ending Jan. 13, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was less than the trade expected, pointing to further tightness in the labor market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 201 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 41 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 200 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.16 to $1.52 higher through the front six contracts.

By | January 18th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—April 18, 2024

Cattle futures faded early pressure to close mostly higher Wednesday with help from resurgent wholesale beef values.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 83¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 45¢ higher, except for 2¢ lower in spot Feb.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Last week, FOB live prices were $172/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $173 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $272-$275 in Nebraska and $275 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.46 higher through Wednesday afternoon at 298.45/cwt. Select was $3.04 higher at $283.02/cwt.

Soybean futures closed mostly 11¢ to 21¢ lower on weak economic news in China.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices continued lower Wednesday with pressure including the rise in bond yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 94 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 26 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 88 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 4¢ to 24¢ lower through the front six contracts except for 16¢ higher in spot Feb.

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Although current cattle markets and the surrounding economics are obviously different than in 2014-15, when cattle numbers were similarly snug, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee says prices are poised to push higher.

“One clear price expectation from a supply and demand standpoint and a seasonal standpoint is that calf prices will increase from today through April,” Griffith says in his weekly market comments. “Despite the seasonal trend, calf prices are expected to be steady or move even higher following the grass cattle run in March and April. This will be simply due to fewer calves on the market.”

Moreover, Griffith notes higher calf prices tend to lead to higher prices for most classes of cattle.

“For instance, production sales have demonstrated a strong price for herd sires to start the year,” he says. “This will likely mean strong prices for bred females moving throughout the year, which will lead to stronger prices for slaughter cows.”

By | January 17th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 17, 2024

Cattle futures strengthened Tuesday, helped along by recently higher wholesale beef values and likely lower fed cattle carcass weights in the near term due to the severe winter weather.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.16 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 74¢ higher (22¢ higher at the back to $1.75 higher in spot Feb).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Last week, FOB live prices were $172/cwt. in the Southern, Plains $173 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $272-$275 in Nebraska and $275 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.57 higher Tuesday afternoon at 294.99/cwt. Select was $7.42 higher at $279.98/cwt.

The higher dollar helped pressure Wheat futures, leading Corn futures along.

The higher U.S. dollar helped pressure Wheat futures, pulling Corn along.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 10¢ to 14¢ lower.

Lower South American production estimates helped support Soybean futures. They closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher through near Aug and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday as yield for the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 231 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 17 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 28 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 27¢ to 37¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Perhaps the more domestic retail beef consumers change the more they stay the same. Consider recent research conducted by Kansas State University (K-State) with partial funding from the Kansas Beef Council. More than 3,000 consumers responded to a nationally representative survey aimed at determining the current importance of specific beef attributes to consumers.

Freshness (51% of respondents), price (51%) and food safety (49%) were overwhelmingly ranked as the top three attributes by consumers overall. Flavorful, juicy and tender ranked fourth.

“On the other end of our ranking spectrum were 1) supporting local farmers, 2) nutritious content, and 3) low carbon beef. Less than one‐quarter of respondents indicated any of these three were among the most important,” according to K-State researchers. “A surprising 57% of our respondents placed low carbon beef as least important. Given elevating importance of public concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and contributions of beef cattle production to greenhouse gases, as well as branded products being developed in this space, we expected more consumers to rank this attribute important.”

With that said, researchers note each of the nine attributes consumer could choose were among the most important to some and the least important to others.

“This illustrates heterogeneous preferences of consumers for beef product attributes,” according to the report. “Furthermore, it indicates a variety of beef product claims can potentially be successful in attracting consumers. For example, roughly one‐quarter of consumers indicate animal welfare, no hormone/antibiotic use, supports local farmers, and nutritious content are among their three most important beef purchase decision determinants.”

These are the nine beef attributes consumers were asked to rank: price; freshness; flavorful, juicy, tender; nutritious content; safety of food; supports local farmers; low carbon beef; animal welfare; produced without use of hormones or antibiotics.

By | January 16th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 16, 2024

Futures and equity markets were closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices were at a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Last week, they wobbled on either side of steady. FOB live prices were steady to $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $172/cwt., steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $173. and steady in the western Corn Belt at $175. Dressed delivered prices were 50¢ to $2 lower in Nebraska at $272-$275 and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $275 on a light test.

Last week’s weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price was 54¢ lower at $173.47. The weighted average dressed delivered fed steer price was $1.08 lower at $273.70.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.16 higher Monday afternoon at 291.42/cwt. Select was 71¢ higher at $272.56/cwt.

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All hay production last year of 118.8 million tons was 7.1 million tons (+6.4%) more than the previous year, according to USDA’s recent annual Crop Production summary.

However, that was 7.8% less than the 10-year average for 2012-21, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.

“Total Dec. 1, 2023 hay stocks were 6.9% higher than one year earlier but were 10.8% below the 10-year average,” Peel says, in his weekly market comments. “Hay stocks in the top 10 beef cow states were up 18.5% year over year but were 7.3% below the 2012-2021 average for these states. Total Dec. 1 hay stocks in these states represented 52.8% of total U.S. hay stocks.” He adds that hay stocks were higher year over year in eight of the 10 top beef cow states. Year-over-year production was less in Kansas and Kentucky.

Although the hay situation is more positive this winter than last, Peel emphasizes hay stocks remain below the 10-year average, and current severe winter weather will significantly increase hay usage.

By | January 15th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current—Jan. 15, 2024

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 49¢ higher Friday, helped by falling Corn futures, which were pressured by the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below). Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle closed an average of $3.25 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 26¢ lower, except for unchanged and 22¢ higher in the back two contracts. Week to week on Friday, they were an average of 61¢ higher (2¢ to $1.07 higher), except for unchanged and 37¢ lower in two away contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to slow on light demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were a few FOB live trades in the Southern Plains at $172/cwt. Established prices the previous week were $172-$173.

Established FOB live prices last week were steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $173 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $174. Dressed delivered prices were 50¢ to $2 lower in Nebraska at $272-$275 and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $275 on a light test.

Through Thursday, the weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price was 33¢ lower at $174.32. The weighted average dressed delivered fed steer price was $1.11 lower at $273.63.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.37 higher Friday afternoon at 289.26/cwt. Select was $1.91 higher at $271.85/cwt. Week to week, Choice was $12.10 higher and Select was $12.32 higher.

Corn and Soybean futures fell Friday in response to higher than expected yield and production estimates in the monthly WASDE. Kansas City Wheat futures followed along, despite a reduction in expected planted area.

Corn futures closed mostly 7¢ to 10¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then mostly 4¢ to 5¢ lower. Week to week on Friday, Corn futures an average of 13’3¢ lower through the front six contracts.

Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 25¢ lower through Aug ’24 and then mostly 2¢ to 5¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ lower through May ’25 and then unchanged.

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Major U.S. financial indices were mixed Friday. Support included a more favorable inflation reading than expected in the monthly Producer Price Index for final demand, which declined 0.1% in December (seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Final demand prices were 0.1% lower in November and 0.4% lower in October.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 118 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 3 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 2 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 66¢ to 73¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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The projected five-area direct weighted average fed steer price was unchanged, compared to the previous month, in the latest monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) projects an average price of $175/cwt. in the first quarter, $177 in the second quarter, $178 in the third quarter and $183 in the fourth quarter for an annual average price of $178.

That’s with beef production this year estimated 120 million pounds more than the previous forecast at 26.1 billion pounds, based on higher expected cattle slaughter in the first half of the year, as well as higher dressed weights. The total would be 857 million pounds less (-3.2%) than the estimated 2023 total of 27 billion pounds.

Among other WASDE highlights…

USDA surprised some with higher projected corn and soybean production.

U.S. 2023-24 corn production was estimated at a record 15.3 billion bushels — 108 million bushels more than the previous estimate — based on an increase in yield to a record 177.3 bushels per acre. With supply rising more than use, 2023-24 corn stocks were projected 31 million bushels higher. The season-average corn price received by producers was lowered 5¢ to $4.80 per bushel.

USDA also projected the U.S. 2023-24 soybean production 35 million bushels more than the previous month at 4.2 billion bushels. Yield was estimated at 50.6 bushels per acre, up 0.7 bushels. With increased supplies and slightly lower residual, ending stocks were projected 35 million bushels higher at 280 million bushels.

The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2023-24 was projected 15¢ lower at $12.75 per bushel. The soybean meal price was projected $10 less at $380 per short ton. The soybean oil price was forecast 3¢ lower at 54¢ per pound.

Finally, projected 2023-24 U.S. wheat ending stocks were lowered 11 million bushels on decreased supplies more than offsetting less use.

The 2023-24 season-average farm price was forecast 10¢ lower per bushel at $7.20, based on prices received to date and expectations for futures and cash prices for the remainder of 2023-24.

By | January 14th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 12, 2024

Cattle futures faded early pressure Thursday to close higher with support including the bounce higher in Choice wholesale beef prices.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.24 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 62¢ higher (32¢ to $1.05 higher).

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.82 higher Thursday afternoon at 285.89/cwt. Select was $3.00 higher at $269.94/cwt.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill to slow on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live trades in the western Corn Belt are steady at $175/cwt. and dressed delivered sales are steady to $1 higher at $274-$275.

Action in grain futures Thursday appeared to be tied mainly to positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate and quarterly Grain Stocks report.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ higher.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 7¢ to 8¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices faltered Thursday with slightly higher inflation than expected.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3% in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.1% in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the-all items index increased 3.4% before seasonal adjustment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 15 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 3 points lower. The NASDAQ was fractionally higher.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 63¢ to 67¢ higher through the front six contracts.

By | January 11th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 11, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to mostly a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were a few early FOB live trades in the western Corn Belt at $175/cwt. and a few dressed delivered sales at $274-$275.

Last week, FOB live prices were $172-$173/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $173-$175 in Nebraska and $175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were generally $274-$275.50.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.91 higher Wednesday afternoon at 283.07/cwt. Select was $4.11 higher at $266.94/cwt.

Cattle futures consolidated to the upside Wednesday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 24¢ higher, except for 2¢ lower in spot Feb.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.01 higher.

Soybean were down on South American production forecasts Wednesday. They closed 8¢ to 12¢ lower through Aug ’24 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

Grain futures mainly held ground ahead of Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower. KC HRW Wheat futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday ahead of key inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 170 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 26 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 111 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 62¢ to 87¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports slowed in November, recording the third lowest value of 2023, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports totaled 99,029 metric tons (mt) in November, down 14% from a year ago and the second lowest of the year, while value fell 7% to $786.2 million. For the first 11 months of the year, beef exports were 13% below the record pace of 2022 at 1.18 million mt, while value declined 17% to $9.11 billion.

November beef export value equated to $380.54 per head of fed slaughter, down slightly year-over-year. The January-November average fell 13% to $394.07 per head but was still the third highest on record, trailing only 2021 and 2022.

“There are certainly bright spots for U.S. beef, with exports rebounding in Mexico and demand in several Western Hemisphere markets the strongest we’ve seen in years,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “But economic conditions in our largest Asian markets and the sharp rebound in Australian production and exports have been persistent obstacles over the past year, making it a sharp contrast with the tremendous 2022 performance for U.S. beef exports. Despite these challenges, we still see sustained demand for chilled U.S. beef, and the U.S. remains the dominant supplier of chilled beef entering Korea, Japan and Taiwan.”

By | January 10th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan.9, 2024

Cattle futures moved higher early in the day, supported by last week’s stronger cash fed cattle prices, looming performance-depressing weather and some thoughts that the bottom is in or near for Choice wholesale beef values. By the end, Feeder Cattle closed mostly higher with help from lower Corn futures, while Live Cattle finished lower, perhaps with technical pressure tied to the broader commodity sell-off.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 48¢ higher, except for an average of 21¢ lower in two contracts.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 51¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $172-$173/cwt., $3 higher in Nebraska at $173-$175/cwt. and $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $175. Dressed delivered prices were generally $1-$2 higher at $274-$275.50.

The weighted average five-area direct fed steer price last week was $1.77 higher at $174.01/cwt. The weighted average dressed steer price was $1.91 higher at $274.78.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.67 higher Monday afternoon at 278.83/cwt. Select was 17¢ lower at $259.36/cwt.

Turning to row crops, rains in South America continued to pressure Soybean futures Monday, helping lead grain futures lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 10¢ lower through Jly ’24 and then mostly 3¢ to 6¢ lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then mostly 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 9¢ to 14¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices bounced higher Monday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 216 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 66 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 319 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.54 to $3.04 lower through the front six contracts, with chatter about Saudi Arabia selling at lower prices outside of OPEC.

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The semiannual USDA Cattle report, scheduled for release Jan. 31, will provide quantification of how much the beef cow herd contracted last year but will be unable to say anything about rebuilding plans this year.

“Beef cow herd liquidation will likely slow, perhaps stop in 2024; though there is little chance of any significant rebuild for a year or more. It will, of course, depend on weather and forage conditions in the coming year,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. “The heifer retention needed to rebuild the herd will squeeze feeder supplies, feedlot production, cattle slaughter and beef production going forward. However, it is unclear how aggressive that process will be.”

Although production costs are easing, and drought conditions have improved in many regions, Peel points out producers in these regions need time for forage recovery, and in some cases, water recovery. At the same time, drought continues for some.

“With considerable uncertainty remaining about moisture and forage conditions for the coming growing season, many producers are logically taking a very cautious approach to animal stocking,” Peel says.

By | January 8th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 8, 2024

Cattle futures softened Friday with continued pressure by the week’s decline in Choice wholesale beef prices. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.26 higher Friday afternoon at 277.16/cwt. and Select was 71¢ higher at $259.53/cwt. Week to week, however, Choice was down $12.55, while Select was 80¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.26 lower. Week to week, they were an average of 88¢ higher (22¢ to $1.40 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 73¢ lower (47¢ to $1.30 lower). They were an average of 77¢ higher week to week (2¢ to $2.07 higher).

Pressure may also have stemmed from disappointment that stronger cash fed cattle prices faded at the end of the week.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light demand in all regions through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were steady to $3 higher in Nebraska at $173-$175/cwt. and $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $175. Dressed delivered prices were $1-$2 higher at $274-$275. The previous week, FOB live prices were $172-$173 in Kansas and $172 in the Texas Panhandle.

Weekly U.S. beef export sales were positive. Net U.S. beef export sales for 2023 the week ending Dec. 28 (9,500 metric tons) were up noticeably from the previous week and up 69% from the prior four-week average. Increases primarily were for China, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea.

Net U.S. beef export sales of 7,100 metric tons for 2024 were primarily for Taiwan, Mexico, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Total cattle slaughter last week of 556,000 head was 48,000 more than the previous week but 9,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Beef production for the first week of 2024 of 470.3 million pounds was 40.9 million pounds more than the previous week and 3.6 million pounds more than the same week last year.

Turning to row crops, rains in South America continued to pressure Soybean futures Friday. Export sales also applied pressure to grains. Sales were a marketing year low for corn and soybeans, while wheat export sales were 52% less than the previous week and 79% less than the prior four-week average.

Soybean futures closed mostly 11¢ to 14¢ lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Friday with support including the positive employment outlook. Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 216,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose by 15¢ (0.4%) to $34.27. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 25 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 8 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 13 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.16 to $1.62 higher through the front six contracts.

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Although the number of cattle on feed remains elevated, Andrew P. Griffith points out those cattle will wend their way through the market during the first half of this year, leaving snugger numbers in their wake.

“Calf and feeder cattle numbers will tighten in the first half of 2024 and will tighten even more the second half of the year if climatic conditions allow cattle producers to retain heifers and rebuild the cattle herd,” Griffith explains in his weekly market comments. “With that being said, the current market is set up for strong prices on all classes of cattle. The determinant of how high prices will go will eventually come down to consumer demand for beef, but there is no doubt every margin operator up and down the supply chain will be competing for a smaller quantity of cattle this year than last year.”

Griffith notes snugger numbers will include slaughter cows.

“ … there are fewer cows in general and many cow-calf producers will be trying to get one more calf to capitalize on strong calf prices in 2024 and 2025,” he explains.

By | January 7th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily-Jan. 5. 2024

Cattle futures softened Thursday with pressure including the recent free-fall in Choice wholesale beef values and relatively light volume.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.08 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $175/cwt. and $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $175. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska are $2 higher at $275.

Last week, FOB live prices were $172 in the Southern Plains. Dressed delivered prices in the western Corn Belt were $273.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.13 lower Thursday afternoon at 275.90/cwt. Select was 3¢ lower at $258.82/cwt.

Wheat futures closed higher on thoughts the bottom might be in, helping Corn futures edge higher.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally mixed to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 9¢ lower through Jan ’26.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed and narrowly mixed Thursday, following strong early support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 10 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 16 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 81 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 51¢ to 69¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Lower expected fed cattle prices than earlier expectations have helped pushed projected cattle feeding returns firmly into the red for the next five months, according to Kansas State University’s Historical and Projected Kansas Feedlot Net Returns. Keep in mind the following projections do not include price risk management.

Projected net returns for steers range from -$154.46 per head in May to -$273.56 in current January. Estimated feedlot cost of gain ranges from $110.83/cwt. in May to $122.96 in January.

The story is similar for heifers with projected net returns ranging from -$44.29 per head in May to -$240.28 in February. Estimated feedlot cost of gain ranges from $116.57/cwt. in May to $131.28 in January.

By | January 4th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 4, 2023

Cattle futures struggled to a narrowly mixed close Wednesday, pressured by lower outside markets and falling wholesale beef values through much of the session. Stronger cash fed cattle prices added support later.

Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 19¢ lower to an average of 43¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 12¢ lower in three contracts to an average of 25¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light demand in the North through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices were $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $175/cwt., where dressed delivered prices were $2 higher at $275.

FOB live prices in the western Corn Belt were $3 higher at $175. Dressed delivered prices there last week were $273.

Trade was at a standstill in the Southern Plains where FOB live prices last week were $172.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $6.31 lower Wednesday afternoon at 278.03/cwt. Select was 1¢ lower at $258.85/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally mixed to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ lower through May ’25 and then 1¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday. Part of the pressure appeared to be investor disappointment in the latest Fed minutes offering no clarity about the timing of interest rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 284 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 38 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 173 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.00 to $2.32 higher through the front six contracts.

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Overall drought conditions continue to improve, according to the last U.S. Drought Monitor of 2023 (Dec. 26). At the time, 45.7% of the continental United States was free of abnormal dryness or drought conditions. That was true of 26% of the nation a year earlier. Spun differently 34% of cattle were in areas affected by drought at the end of 2023. A year earlier, 61% of cattle were in drought areas.

At the end of December, there was a 54% chance of a historically strong El Niño during the current November-January season, according to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center. As well, current conditions suggest it could be among the five strongest El Niños recorded since 1950, according to the most recent El Niño advisory. There is a 60% chance the current El Niño will transition to neutral conditions in the April-June timeframe.

By | January 3rd, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 3, 2024

Cattle futures rallied on Tuesday, supported by last week’s stronger cash fed cattle prices and more trade volume.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.10 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.79 higher, ($1.15 to $3.42 higher), except for 82¢ lower in newly minted away Jun.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were some early FOB live sales in the western Corn Belt at $175/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $172 in the Southern Plains, $172-$173 in Nebraska and $172-$172.50 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $273.

The five-area weighted average FOB live fed steer price last week was $1.73 higher at $172.24/cwt. The average dressed delivered price was $2.49 higher at $272.87.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.37 lower Tuesday afternoon at 284.34/cwt. Select was $1.47 lower at $258.86/cwt.

The positive outlook for South America and likely technical selling helped shove Soybean futures lower, dragging Grain futures along.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 10¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 9¢ to 13¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 19¢ to 26¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Tuesday with pressure on tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 25 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 27 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 245 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.03 to $1.27 lower through the front six contracts.

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Although U.S. agricultural producer expectations for inflation subsided, producer sentiment declined slightly in December, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.

The overall reading was 1 point lower month to month in December at 114.

Both subindices of the barometer, the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations, mirrored the slight decline, settling one point below their respective November figures at 112 and 115.

The Farm Financial Performance Index increased 2 points. Since late summer, the index has climbed 11 points. At year-end, it was 21 points above the low point for 2023, which occurred in May.

“The shift in farmers’ perception of financial performance during the fall quarter corresponds with USDA’s more optimistic 2023 farm income outlook released in late November, which was $10 billion higher than their previous forecast,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Producers’ inflation expectations moderated, with 70% expecting inflation in 2024 to be less than 4%. By comparison, 50% of the producers anticipated an inflation rate of 6% or higher a year ago. When asked about interest rates, 34% of respondents said they anticipate rates declining in 2024 while 22% expect no change in interest rates in the upcoming year.

Farmers concerned about the risk of lower prices for crops and livestock decreased from 26% of respondents in December to 16% in January.

This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from Dec. 4-8.

By | January 2nd, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Jan. 1-2, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light demand in all regions through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $172/cwt., $1-$2 higher in Kansas at $172, $1 higher in Nebraska at $172-$173 and mostly $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $172-$172.50. Dressed delivered prices were $3 higher at $273.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.57 lower Friday afternoon at 289.71/cwt. Select was $1.09 higher at $260.33/cwt. Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.22 lower and Select was 82¢ lower .

Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 32.2 million head was 1.4 million head fewer (-4.2%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 26.6 billion lbs. was 1.3 billion pounds less (-4.6%).

Cattle and grain futures closed mainly narrowly mixed as traders closed the books on 2023.

Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 7¢ lower in the front three contracts to an average of 78¢ higher (12¢ to $1.82 higher). Week to week, they closed mixed, from an average of 80¢ lower in the front three contracts to an average of $2.15 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 15¢ lower to an average of 37¢ higher, except for expiring Dec closing $2.47 higher. Week to week on Friday, after $3.62 higher in expiring Dec, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 80¢ higher (2¢ to $1.50 higher), except for an average of 5¢ lower in two contracts. 

On Friday, Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then unchanged to fractionally lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed fractionally lower to 1¢ lower through Dec ’24 and then fractionally higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 11¢ to 14¢ lower.

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I had just one weekly Friday auction to report…for Dunlap Livestock Auction in Iowa, where Compared to two weeks earlier, steers weighing 550-650 lbs. sold mostly steady and Steers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold $5-$8 higher. Heifers weighing 500-600 lbs. traded mostly steady to $3 higher and then mostly $4-$7 higher at 700 lbs. There were 1,443 head on offer.

Remember, you can get a weekly market summary and highlights in the CalfNews Price Point podcast that comes out each Tuesday. You’ll find it at CalfNews.net

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Major U.S. financial indices edged lower Friday on likely year-end position squaring.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 20 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 13 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 83 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 12¢ to 18¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Steer by product value in 2023 was the highest last January at $14.28/cwt. It never reached that level again, dropping below $12 in December.

“In July, the steer, hide and offal value began to trend higher, reaching about $13.70/cwt. by late September, but the value has moderated lower over the last two months,” explain analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), in the most recent Livestock Monitor. LMIC analysts say recently lower values are due to declines for livers, tripe, tongues and tallow.

The third week of September, when steer by product value was near $13.70, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee reminded in his weekly market comments that the price was significantly higher than the $8-$9 range from 2018-2020.

“Thus, prices today contribute an additional $50 of value per head compared to 2018 through 2020, which directly translates to higher prices for finished cattle,” Griffith explained. “The driver of the byproduct value tends to be the export market as many of these products have a higher value in the international market than the domestic market. As interest rates and inflation continue to negatively influence consumers across the world, there could be some softening in byproduct values.”

By | December 30th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 29, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from moderate on moderate demand to mostly inactive on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $172/cwt., $1-$2 higher in Kansas at $172 and mostly $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $172-$172.50.

Last week, FOB live prices were $171-$172 in Nebraska. Dressed delivered prices were $270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 20¢ lower Thursday afternoon at 291.28/cwt. Select was $1.08 lower at $259.24/cwt.

Cattle futures softened Thursday amid light trade once again and perhaps with some year-end position squaring.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.42 lower (72¢ to $2.27 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ lower, except for an average of 34¢ higher at either end of the board.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ higher, helped along by increased tensions in the Black Sea.

Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 8¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 53 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 1 point higher. The NASDAQ was down 4 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.24 to $2.37 lower through the front six contracts.

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Food price increases are expected to moderate further in 2024, according to the recently updated Food Price Outlook from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

“The all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of economy-wide inflation, decreased 0.2% from October 2023 to November 2023 and was up 3.1% from November 2022,” according to ERS. “The CPI for all food decreased 0.2% from October 2023 to November 2023, and food prices were 2.9% higher than in November 2022.”

More specifically, the food-at-home CPI decreased 0.5% month to month in November and was up 1.7% year over year. Conversely, the CPI for food purchased away from home increased 0.4% from October through November was 5.3% higher than a year earlier.

Next year, ERS predicts all food prices to increase 1.2%, compared to this year’s projection of a 5.8% increase. Prices for food at home were projected to decrease 0.6% while prices for food away from home were expected to increase 4.9%.

 

 

By | December 28th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 28, 2023

Cattle futures closed mixed Wednesday in light holiday trade.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 57¢ higher (7¢ to 92¢ higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 34¢ lower (12¢ to $1.12 lower), except for 15¢ higher in waning spot Dec.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $171/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $170-$171 in Kansas, $171-$172 in Nebraska and $170 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.83 lower Wednesday at 291.48/cwt. Select was 87¢ lower at $260.32/cwt.

Grain futures closed lower Wednesday on likely profit taking.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 3¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 11¢ lower

Soybean futures closed unchanged to 3¢ higher through Nov ’24 and then 1¢ to to 2¢ lower.        

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday with continued optimism tied to the lower inflation and interest rate outlook.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 111 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 24 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 99¢ to $1.46 lower through the front six contracts.

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Although Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) edged higher month to month in December to 41.7, it remained below growth neutral for the fourth consecutive month. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. 

“Higher interest rates and a credit squeeze are having a significant and negative impact on Rural Mainstreet businesses,” according to Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. “Approximately 13.3% of bank CEOs indicated that their local economy was already in a recession while another 43.3% expect a recession in early 2024.”

When asked to name the greatest 2024 economic threat for community banks, approximately four of 10 identified a downturn in farm income as the chief hazard.

Even though the RMI confidence index climbed to 43.3 from November’s record low 21.2, higher interest rates, deposit outflows and a slowing farm economy over the past several months continued to constrain business confidence.

The Rural Mainstreet Index is a unique index covering 10 regional states dependent on agriculture and/or energy. It focuses on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300.

By | December 27th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 27, 2023

Cattle futures faded early pressure Tuesday to close higher amid light holiday trade. Support included last week’s higher cash fed cattle prices and the weekend’s harsh weather in parts of cattle feeding country. Stronger outside markets helped, as did the fact that traders had apparently already factored in last week’s Cattle on Feed Report, which showed more placements than analyst expectations ahead of the report.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.34 higher (17¢ to $2.20 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.11 higher (52¢ to $1.87 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $171/cwt., steady to $1 higher in Kansas at $171, $3-$4 higher in Nebraska at $171-$172 and $1-$3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $170. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $270 and $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $270.

Last week’s five-area direct weighted average FOB live steer price was $1.80 higher at $170.51/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $2.85 higher at $270.38.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 38¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $293.31/cwt. Select was 4¢ higher at $261.19/cwt.

Grain futures closed higher Tuesday, helped along by competitive pricing in the global market, as well as the recently weaker U.S. dollar.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 18¢ to 21¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 13¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday with follow-through support from last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 159 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 20 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 81 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.78 to $2.01 higher through the front six contracts.

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Although Friday’s Cattle on Feed report revealed the Dec. 1 feedlot inventory was 2.7% more than a year earlier, total feedlot placements from June through November were 0.3% less than the same period last year, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.

“This means that the larger feedlot inventory now is due to a slower feedlot turnover rate and not because of increased total feedlot production,” Peel says in his weekly market comments. “This is reflected in November feedlot marketings that were down 7.4% year over year. A slower feedlot marketing rate raises concerns that feedlots may not be staying current in marketings.”

Peel also points out weekly average steer carcass weights were record large over the past month at 940 pounds. However, he says, “Indications are that the heavier carcass weights reflect deliberate marketing intentions (feeding cattle longer) rather than a systemic lack of currentness in feedlots.”

By | December 26th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 25-25, 2023

Cattle futures were mixed on Friday, ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below) and amid light holiday trade.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.39 higher (97¢ to $2.07 higher). Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.91 higher ($1.85 higher at the front to $5.45 higher at the back). That’s an average of $10.59 higher over the past two weeks.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 23¢ lower in the front three contracts to an average of 18¢ higher. Week to week on Friday, they closed an average of 56¢ higher (7¢ to $1.83 higher), except for an average of 78¢ lower in near Feb and Apr. 

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in all regions through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $171/cwt., $3-$4 higher in Nebraska at $171-$172 and $1-$3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $170. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $270 and $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.80 higher Friday afternoon at $292.93/cwt. Select was 12¢ lower at $261.15/cwt.

Turning to row crops, the U.S. reopened key rail bridges connecting the nation and Mexico, which should support grain futures next week.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally higher, except for 1¢ to 3¢ lower in the front three contracts.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher through Sep ’25 and then mostly 7¢ to 8¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 18 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 8 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 29 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 33¢ to 46¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Depending on what the markets factored in ahead of time, Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report could be viewed as bearish with more placements than expected once again.

For feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity, November placements of 1.9 million head were 1.9% less than a year earlier (-37,000 head), but that was 2.2% more than estimates ahead of the report.

In terms of placement weights, 53% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less, 35% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 12% weighing 900 lbs. or more.

Marketings in November of 1.8 million head were 7.4% less year over year (140,000 head), compared to pre-report estimates of 6.7% less.

Cattle on feed Dec. 1 of 12.0 million head were 2.7% more than last year (+313,000 head), which was 0.5% more than expectations ahead of the report.

By | December 23rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 22, 2023

Cattle futures closed mostly lower amid light trade Thursday, perhaps also pressured by positioning ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed report that will come out after tomorrow’s close.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.83 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.36 lower (90¢ to $1.65 lower), except for 52¢ higher in spot Dec.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on moderate demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $1-$3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $170/cwt. Dressed, delivered prices of $270 are $2-$3 higher in Nebraska and $3 higher in the western Corn Belt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $170/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $168 in Nebraska.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.00 higher Thursday afternoon at $291.13/cwt. Select was 33¢ lower at $261.27/cwt.

Net 2023 U.S. beef export sales of 9,700 metric tons (mt) for the week ending Dec. 14 were 8% less than the previous week, but 44% more than the prior four-week average, according to USDA’s weekly Export Sales report. Increases primarily were for South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Canada and China.

Net U.S. beef export sales of 6,400 mt for 2024 were primarily for Japan, Mexico, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Turning to row crops, this week’s U.S. closure of key rail bridges connecting the nation and Mexico — hampering transport of goods and commodities — continued to cap and pressure to grain futures.

Corn futures closed 2¢ higher through Jly ’25 and then unchanged to fractionally higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 14¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices rebounded Thursday with investors apparently retrenching following the previous day’s profit taking.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 322 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 48 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 185 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 33¢ to 57¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Annual domestic U.S. commercial beef production through November of 24.8 billion pounds was 1.3 billion pounds less (-5.0%) than the same time a year earlier, according to USDA’s monthly Livestock Slaughter report. Total commercial cattle slaughter through November of 30.2 million head was 1.4 million less (-4.4%).

Total commercial red meat production for the same period of 49.9 billion pounds was 1.1 billion pounds less (-2.2%). Pork production was 1% more year over year. In addition to the 5% decline in beef production, veal production was down 11%, and lamb and mutton production was down 1%.

By | December 21st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 21, 2023

Cattle futures gained strength late in yesterday’s session, albeit amid light pre-holiday trade. Support included chatter that beef packers appear to be short-bought and may have to advance cash prices this week.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.40 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 98¢ higher (45¢ to $1.57 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Although too few to trend, there were some FOB live sales at $170/cwt. in the western Corn Belt, and a few dressed delivered sales in Nebraska at $270.

Last week, FOB live prices were $170/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $168 in Nebraska and $167-$169 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $267-$268 in Nebraska and $267 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 30¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $289.13/cwt. Select was $1.56 lower at $261.60/cwt.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then mostly fractionally lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 9¢ to 16¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday on likely profit taking.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 475 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 70 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 225 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed little changed through the front six contracts.

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Although there is no clear bottoming pattern in Cattle futures, from a technical standpoint, Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University notes the downtrend appears to be weakening.

“Cash prices for fed and feeder cattle did not have the same strength during the up move as futures did and are weakening but also not with the same strength as futures,” Koontz explains in the most recent issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center. “Regardless, 2023 is finishing up the year offering a case study of proper risk management practices and perspective. Before mid-September, there was nothing but optimism and higher – record high – prices. And after mid-September, it was the opposite during the sharp decline. Producers that purchased LRP or hedged in the third quarter of this year will realize some of those excellent returns.”

On the other end of the supply chain, Koontz explains consumer beef demand remains relatively strong but moderated in 2023. He adds that further moderation in 2024 will impact beef prices.

“The demand side will likely have important interactions with changes in supplies as cattle producers consider and eventually commit to herd building,” Koontz says.

By | December 20th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 20, 2023

Cattle futures eased lower Tuesday, awaiting cash direction and with some potential positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report. Depending on whose numbers you follow, estimates are for November placements to be about 4% less year over year with November marketings down about 7% and the Dec. 1 on-feed inventory about 2% higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 62¢ lower (20¢ to $1.27 lower), except for 65¢ higher in the back contract.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower (2¢ to 85¢ lower) except for unchanged in away Feb.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live sales were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $170/cwt., $1-$3 lower in Nebraska at $168 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $167-$169. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $4 lower in Nebraska at $267-$268 and $1-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $267.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 82¢ lower Tuesday afternoon at $288.83/cwt. Select was 56¢ lower at $263.16/cwt.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 6¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 10¢ to 13¢ higher on short covering and chatter about more exports to China.

Soybean futures closed mostly 12¢ to 17¢ lower, as traders removed some South American weather premium.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Tuesday with the most support from tech stocks, further supported by the Federal Reserve’s dovish interest rate outlook.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 251 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 27 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 98 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 97¢ to $1.12 higher through the front six contracts.

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If cash calf and feeder cattle prices this week can maintain last week’s stronger momentum, then it could set the stage for higher prices next month, according to Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly comments. He believes cash prices will be a more telling indicator over the next two holiday weeks, as the cash market has not consistently followed Feeder Cattle futures this year.

“Given the rapid decline in Feeder Cattle futures since the middle of September, the market is ready for a correction of some sort on the futures market side,” Griffith says. “Prices may not challenge previous contract highs for a while, but the market will offer producers an opportunity to hedge cattle for summer and fall of 2024 moving through the next several months.”

Moreover, Griffith suggests keeping an eye on the market for breeding females.

“The thought here is that bred female prices will escalate in the spring if forage production gets off to a good start and will continue to increase if forage production persists through summer,” Griffith says.

By | December 19th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 19, 2023

Cattle futures rallied higher Monday with follow-through support, including renewed buying interest, especially in Feeder Cattle, and firming cash fed cattle prices at the end of last week.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.40 higher ($1.97 to $2.85 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 68¢ higher (27¢ to 97¢ higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live sales were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $170/cwt., $1-$3 lower in Nebraska at $168 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $167-$169. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $4 lower in Nebraska at $267-$268 and $1-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $267.

Last week’s weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price was $1.23 lower at $168.71/cwt. The weighted average steer price in the beef was $2.10 lower at $267.53.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.71 lower Monday afternoon at $288.93/cwt. Select was $2.90 higher at $263.72/cwt.

Corn futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 13¢ to 15¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 8¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Monday with the most support from tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed fractionally higher. The S&P 500 closed 21 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 90 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.02 to $1.05 higher through the front six contracts.

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With the apparent beef cow culling rate this year of 12.1%, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says the herd likely contracted 2.0-2.5% in 2023. If so, he explains in his weekly market comments that the cow inventory at the beginning of 2024 would be about 28.2 million head, the fewest since 1961.

“The level of heifer slaughter in 2023, down just 2.8% year over year, doesn’t indicate a likelihood of many ‘extra’ heifers bred in 2023,” Peel says. “The pool of bred beef heifers is likely to remain low going into 2024, keeping the prospects of beef cow herd growth minimal in the coming year.”

You can hear more of Peel’s insights here.

By | December 18th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily_Dec. 18, 2023

Cattle futures continued higher Friday, supported by friendlier outside markets and oversold conditions.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.24 higher ($1.55 to $2.57 higher). They were an average of $6.68 higher week to week ($4.95 to $7.98 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.12 (72¢ to $1.42 higher). They were an average of $3.71 higher week to week on Friday ($2.77 to $4.27 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to slow on moderate demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Although too few to trend, there were some FOB live sales in the Southern Plains at $170/cwt. and in the western Corn Belt at $167-$168 where early dressed delivered prices were $267.

The only established trade for last week was in Nebraska with FOB live prices $1-$3 lower at $168/cwt. and dressed delivered prices steady to $4 lower at $267-$268.

The previous week, FOB live prices were $171 in the Southern Plains and $168-$171 in the western Corn Belt where dressed delivered prices were $268-$270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 68¢ lower Friday afternoon at $291.64/cwt. Select was $2.56 higher at $260.82/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 649,000 head was 14,000 head more than the previous week and 27,000 head more than the same week last year. Estimated total year-to-date cattle slaughter of 31.1 million head was 1.5 million head fewer (-4.5%) than the same period last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 25.6 billion pounds was 1.3 billion pounds less (-5.0%).

Grain futures closed higher on likely short covering.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 6¢ to 8¢ higher.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 56 points higher. The S&P 500 closed fractionally lower. The NASDAQ was up 52 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 12¢ to 16¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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 “The proportion of heifers reported in weekly federally inspected slaughter data and in weekly sales data for feeder and stocker cattle remain quite strong, particularly given historically high nominal price levels recorded this year,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the recent monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. “Possible impediments to cow/calf producers retaining heifers in their herds may be a lack of forage and continued relatively high operating expenses.”

For perspective, when accounting for inflation, ERS analysts note the average price for 750-800 lb. feeder steers at Oklahoma City this year are 16% less than the record levels of 2014-15.

Several factors are likely contributing to lower reported feeder calf prices,” ERS analysts say. “Wholesale beef prices have been trending lower since the shorter-than-expected seasonal uptick in late October. This has encouraged packers to try to minimize the prices paid for fed cattle by managing throughput. This is likely putting a squeeze on feedlot returns for calves purchased at higher levels in the summer, and coupled with declining futures prices for fed cattle, may be affecting feedlots’ willingness to pay higher prices for feeders. Further, less heifer retention is probably helping support supplies available for placement.”

 

By | December 17th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 15, 2023

Cattle futures, especially Feeder Cattle bounced back Thursday with positive weekly export sales and supported by a rally in Lean Hog futures.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.09 higher ($1.07 to $2.52 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 65¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

The only established trade so far this week is in Nebraska, albeit on a light test. FOB live prices are $1-$3 lower at $168/cwt. and dressed delivered prices are steady to $4 lower at $267-$268.

Last week, FOB live prices were $171 in the Southern Plains and $168-$171 in the western Corn Belt where dressed delivered prices were $268-$270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 68¢ higher at $292.32/cwt. Select was 95¢ lower at $258.26/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales for 2023 were 10,600 metric tons (mt) the week ending Dec. 7. Sales were noticeably higher than the previous week and 67% more than the prior four-week average, according to USDA’s weekly Export Sales report.

Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, Mexico, China and Canada. Net sales for 2024 were primarily for Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and Chile.

Grain and Soybean futures closed little changed to higher, bolstered by weekly export sales.

Corn futures closed unchanged to fractionally mixed.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices rose Thursday with follow-through support and lower Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 158 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 12 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 27 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.11 to $2.23 higher through the front six contracts.

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 Compared to the previous month’s projections, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) sliced anticipated feeder steer prices (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook (LDPO).

“Estimated steer and heifer slaughter was slower than expected in November and early December, suggesting a slower pace of marketings for the month and lowering expectations for the quarter,” ERS analysts say. “On the other hand, placements of cattle were above a year ago for the month of October, and November weekly sales data, as well as weekly import data for feeder cattle, suggest November placements could also be relatively strong.” They note less heifer retention is likely supporting heavier placements.

ERS reduced the expected fourth-quarter price for this year by $10 to $230/cwt. and the annual average price by $2.50 to $218.61. For next year, projected prices were forecast $15 lower in the first quarter at $225, $12 lower in the second at $235 and $10 lower in the third at $250. The 2024 annual average price was reduced $10.50 to $241.75.

By | December 14th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 2023

Cattle futures softened Wednesday, amid likely positioning and pressured by the commodity-wide weakness tied to Argentina’s currency devaluation.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.46 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 89¢ lower (47¢ to $1.45 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live were $171/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $169-$171 in Nebraska and $168-$171 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $267-$272 in Nebraska and $268-$270 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.14 lower Wednesday afternoon at $291.64/cwt. Select was 55¢ higher at $259.21/cwt.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 16¢ to 24¢ lower through Jly ’25.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 16¢ lower through Sep ’24, and then 4¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices charged ahead Wednesday, fueled by comments from the Federal Reserve that it may begin cutting interest rates next year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 512 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 63 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 200 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 86¢ to 99¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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All else being equal, cattle prices should remain strong through 2026, says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. That’s based on supply fundamentals.

“Cow slaughter and heifer slaughter have continued at a rapid pace, which means the beef cow herd and heifers held for beef cow replacement are going to be extremely low to begin 2024 compared to 2023,” Griffith says.

USDA will issue Jan. 1 cattle numbers January 31.

By | December 13th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 13. 2023

Cattle futures closed higher for the third consecutive trading session, helped along by a couple of days of higher Choice boxed beef cutout value and chatter about steady cash fed cattle trade this week.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.40 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.18 higher (70¢ to $1.50 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live were $171/cwt. in the Southern Plains at $171/cwt., $169-$171 in Nebraska and $168-$171 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $267-$272 in Nebraska and $268-$270 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.35 higher Tuesday afternoon at $292.78/cwt. Select was 88¢ lower at $258.66/cwt.

Kansas City Wheat futures closed 20¢ to 24¢ higher on likely short covering.

Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 3¢ higher through Jly ’25.

Soybean futures closed 6¢ to 12¢ lower, likely pressured by profit taking.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday, with further evidence of cooling inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 173 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 21 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 100 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.43 to $2.71 lower through the front six contracts.

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 Approximately 84% of all U.S. farm and ranch households earn the majority of

their total household income from off-farm sources, often using off-farm income to cover a portion of the operation’s expenses, according to the recently published 2023 edition of America’s Farms and Ranches at a Glance from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Among highlights, based on 2022…

  • 97% of U.S. farms were family farms, accounting for 90% of farm production.
  • Small family farms (gross cash farm income — GCFI — less than $350,000) made up 88% percent of the farm count, operated 46% of the farmland and generated 19% of the total value of production.
  • Large-scale family farms (GCFI of $1 million or more) accounted for 7.1% of operations, 25% of the farmland and 52% of the total value of production.
  • 26% of the value of beef production occurred on small family farms; 50% on large-scale operations.
  • Small family farms produced 53% of hay.

 

By | December 12th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 12, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher for the second consecutive trading session with apparently more confidence the bottom might be established.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.74 higher ($1.30 to $2.20 higher).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.40 higher ($1.20 to $2.80 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $3-$4 lower in the Southern Plains at $171/cwt., $4-$5 lower in Nebraska at $169 to $171 and $4-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at $168-$171. Dressed delivered prices were $3-$8 lower in Nebraska at $267-$272 and $5-$6 lower in the western Corn Belt at $268 to $270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.42 higher Monday afternoon at $290.43/cwt. Select was $1.64 higher at $259.54/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 5¢ lower through Sep ’24 and then mostly 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 26¢ to 29¢ lower on likely profit taking.

Soybean futures closed 23¢ to 32¢ higher through Aug ’24 and then mostly 14¢ to 15¢ higher, supported by a drier forecast in South America.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, with follow-through support from recent indicators of cooling inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 157 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 18 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 28 points.

CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed 9¢ to 34¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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 National beef cow slaughter so far this year is 11% less year over year but remains above the five-year average (2017-21), according to Josh Maples, Extension livestock economist at Mississippi State University. He notes wide variation among regions, in the latest Cattle Market Notes Weekly.

For instance, year-to-date beef cow slaughter in Region 4 — representing most Southeastern states — is 3% less that the same period last year but is 2% higher since Sept. 1, according to Maples. In Region 6 (AR, LA, NM, OK and TX) he says year-to-date beef cow slaughter is 17% less year over year but 11% less since Sept. 1.

“The data suggests that cow culling in the South has not decreased by as much as it has in other parts of the country,” Maples says. “Drought is likely the key culprit for this difference, especially for the higher culling totals the past few months. Cull cow prices have been above 2022 levels for most of the year – driven in part by tighter supplies of cull cows. Cull prices have increased in recent weeks despite this being a time of year when prices would seasonally decrease. Dry conditions, high input costs, and strong cull cow prices are a few factors contributing to relatively high culling levels in the Southern U.S. in 2023.”

By | December 11th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 11, 2023

Cattle futures rallied Friday with the oversold conditions, apparently expected data in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below) and chatter that the bottom might finally be etched.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.65 higher ($4.15 to $5.07 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.56 higher ($1.97 to $3.35 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $3-$4 lower in the Southern Plains at $171/cwt., mostly $3-$4 lower in Nebraska at mainly $171 and $4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $169-$171. Dressed delivered prices were $4-$8 lower in Nebraska at $267-$271 and $4-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at mostly $270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.83 lower Friday afternoon at $288.01/cwt. Select was 93¢ lower at $257.90/cwt. Week to week, Choice was down $9.45 and Select was down $7.59.

Grain and soybean futures closed lower on likely profit taking.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower, except for 3¢ to 6¢ lower in the front three contracts.

Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 7¢ lower through Sep ’25 and then mostly 1¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday, supported by consumer expectations for easing inflation, as well as a national employment report that underscored the economy’s resilience.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 199,000 in November, more than the trade expected, and the nation’s unemployment rate edged lower to 3.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 130 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 18 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 63 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.55 to $1.89 higher through the front six contracts.

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 USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) reduced the expected five-area direct fed steer price for the remainder of this year and next, in the December World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Based on increased expected feedlot placements in late 2023 that will be marketed next year and current prices, compared to the previous month, ERS reduced the expected fourth quarter price this year by $7 to $178/cwt. The projected annual price was $1.75 lower at $175.55. For next year, prices were sliced by $10 in the first quarter to $175, $9 in the second quarter to $184 and $5 in the third quarter to $177. The forecast annual average price for 2024 was reduced $7 to $178.

By | December 10th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 8, 2023

Cattle futures found support early in Thursday’s session but ended lower with pressure from cash fed cattle prices and wholesale beef values. Export news was also negative with net 2023 sales of 200 metric tons for the week ending Nov. 30. That was a marketing year low, down 98% from the previous week and down 98% from the prior four-week average.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.75 lower (57¢ to $2.50 lower), except for 12¢ higher in spot Jan.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 93¢ lower (62¢ to $1.35 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $3-$4 lower in the Southern Plains at $171/cwt., mostly $3-$4 lower in Nebraska at mainly $171 and $4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $169-$171. Dressed delivered prices are $4-$8 lower in Nebraska at $267-$271 and $4-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at mostly $270.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 72¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $289.84/cwt. Select was $1.07 lower at $258.83/cwt.

Grain and soybean futures closed higher with a mix of export news and likely some positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

Kansas City Wheat futures closed mostly 3¢ to 11¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 16¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday, led by tech stocks.

Dow 62 points higher. S&P 500 36 points higher and NASDAQ up 193 points.

WTI Crude oil futures on the CME closed 4¢ to 14¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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 Although stronger than the previous month, U.S. beef exports continued lower year over year in October, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports totaled 104,446 metric tons (mt) in October, down 17% from a year ago but 6% more the low volume posted in September. Export value was $836 million, down 11% year-over-year but 5% higher than September. Beef export value equated to $389.90 per head of fed slaughter in October, down 9% from a year ago.

“Economic headwinds in our largest Asian markets continue to weigh on demand, as consumers trade down to lower-priced proteins,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “The recovery in Asia’s foodservice sector has been limited, but we remain hopeful that it will accelerate in 2024. Recent efforts to jump-start economic activity in these countries and address weakened currencies could also improve the business climate.”

However, October exports posted significant year-over-year increases in Mexico, Central America, Taiwan, Europe and Africa, but continued to trend lower to Japan, South Korea and China.

January-October exports of U.S. beef reached 1.08 million mt, down 13% from the record pace of 2022, while value fell 17% to $8.32 billion. During the same period, beef export value equated to $395.40 per head of fed slaughter down 14%.

On the pork side of the fence, for the first 10 months of 2023, U.S. exports increased 9% year over year to 2.38 million mt, value was up 6% to $6.66 billion.

By | December 7th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 7, 2023

The previous session’s soft rally proved to be another false start as Cattle futures unraveled Wednesday with pressure from eroding Choice wholesale beef values and declining negotiated cash fed cattle prices.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $5.36 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.79 lower ($3.07 to $5.42 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from moderate on moderate demand in Kansas to slow on light demand in all other regions, through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $3-$4 lower in the Southern Plains at $171/cwt. Dressed delivered prices are $4 lower in Nebraska at $271.

Last week, dressed delivered prices were $174-$175 in Nebraska and $173-$175 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices in the western Corn Belt were $274-$275.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.19 lower Wednesday afternoon at $290.56/cwt. Select was 77¢ higher at $259.90/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ lower.

Kansas City Wheat futures closed 6¢ to 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ lower through Aug ’25 and then 6¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices declined Wednesday, fading early support forged by another indication of cooling inflation.

Private sector employment increased by 103,000 jobs in November and annual pay was up 5.6% year-over-year, according to the November ADP® National Employment Report. Job-stayers saw a 5.6% pay increase in November, the slowest pace of gains since September 2021. Job-changers, too, saw slowing pay growth, posting pay gains of 8.3%, the smallest year-over-year increase since June 2021. The premium for switching jobs is at its smallest in three years of data.

“Restaurants and hotels were the biggest job creators during the post-pandemic recovery,” says Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist. “But that boost is behind us, and   return to trend in leisure and hospitality suggests the economy as a whole will see more moderate hiring and wage growth in 2024.”

Dow 70 points lower. S&P 500 17 points lower and NASDAQ down 83 points.

WTI Crude oil futures on the CME closed $2.50 to $2.94 lower through the front six contracts.

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 Global economic growth is set to remain modest, with the impact of the necessary monetary policy tightening, weak trade and lower business and consumer confidence being increasingly felt, according to the latest Economic Outlook from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Outlook projects global GDP growth at 2.9% this year, 2.7% next year and 3.0% in 2025. Asia is expected to continue to account for the bulk of global growth in 2024-25, as it has in 2023.

“The global economy continues to confront the challenges of both low growth and elevated inflation, with a mild slowdown next year, mainly as a result of the necessary monetary policy tightening over the past two years. Inflation has declined from last year’s peaks. We expect that inflation will be back at central bank targets by 2025 in most economies,” explains OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann. “Over the longer term, our projections show a significant rise in government debt, in part as a result of a further slowdown in growth…”

The OECD projects GDP growth in the United States at 2.4% this year, 1.5% in 2024 and 1.7% in 2025 as monetary policy is expected to ease.

In the euro area, which had been relatively hard hit by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the energy price shock, GDP growth is projected at 0.6% in 2023, before rising to 0.9% in 2024 and 1.5% in 2025, according to the OECD Outlook. China is expected to grow at a 5.2% rate this year, before growth drops to 4.7% in 2024 and 4.2% in 2025 on the back of ongoing stresses in the real estate sector and continued high household saving rates.

By | December 6th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 6, 2023

Cattle future closed higher Tuesday with renewed buying interest on oversold conditions and the hopes of some that a bottom was carved with the recent aggressive selling.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.59 higher ($2.77 at the back to $4.17 higher in spot Jan).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.34 higher (90¢ to $1.90 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all regions through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

A day earlier, FOB live prices in Kansas were $3-$4 lower at mostly $171/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $175 in the Texas Panhandle, $174-$175 in Nebraska and $173-$175 in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices last week were mostly $275 in Nebraska and $274-$275 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.24 lower Tuesday afternoon at $293.75/cwt. Select was $3.70 lower at $259.13/cwt.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 8¢ higher through Jly ’24 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 1¢ to 5¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly fractionally higher through Aug ’25 and then mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Tuesday with the most support coming from tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 79 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 2 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 44 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 72¢ to 92¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Agricultural producer sentiment increased for the second consecutive month in November, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The overall index rose 5 points to a reading of 115, up 12% from a year earlier. Increased optimism was mostly attributed to farmers’ improved perceptions of their farms’ financial conditions and prospects.

“Farmers’ expectations regarding financial performance have improved, with fewer producers’ expecting worse performance than a year ago,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

The Index of Current Conditions rose 12 points to 113 while the Index of Future Expectations improved by 2 points to 116.

Top concerns for the upcoming year include higher input costs (32%), rising interest rates (26%) and lower crop and/or livestock prices (20%). Notably, there has been a shift in concern throughout the year, with fewer producers expressing worry over higher input costs compared to the beginning of the year. Instead, more producers are now concerned about rising interest rates and lower crop and livestock prices.

This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from November 13-17, 2023.

 

 

By | December 5th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 5, 2023

Cattle futures continued lower Monday with follow-through pressure from lower cash fed cattle prices and eroding boxed beef cutout values.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.78 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.65 lower ($1.27 to $2.05 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $2-$3 lower in the Southern Plains at $174-$175/cwt., $1-$2 lower in Nebraska at $174-$175 and $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $173-$175.

Dressed delivered prices were mostly $5 lower in Nebraska at $275 and $4-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at $274-$275.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was $2.32 lower at $174.45/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $4.14 lower at $274.59.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.47 lower Monday afternoon at $294.99/cwt. Select was $2.66 lower at $262.83/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 7¢ to 11¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 11¢ to 19¢ lower through Sep ’24 and then 6¢ to 9¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices softened Monday with investors apparently waiting for firmer direction.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 41 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 24 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 119 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 28¢ to $1.03 lower through the front six contracts.

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Calf and feeder cattle prices were a mixed bag last week. Steers and heifers sold steady to $10/cwt. higher in the North Central and Southeast, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. The exception was $6 lower in the Southeast for steers weighing 600 lbs. In the South Central Region, steers sold $6-$17 lower and heifers traded $17-$19 lower.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index was $7.11 lower week to week on Friday at $223.27.

“A volatile futures market has caused some confusion between buyers and sellers in the auction barns,” says AMS analysts. They note the spot contract for Live Cattle declined $6.50 in the past two weeks while spot Feeder Cattle plunged $15.

“Calf and feeder cattle prices are reeling in the current environment,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The futures market has been in an utter freefall for two and a half months, and market participants do not know what to do, given the expectations for cattle in the future based on the futures market. Thus, feedlots are bidding less for cattle ready to be placed on feed, which means everyone down the line has to bid lower for lighter-weight cattle.”

Griffith adds that prices declining faster than they rose is reminiscent of the dramatic upsurge and plunge witnessed in 2014-16, when cattle numbers were similarly sparse.

“The primary difference is that cattle producers have not started retaining heifers and growing the beef cattle herd,” Griffith explains. “This means there has been no work on the pipeline to supply feeder cattle in the coming years. Thus, the market has likely overreacted to pushing prices too low just as the market pushed prices too high earlier this year.”

By | December 4th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 4, 2023

Lower cash fed cattle prices helped pressure Cattle futures on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $5.21 lower ($4.75 to $5.60 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.10 lower ($1.55 to $2.80 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $174-$175/cwt. in all regions which was $2-$3 lower in the Southern Plains, $1-$2 lower in Nebraska and steady to $4 lower in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices were $275, which was $5 lower in Nebraska and $3-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 635,000 head was 97,000 head more than the previous holiday-shortened week but 25,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date cattle slaughter of 29.8 million head was 1.5 million head fewer (-4.7%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 24.5 billion pounds was 1.4 billion pounds less (-5.3%).

Grain futures edged higher Friday with likely short covering.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 10¢ to 17¢ lower through Aug ’24 , as traders took back some of the weather premium, given the wetter outlook in Brazil.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday on declining Treasury yields and continued investor optimism that the Fed is done raising interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 294 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 26 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 78 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.43 to $1.89 lower through the front six contracts.

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Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 were forecast $1.3 billion lower to $36.3 billion, compared to the previous quarterly report, according to USDA’s latest Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.

Beef exports were projected $300 million lower to $8.2 billion based on reduced supplies as herd contraction lowers domestic production.

Total U.S. agricultural exports in FY 2024 were projected at $169.5 billion, down $2.5 billion from the August forecast. The revision was primarily driven by reductions in grain and feed, as well as livestock, poultry, and dairy exports.

On the other side of the balance sheet, FY 2024 livestock, poultry, and dairy imports were forecast $500 million higher than the August Outlook to $27.0 billion as increased beef, pork, and dairy imports far exceed lower poultry imports. Beef imports were forecast $400 million higher to $8.9 billion as tight domestic supplies are expected to encourage increased imports.

For context, global real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was forecast to slow from 3.5% in calendar year (CY) 2022 to 3.0% percent in CY 2023 and 2.9% in CY 2024.

“The global and domestic economies continue to grow and recover from escalations in the cost of living. However, economic growth is hindered by wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, slower economic growth projections for China, and tight monetary policies,” according to analysts with USDA’s Economic research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service. “Despite these challenges, economic growth continues for many countries, though gains have been uneven.”

Domestically, analysts note the U.S. economy continues to outperform forecasts, lowering concerns about recession.

“Forecast growth for the United States’ real GDP in CY 2023 is 2.1%. CY 2024 growth is forecast at 1.5%, up from the previous 1.0% forecast,” analysts say. “This adjustment is supported by resilient consumer spending and a strong labor market. Inflation continues above targets set by the U.S. Federal Reserve.”

By | December 3rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Dec. 1, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Thursday, retracing some of the gains from the previous two sessions amid light trade, declining open interest, likely month-end position squaring, lower cash fed cattle prices.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.74 lower ($1.20 to $2.25 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.27 lower (95¢ to $1.65 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to moderate on moderate demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service

So far this week, FOB live prices are $174-$175/cwt. in all regions which is $2-$3 lower in the Southern Plains, $1-$2 lower in Nebraska and steady to $4 lower in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices are $275, which is $5 lower in Nebraska and $3-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.99 higher Thursday afternoon at $299.02/cwt. Select was 66¢ higher at $264.75/cwt.

Grain futures closed higher Thursday, supported by positive export sales. Net weekly U.S. 2023-24 Corn export sales were a marketing year high, 35% more than the previous week and up 54% from the prior four-week average.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 6¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 6¢ to 8¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ lower through Aug ’24 and then 1¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mainly higher Thursday as investor confidence seemed to grow concerning inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 520 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 17 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 32 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.90 to $2.01 lower through the front six contracts.

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Higher animal protein production costs and tighter supplies will push animal protein prices higher and constrain global consumption in 2024, according to Rabobank’s annual Global Animal Protein Outlook report.

Input costs and inflation are likely to decline, but will remain higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to the report. As well, structural changes will challenge supply chains. For instance, Rabobank analysts say demographic shifts will tighten the labor market, increasing production costs, while less population growth will slow consumption.

“Not all structural changes in the market are detrimental – many present new opportunities for businesses to improve their processes and products,” explains Justin Sherrard, Rabobank global strategist for animal protein. “Those companies that can demonstrate agility in adapting to the new environment and navigate consumer willingness to pay for certain preferences will be able to take advantage of the tighter market and come out on top.”

Closer to home, Rabobank expects U.S. beef production to be 4.5% less in 2024, compared to this year, as beef cow liquidation continues, and herd rebuilding remains on hold. This will challenge the margins of existing and developing beef packing capacity.

By | November 30th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 30, 2023

Cattle futures extended gains Wednesday, supported by renewed buying interest in the previous session.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 63¢ higher (2¢ to $1.15 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 57¢ higher (25¢ to $1.05 higher), except for 5¢ lower in the back contract.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to mostly inactive on light demand through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live sales are $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $175/cwt. and $1 lower in Nebraska at $175.

Last week, FOB live prices were $175-$178 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $280 in Nebraska and $278-$280 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.14 lower Wednesday afternoon at $297.03/cwt. Select was $2.26 lower at $264.09/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 12¢ to 16¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly fractionally higher through Sep ’25. and then 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 13 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 4 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 23 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.23 to $1.45 higher through the front six contracts.   

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Beef demand is likely to increase seasonally heading into Christmas, but Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee questions whether the support will be as strong as typical.

“It now seems apparent that consumers are feeling the squeeze on disposable income,” Griffith says in his weekly market comments. “Despite the slowdown in inflation, prices of most goods remain elevated. At the same time, sustained high energy prices are pulling on disposable income, as are higher interest rates. All of these factors are going to make it difficult for packers to push wholesale beef prices higher in the near term. The one thing that may provide support for wholesale beef prices in the near future is a reduction in beef supply, but that is probably six or more months down the road.”

Last week’s USDA Cold Storage report reflected the cusp of declining supplies.

Total pounds of beef in freezers Oct. 31 were 6% more than the previous month but 13% less year over year. Frozen pork supplies were down 6% from the previous month and down 14% from the previous year. Total red meat supplies in freezers were slightly less than the previous month and down 14% from a year earlier.

“Red meat numbers are unsurprising as production is mostly down across all categories,” according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) in the latest Livestock Monitor.

Total frozen poultry supplies were down 6% from the previous month but slightly higher than a year ago.

“Whole chickens were up 11% in broilers, and 58% in hens, while whole tom turkeys fell 3% and whole hen turkeys were even with a year ago,” LMIC analysts explain. “Parts were a different story on the turkey side with every category posting year-on-year growth. The largest increase was mechanically deboned turkey, up almost 200% from a year ago, followed by breast meat, up 82%. Chicken parts were largely lower than last year, with the exception of chicken breast, up 6%.”

By | November 29th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 29, 2023

Cattle futures have plenty of distance to cover before making up the ground lost in the previous two trading sessions, but they made a strong start with Tuesday’s rally as buyers were likely attracted by the extremely oversold conditions.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $7.29 higher, including limit-up $8.25 in spot Jan.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.44 higher ($2.87 to $4.20 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to mostly inactive on light demand through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live sales are $2 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $175/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $177 in the Southern Plains, $176 in Nebraska on light trade and $175-$178 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $280 in Nebraska and $278-$280 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 92¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $298.17/cwt. Select was $1.45 lower at $266.35/cwt.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 16¢ higher.

Corn futures closed narrowly mixed, mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 17¢ to 19¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices drifted higher Tuesday on hopes the Fed may be done raising interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 83 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 4 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 40 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.32 to $1.55 higher through the front six contracts.  

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Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) sank below growth neutral for the third consecutive month in November to its lowest level in more than three years. It declined 4 points from the previous month to 40.4. It was 49.5 in September.

“This is the weakest recorded reading since June 2020, shortly after the beginning of the pandemic and points to weaker farm and non-farm economies,” says Ernie Goss, the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. The RMI is based on a monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.

“Higher interest rates, deposit outflows and a slowing farm economy over the past several months continued to constrain the business confidence index to a record low 21.2 from 24.1 in October,” Goss explains. “This month’s reading is the most negative outlook recorded since Creighton began the monthly survey in January 2006.” He adds that approximately 57.7% of bankers expect economic conditions to worsen in the next six months.

Among other highlights…

  • For the fifth time in the past six months, farm equipment sales declined.
  • Approximately 84.5% of bankers urged the Federal Reserve to make no changes to interest rates at its next meetings in December.
  • Approximately 88.5% of bank CEOs reported that available jobs outnumbered available workers in their local economy.
By | November 28th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 28, 2023

The Cattle Futures exodus that began Friday continued on Monday with a similar degree of momentum, likely exacerbated by month-end positioning.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $6.02 lower ($4.72 to $6.52 lower). That’s an average of $12.28 lower in the past two trading sessions.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.52 lower, down an average of $6.27 in the last two sessions.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few transactions to trend, there were some early FOB live trades in the Southern Plains and the western Corn Belt at $175/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $177, $2 lower in Nebraska at $176 on light trade and steady to $3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $175-$178. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $2 lower in Nebraska at mainly $280 and $2-$4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $278-$280.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was 87¢ lower at $176.99/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $1.76 lower at $280.09.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 78¢ lower Monday afternoon at 297.25/cwt. Select was 96¢ lower at $267.80.

Grain futures closed lower amid a commodity-wide sell-off.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

Kansas City Wheat Futures closed 10¢ to 15¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed narrowly mixed but mostly fractionally higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged lower Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 56 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 8 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 9 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 48¢ to 68¢ lower through the front six contracts. 

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Based on beef cow slaughter so far this year, the beef cow inventory at the beginning of next year is likely to be at least 2.5% less year over year, says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist in his weekly market comments.

“The available supply of bred heifers (heifers expected to calve), combined with beef cow culling this year will determine the change in the beef cow inventory this year,” Peel says. “From the beginning of the year, the supply of bred heifers meant that beef cow slaughter in 2023 would have to decrease sharply — in excess of 18% year over year — in order to avoid additional herd liquidation this year. Cumulative beef cow slaughter reached a maximum year-over-year decrease of 13.8% in early September, a significant decrease, but not enough to prevent additional herd liquidation. The July Cattle report confirmed that the beef cow herd was down by 2.6% from 2022 levels by mid-year.”

Peel points out the beef cow inventory of 28.9 million head at the beginning of this year were 3.6% less than the previous year and the fewest since 1962. More importantly, he says the inventory of beef replacement heifers at the time — 5.16 million head — was 5.8% less year over year. Replacement heifers and heifers expected to calve were the fewest since 2011.

Moreover, Peel notes the inventory of heifers available for breeding (total replacement heifer inventory minus heifers expected to calve) at the beginning of the year was the fewest in 23 years of available data.

“It seems likely that the available supply of bred heifers will remain limited in 2024.  The beef cow herd will be smaller in 2024 and holding the inventory stable next year may be the most likely outcome,” Peel says.

By | November 27th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 27, 2023

Keeping in mind the holiday-shortened week and the abbreviated session to end the week, Cattle futures took a steep step lower Friday, pressured by lower cash fed cattle prices, light trade and apparent technical selling.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $6.66 lower ($5.62 to $6.80 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.75 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from light on light demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Based on the last established trade for the week, FOB live price were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $177/cwt. and steady to $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $177-$178. Dressed delivered prices were $7 lower in Nebraska at $275.

The previous week, FOB live prices in Nebraska were $178 and dressed delivered prices in the western Corn Belt were $282.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.03 higher Friday afternoon at $298.03/cwt. Select was $1.14 higher at $268.76/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 538,000 head was 98,000 head fewer than the previous week and 51,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 29.2 million head was 1.5 million head fewer (-4.7%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 24.0 billion lbs. was 1.4 billion lbs. less (-5.4%).

Net U.S. 2023 beef export sales for the week ending Nov. 16 were 10,000 metric tons, which was 12% more than the previous week but 30% less than the prior four-week average. Increases primarily were for China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Mexico.

Traders doused the weather premium in Soybean futures on Friday with the wetter forecast in Brazil, taking the grain complex along for the wide.

Soybean futures closed 20¢ to 25¢ lower through Jan ’25 and then 14¢ to 18¢ lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 5¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 9¢ to 12¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly higher Friday, led by retail stocks as the holiday season begins.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 117 point higher. The S&P 500 closed 2 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 15 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.22 to $1.56 lower through the front six contracts. 

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Choice wholesale beef prices found some seasonal footing last week with the cutout value $4.16 higher week to week on Friday at $298.03/cwt. Select was $1.94 lower at $268.76.

“The demand index for beef appears to be resetting closer to pre-pandemic levels but may lose further ground as price increases are expected to continue in the next few years,” say analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) in the latest Livestock Monitor.

LMIC’s demand index for all fresh beef was 115 in the second quarter of 2023, slightly higher than 111 in 2019, but lower than 2020-22. LMIC analysts note a similar trend for the third quarter an index value of 110. That was in line with the same time in 2014 but has declined every year since 2020.

“Pork demand has been more inconsistent in recent years, surging to a 20-year high in 2019 and then out-pacing that high again in 2022,” LMIC analysts say. “However, the years in between have seen it drop back to levels seen over the most recent decade.”

By | November 26th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 23 and 24, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Wednesday, following early support, amid light pre-holiday trade and positioning.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.14 lower (67¢ to $1.22 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 48¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was light to moderate on light to moderate demand in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $1 lower at $177/cwt.

In Nebraska, trade was slow on light demand with dressed delivered prices $2 lower at $282. FOB live prices last week were $178.

Trade was also slow on light demand in the western Corn Belt with too few transactions to trend. Last week, FOB live prices were $178 and dressed prices were $282.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.19 higher Wednesday afternoon at $297.00/cwt. Select was $1.15 lower at $267.62/cwt.

Soybean futures closed 15¢ to 20¢ lower through Aug ’24 and then 8¢ to 12¢ lower on likely profit taking.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed narrowly mixed — unchanged to 1¢ lower through Sep ’24 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, bolstered by softer Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 184 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 18 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 65 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 65¢ to 67¢ lower through the front six contracts. 

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Although historically high, cattle prices have yet to yield enough profit to trigger national herd expansion, according to James Mitchell, Extension livestock economist at the University of Arkansas in a recent issue of Cattle Market Notes Weekly.

Mitchell explains relative profitability is one of the key differences between low cattle numbers currently and the similar situation in 2014-15.

“The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) estimates 2023 cash costs at $1,088 per cow, which implies a breakeven price of $218/cwt. for a 500-pound steer. In 2014, cow costs were $879, resulting in a breakeven price of $176/cwt.,” Mitchell explains. “Enterprise budgets and cattle markets in 2023 are projecting a profit for cow-calf producers. However, relative profitability still needs to improve before seeing herd expansion on a noticeable scale.”

Moreover, Mitchell points to drought as perhaps the most important difference between today and 2014-2015. Back then, 20% of the nation’s cattle inventory were in drought areas at the end of October. This year, he notes 37% were impacted by drought.

“Other differences are due to a cattle industry that has undergone significant structural change since 2014,” Mitchell says.

By | November 22nd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 22, 2023

Cattle futures softened Tuesday with limited interest and light trade.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower, except for unchanged in away Dec.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 94¢ lower (45¢ to $1.52 lower)

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $178/cwt. in all regions and dressed prices were $282.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 6¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $295.81/cwt. Select was $2.18 lower at $268.77/cwt.

Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 11¢ higher, leading grains higher.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 4¢ to 6¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday, pressured by weaker retail sales and hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve regarding interest rates.

“Risks around the inflation forecast were seen as skewed to the upside, given the possibility that inflation might prove to be more persistent than expected or that additional adverse shocks to supply conditions might occur,” according to minutes from the last FOMC meeting. “… Participants noted that further tightening of monetary policy would be appropriate if incoming information indicated that progress toward the Committee’s inflation objective was insufficient.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 62 point lower. The S&P 500 closed 9 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 84 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed marginally mixed through the front six contracts. 

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Global beef trade is in the midst of transition as weather and cattle cycles drive beef production lower in the United States and higher in the Southern Hemisphere, according to a new Rabobank report.

Domestically, beef cow herd liquidation continues, fueled by drought and strong cattle prices. As production declines, Angus Gidley-Baird, Rabobank senior analyst, animal protein, explains exports will decline while the need for imports increase. Rabobank anticipates a 4.5% contraction in domestic beef production and a 3% decrease in consumption next year, amplifying the nation’s status as a net beef importer.

Conversely, beef production is rising in Australia, due to the cattle cycle there, drier conditions and liquidation of surplus stock, according to the report. Brazilian beef production also continues to increase. Gidley-Baird explains increased beef production from these and other countries will not offset production declines in Canada and the U.S.

“The volume balance for the major beef producing and consuming regions of the world (that we track) will remain relatively constant in 2024,” says Gidley-Baird.

Meanwhile, Rabobank expects aggregated consumption levels to drop by 1%, with gains in countries such as China, South Korea, and Brazil unable to offset declines in countries like Canada and the U.S.

By | November 21st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 21, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher Monday with the neutral to positive monthly Cattle on Feed report. However, they closed off session highs with trade likely limited by this week’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.34 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 67¢ higher (30¢ to $1.05 higher), except for an average of 21¢ lower in the front two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $178/cwt. in all regions, which was $3 lower in the Texas Panhandle, mostly $2 lower in Kansas, $3.50 lower in Nebraska and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $5 lower in Nebraska at $282 and $1-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at $282.

Last week’s weighted average five-area direct FOB fed steer price was $2.09 lower at $188.82/cwt. The dressed delivered steer price was $4.72 lower at $281.41.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.88 higher Monday afternoon at $295.75/cwt. Select was 25¢ higher at $270.95/cwt.

Soybean futures closed 20¢ to 27¢ higher through Jan ‘25 and then 12¢ to 17¢ higher with apparently more weather premium based on the South American crop.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, led by tech stocks and supported by lower Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 203 point higher. The S&P 500 closed 33 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 159 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.67 to $1.79 higher through the front six contracts.

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Increased feedlot placements the past two months have added about 200,000 head to feedlot inventories, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. However, in his weekly market comments, he emphasizes the surge mainly represents feedlots pulling cattle forward.

Ongoing drought in some areas has likely encouraged some cattle entering the market channel sooner than expected, as has the strong prices, according to Peel. As well, he explains feeder cattle imports from Mexico are 49% more year over year, boosted by drought in Mexico and price levels. He says most of those imports likely headed straight to the feedlot.

“Increased placements now will be offset by reduced placements later,” Peel says. “Total placements in the last six months, built on the recent increase and representing the majority of cattle on feed, are at the highest percentage of July 1 feeder supplies since 2011. This means that a larger percentage of available feeder supplies have already been placed in feedlots compared to recent years. Feedlot numbers will inevitably come down in the coming months, especially when heifer retention begins.”

Peel points out the estimated 2023 calf crop is 1.9% less than last year. The 2022 calf crop was down 2% from the previous year. In sum, he explains the calf crop has been decreasing since 2018 and has declined 2.5 million head (-6.9%) in the past five years.

“The recent futures market correction has reduced cash feeder prices for heavy feeder cattle and may have contributed to some fear-based sales,” Peel says. “Despite recent decreases, prices for 6-weight and heavier feeder cattle are still 30 to 40% higher compared to one year ago. In Oklahoma auctions, prices for lightweight calves and stockers have not declined and are 50+% higher year over year.”

By | November 20th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 20, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher Friday with likely positioning ahead of Friday’s neutral to positive monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.02 higher. They were an average of $2.64 higher week to week.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.16 higher on Friday and an average of $1.55 higher week to week.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to inactive on light demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $178/cwt. in all regions, which was $3 lower in the Texas Panhandle, mostly $2 lower in Kansas, $3.50 lower in Nebraska and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $5 lower in Nebraska at $282 and $1-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at $282.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 85¢ lower Friday afternoon at $293.87/cwt. Select was $3.05 higher at $270.70/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 636,000 head was 18,000 head more than the previous week but 36,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter of 28.7 million head was 1.4 million head fewer (-4.7%). Estimated year-to-date beef production of 23.5 billion lbs. was 1.3 billion lbs. less (-5.3%).

Turning to row crops, Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 7¢ lower. KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 8¢ to 10¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 15¢ to 20¢ lower through Aug ‘25 and then 7¢ to 12¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices were little changed Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1 point higher. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 11 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.61 to $2.99 higher through the front six contracts.

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Markets will likely view Friday’s Cattle on Feed report as neutral to positive, assuming traders factored in pre-report expectations.

For feedlots with 1,000 head more capacity, feedlot placements in October of 2.1 million head were 79,000 head more (+3.8%) than last year. That’s 2-3% less than various analyst expectations ahead of the report.

In terms of placement weights, 47% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less, 40% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 13% weighing 900 lbs. or more.

Marketings in October of 1.6 million head were 46,000 head fewer (-2.5%) than a year earlier, which was 0.5% less than pre-report estimates.

Cattle on feed Nov. 1 of 11.9 million head were 195,000 head more (+1.7%) than a year earlier, which was in line with expectations.

 

 

By | November 19th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 17, 2023

Cattle futures closed sharply lower Thursday with lower cash fed cattle prices and likely positioning ahead of Friday’s Monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.59 lower, except for 5¢ lower in expiring Nov.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.85 lower ($2.25 to $3.45 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from light on light to moderate demand to light on moderate demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices were $178/cwt. in all regions, which was $3 lower in the Texas Panhandle, mostly $2 lower in Kansas, $3.50 lower in Nebraska and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt.

So far this week, dressed delivered prices are $5 lower in Nebraska at $282. Dressed prices in the western Corn Belt last week were $283-$287.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.61 lower Thursday afternoon at $294.72/cwt. Select was 20¢ lower at $267.65/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales for 2023 of 8,900 metric tons the week ending Nov. 9 were 35% less than the previous week and 27% less than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Mexico, China, Japan  and Taiwan.

Turning to row crops, Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 10¢ to 12¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 19¢ to 24¢ lower through Jan ‘25 and then mostly 14¢ to 17¢ low.

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Major U.S. financial indices were little changed Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 45 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 9 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $3.17 to $3.76 lower through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) lowered expectations for feeder steer prices for the remainder of this year and the first half of next year, based on recent prices and expectations for more fed cattle and beef production.

ERS estimated beef production for next year 535 million pounds higher than last month at 25.8 billion pounds, in the November Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.

“With the addition of more heifers on feed than a year ago and higher forecast cattle imports from last month, expectations for fourth-quarter 2023 placements are raised from last month, and anticipated placements in first-half 2024 are also raised,” say ERS analysts. “This reflects an increase in expected fed cattle marketings next year, in addition to greater cow and bull slaughter.”

ERS reduced the fourth-quarter feeder steer price (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) by $14 to $240/cwt., and the annual average price for this year by $3.50 to $221.11. Prices were forecast $9 less in the first quarter of next year at $240, $1 less in the second quarter at $247 and $2 higher in the third quarter at $260. The annual average price for 2024 was lowered by $1.50 to $252.25.

Expectations for increasing feeder cattle prices in the second half of next year is based in part on fewer cattle available as time unfolds.

“The larger than expected level of placements during September has led to about 4% or 1.1 million head fewer cattle outside feedlots on Oct. 1 that are available for placements in the coming months,” ERS analysts say. “Since the Cattle on Feed series began in 1996, this is a record low for supplies outside feedlots estimated on October 1.”

By | November 16th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 16, 2023

Cattle futures gained on Wednesday, led by Feeder Cattle, helped along by positive outside markets and weaker Corn futures.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.15 higher, except for 62¢ lower in spot Nov.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.33 higher (90¢ to $1.92 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in Nebraska through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $5 lower at $282/cwt. FOB live prices last week were $181.50.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill with too few transactions to trend.

Last week, FOB live prices were $181/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $180 in Kansas and $178-$180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $283-$287 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 66¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $296.33/cwt. Select was 3¢ lower at $267.85/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 4¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices extended gains Wednesday, buoyed by a decline in the monthly Producer Price Index, another hopeful sign of cooling inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 163 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 7 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 9 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 84¢ to $1.60 lower through the front six contracts.

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Reflecting on last week’s hard selloff in Cattle futures, Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University explains underlying supply and demand fundamentals did not support a continued trek higher.

“Supplies are tightening and demand has been strong but the movement to record high prices is well in advance of that which can reasonably be supported by fundamentals,” Koontz say on the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center.

For one thing, Koontz says it is unlikely that current marketings have reduced inventories of cattle on feed for more than 120 days and more than 150 days.

“These inventories will likely weigh on the market through the end of the year,” Koontz says. “And this perspective is confirmed by changes in steer and heifer slaughter weights. Slaughter weights have climbed six of the last eight weeks – in the face of colder weather – but also following the normal seasonal pattern. However, the overall main thing we have not observed this year is tighter supplies due to herd rebuilding. The continued marketing of heifers through fall calf sales indicates herd liquidation continues.”

Moreover, while domestic consumer beef demand remains strong, Koontz notes it is weakening quarter to quarter and year over year.

By | November 15th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 15, 2023

Stronger outside markets and oversold conditions helped Cattle futures extend gains Tuesday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.63 higher (70¢ to $2.32 higher), except for 67¢ lower in spot Nov.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.24 higher.

Depending on which estimates you look at, expectations are for October placements to be about 6% higher year over year, in Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report. October marketing are expected to be about 2% less, leaving the on-feed inventory Nov. 1 about 2% higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $181/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $180 in Kansas, $181.50 in Nebraska and $178-$180 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $287 in Nebraska and $283-$287 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.18 lower Tuesday afternoon at $295.67/cwt. Select was $1.36 lower at $267.88/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 2¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 7¢ higher though Nov ‘25.

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Major U.S. financial indices rallied Tuesday with a cooling inflation reading from the Consumer Price Index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 489 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 84 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 326 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) basically unchanged through the front six contracts.

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Winter wheat condition is significantly more positive year over year, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report for the week ending Nov. 12 — 47% rated Good (39%) or Excellent (8%), compared to 32% a year earlier. On the other end of the scale, 17% was in Poor (10%) or Very Poor (7%) condition. That’s with 93% of the crop in the ground, which was on par with the five-year average.

Corn harvest was 88% complete, which was 4% less than last year but 2% more than the average. As for soybeans, 95% was harvested, compared to 96% a year earlier and 91% for average.

By | November 14th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 14, 2023

Cattle futures crawled higher Monday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.33 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 66¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $4 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $181/cwt., $5 lower in Kansas at $180, $3.50 lower in Nebraska at $181.50 and $5-$7 lower in the western Corn Belt at $178-$180. Dressed delivered prices were $5 lower in Nebraska at $287 and $5-$9 lower in the western Corn Belt at $283-$287.

The weekly weighted average five-area direct fed steer price was $5.88 lower on a live basis at $179.91/cwt. The average price in the beef was $5.78 lower at $286.14.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.61 lower Monday afternoon at $297.85/cwt. Select was $1.82 higher at $269.24/cwt.

Turning to row crops, Soybean futures closed mostly 20¢ to 34¢ higher Monday — dragging the grain complex along —  supported by the South American weather premium and export sales to China. Corn futures closed mostly 10¢ to 13¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat closed 1¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices were little changed Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 54 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 3 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 30 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.06 to $1.09 higher through the front six contracts.

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Although beef cow slaughter is 12.6% less year over year so far this year, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says the implied culling rate of 12% is more than the long-term average and indicates additional her liquidation.

“Cattle producers are taking advantage of the much stronger cattle prices this fall,” Peel says in his weekly market comments. “In numerous meetings this fall, producers have indicated to me that they are selling the majority of steers and heifers; in part to capitalize on higher prices, and in some cases, because of continuing drought and pasture and hay limitations which are making additional sales necessary.”

Peel notes reported national feeder cattle trade volume (auction, direct and video/internet) is 5.6% more year over year since Labor Day, with the majority in September.

“Taken together, the feeder marketings, feedlot placements and slaughter data all suggest that the industry continues to extract animals from the system in a manner that indicates continued liquidation,” Peel says. “Cattle numbers, generally, will continue to get tighter in 2024. When heifer retention and herd rebuilding begin, cattle numbers will get significantly tighter very quickly.”

By | November 13th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 13, 2023

Cattle futures stabilized Friday to end a week of massive declines.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.50 higher (72¢ to $1.97 higher). Week to week on Friday, they were an average of $13.13 lower ($10.87 to $13.90 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from 25¢ lower to 17¢ higher. Week to week on Friday, they were an average of $9.48 lower ($8.20 to $10.90 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $4 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $181/cwt., $5 lower in Kansas at $180, $3.50 lower in Nebraska at $181.50 and $5-$7 lower in the western Corn Belt at $178-$180. Dressed delivered prices were $5 lower in Nebraska at $287 and $5-$9 lower in the western Corn Belt at $283-$287.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.04 higher Friday afternoon at $300.46/cwt. Select was $2.00 lower at $267.42/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 618,000 head was 14,000 fewer than the previous week and 52,000 less than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date cattle slaughter of 28 million head was 1.4 million head fewer (-4.7%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 23 billion pounds was 1.3 billion pounds less (-5.3%).

Turning to row crops, Corn futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ lower. KC HRW Wheat closed 7¢ to 9¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 5¢ higher through May ’24 and then mostly 1¢ to 3¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday as Treasury yields stabilized.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 391 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 67 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 276 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.22 to $1.43 higher through the front six contracts.

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Potentially, the plateau for wholesale beef prices is etched at approximately $300/cwt., for Choice.

“Since the beginning of June, the wholesale Choice boxed beef price has traded below $300 per hundredweight six days with three of those days occurring this week,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “From 30,000 feet, it appears the market is not willing to move too far from the $300 price point in either direction.”

If that proves to be the case, then it is another clear indicator of domestic consumer demand strength, given the historically high price level. Such a price plateau could also explain why prices have yet to increase as seasonally expected.

“Consumers have been burdened by inflation and rising interest rates, which pulls disposable income towards goods other than beef. Thus, the ability to push beef prices higher will be an uphill battle despite strong beef demand,” Griffith says. “From an economic terms standpoint, the market will most likely see a shift along the demand curve as prices change instead of shifting the demand curve.”

For instance, Griffith points out demand for Prime grading beef remains intact, trading for $30-$40/cwt. more than Choice since the middle of July.

By | November 12th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 10, 2023

Cattle futures fell hard Thursday. The driving force appeared to be continuation of what began with the bearish Cattle on Feed report last month (lots more placements than anticipated) and the expectation of another negative report this month, tied to the realization supplies will be higher than thought in the shorter term. Likewise, the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below) published on Thursday confirmed expectations of more beef production than previously anticipated.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $7.28 lower ($5.50 to $7.87 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $4.11 lower ($3.25 to $5.05 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

In light tests, FOB live prices were mostly $4 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $181/cwt. and mostly $5 lower in Kansas at $180.

Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were mostly $5 lower at $287. Although too few to trend, there were a few FOB live trades at $181.50, compared to last week’s $185.

There were too few transactions to trend in the western Corn Belt, but there were some FOB live sales at $180 and some in the beef at $283-$287. Prices there last week were $185 and $292, respectively.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 67¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $299.42/cwt. Select was $1.61 lower at $269.42/cwt.

Soybean and grain futures closed lower, pressured by the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 8¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 22¢ lower through Sep ’24 and then 8¢ to 10¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday on rising bond yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 220 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 35 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 128 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 41¢ to 45¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) lowered forecast beef production for this year slightly in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). That stemmed from reduced steer and heifer slaughter offsetting higher expected cow slaughter and higher average dressed weights in the fourth quarter. However, ERS increased forecast beef production for next year by 535 million pounds (+2.1%) compared to the previous month at 25.8 billion pounds. That was based on more expected steer and heifer placements — ultimate marketings — for the remainder of this year and the first part of 2024.

Even so, the forecast weighted annual average five-area direct fed steer price was unchanged for this year at $177.30/cwt. and next year at $185. Prices are forecast at $185 in the first quarter next year, $184 in the second and $182 in the third quarter.

By | November 9th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 9, 2023

Cattle futures stabilized Wednesday after early pressure and amid strong volume.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.52 higher (57¢ to $2.32 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 82¢ higher (27¢ to $1.05 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to mostly inactive on very light demand through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $185/cwt. in all regions and dressed delivered prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.63 lower Wednesday afternoon at $298.75/cwt. Select was $1.55 higher at $271.03/cwt.

Soybean and grain futures closed mainly higher ahead of Thursday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Soybean futures closed fractionally higher to 3¢ higher through Jly ’24 and then 1¢ lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 7¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 18¢ to 22¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 40 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 4 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 10 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.64 to $2.04 lower through the front six contracts with continued pressure from increasing domestic stocks and a weaker demand outlook.

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U.S. beef exports continue to decline compared to last year’s record totals but showed increasing strength in Western Hemisphere, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

September beef exports of 98,757 metric tons (mt), were 15% less year over year and the lowest of 2023. Value declined 12% to $795.5 million. Exports were lower to major Asian destinations but gained momentum in Mexico, Canada, Central America, Colombia and Africa.

For January through September, beef exports were 13% below last year’s record pace in volume (980,100 mt) and down 18% in value ($7.49 billion).

“U.S. beef continues to face tough sledding in our Asian markets, where weakness in major currencies persist and consumer confidence remains guarded,” says Dan Halstom, USMEF president and CEO. “In the past few weeks, we have seen several Asian trading partners step up efforts to stimulate their economies and ease pressure on consumers. In the meantime, bright spots for U.S. beef continue to emerge in the Western Hemisphere, led by strong demand in Mexico.”

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter was $398.73 in September, just 2% less than a year earlier. The January-September average of $396.03 was 15% less than the same time last year.

Although U.S. pork export value and volume were slightly less year over year in September, they maintain a strong pace. Through the first three quarters of this year, pork exports increased 9% year-over-year to 2.13 million mt and climbed 7% in value to just under $6 billion. 

 

By | November 8th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 8, 2023

Cattle futures slid further Tuesday with technical pressure and the apparent continued exodus of fund positions. Spot contracts closed at their lowest levels since May (Feeder Cattle) and June (Live Cattle).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $5.48 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.52 lower ($2.55 to $4.00 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $185/cwt. in all regions and dressed delivered prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.34 lower Tuesday afternoon at $300.38/cwt. Select was 88¢ lower at $269.48/cwt.

Soybean and grain futures closed lower with likely profit taking and positioning ahead of Thursday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 10¢ lower.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 8¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 10¢ to 13¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices continued higher Tuesday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 56 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 12 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 121 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $3.14 to $3.45 lower through the front six contracts.

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Agricultural producer sentiment improved slightly month to month, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. It rose 4 points to a reading of 110 in October. The Index of Current Conditions rose 3 points to 101 while the Index of Future Expectations rose 5 points to 114.

“Farmers in this month’s survey were slightly less concerned about the risk of lower prices for crops and livestock and felt somewhat better about their farms’ financial situation than a month earlier,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

The Farm Financial Performance Index rose 6 points in October, reflecting producers’ increasing optimism about their operations’ financial performance compared to the previous month.

“Reports of higher-than-expected corn and soybean yields in some Corn Belt locations, along with a modest rally in corn prices, likely contributed to this month’s rise in the financial conditions and the barometer indices,” Mintert explains.

This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from October 16-20, 2023.

By | November 7th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current—Nov. 7, 2023

Cattle futures gapped lower Monday with apparent nervousness about the inability of boxed beef prices to catch a strong seasonal grip and chatter about declining long fund positions.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.39 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.64 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $185/cwt., Prices in the North were also $185, at the upwards end of the previous week’s trading range. Dressed delivered prices were $2 higher at $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 62¢ lower Monday afternoon at $301.72/cwt. Select was $1.65 lower at $270.36/cwt.

Turning to row crops, Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 13¢ higher through Aug ‘24  Monday with follow-through support from bearish weather forecasts in South America.

Corn futures closed mostly unchanged to fractionally higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Monday with follow-through support from last week’s steamy gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 34 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 7 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 40 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 31¢ to 63¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Domestic consumer beef demand continues strong despite historically high prices.

In fact, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says post-pandemic beef demand has been exceptional since 2021 with per capita beef consumption last year of 58.9 pounds, which was equal to 2021.

Moreover, in his weekly market comments, Peel points out inflation-adjusted retail all-fresh beef prices were record high in 2021 and just slightly lower in 2022. By way of comparison, he notes the all-fresh beef price in 2015 was similar to 2021-22 but per capita beef consumption back then was 8.3% less at 54.0 pounds.

So far this year, Peel says retail all-fresh beef prices continue increasing and reached a new record monthly high in September at $7.82 per pound.

“There are certainly plenty of macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties to keep the industry nervous about beef demand,” Peel says. “However, the increasingly high quality and consumer preferences for beef continue to be reflected in strong beef demand. These factors, combined with tightening beef supplies, will keep wholesale and retail beef prices strongly supported in the coming months.”

By | November 6th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 6, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Friday on likely profit taking and week-end positioning.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.74 lower (80¢ to $2.42 lower). However, they were an average of $3.89 higher week to week ($3.45 to $5.02 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 59¢ lower on Friday (37¢ to $1.20 lower). They gained back a lion’s share of the previous week’s losses, closing an average of $3.19 higher week to week on Friday ($1.65 higher at the front to $3.92 higher at the back).

Soybean futures rallied Friday on bearish weather reports in South America, leading Corn and Wheat futures higher.

Soybean futures closed 19¢ to 24¢ higher through Nov ‘24 and then 10¢ to 17¢ higher.

Corn futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 2¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Although too few to trend, there were some FOB live prices at $185/cwt. in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, and a few dressed delivered at $292.

The previous week, FOB live prices were $185/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183-$186 in Nebraska and mostly $183-$184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.19 lower Friday afternoon at $302.34/cwt. Select was $2.33 lower at $272.01/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week was 4,000 head fewer than the previous week at 632,000 head, which was 32,000 head fewer year over year. Estimated total year-to-date cattle slaughter of 27.4 million was 1.3 million head fewer (-4.6%). Estimated year-to-date beef production of 22.5 billion pounds was 1.2 billion pounds less (-5.2%) than the same time last year.

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Major U.S. financial indices extended gains with fewer month-to-month employment gains than expected.

Total nonfarm employment increased by 150,000 in October, leaving the unemployment rate little changed at 3.9%. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7¢ to $34.00. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 222 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 40 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 184 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.57 to $1.95 lower through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) forecasts total cash labor expenses for U.S. agriculture at $43.35 billion this year. That would be 1.8% more than last year.

“The projected 2023 level would remain below the high set in 2017 in inflation-adjusted labor expenses,” say ERS analysts. “… For every $100 spent on production expenses, almost $10 goes toward labor. Total labor expenses include contract and hired labor payments but exclude non-cash employee compensation.”

By | November 5th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 3, 2023

Feeder Cattle led Live Cattle futures higher Thursday, supported by renewed trader interest, recently oversold conditions and stronger outside markets.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.93 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.43 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $185/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183-$186 in Nebraska and $183-$185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.35 higher Thursday afternoon at $304.53/cwt. Select was $4.21 lower at $274.34/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales of 17,100 metric tons for 2023, for the week ending Oct. 26, were 2% less than the previous week, but 71% more than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Canada.

Corn futures closed 2¢ to 5¢ lower through Sep ‘24 and then mostly fractionally lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 13¢ higher through Sep ‘24 and then 9¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices rallied higher Thursday with increasing investor confidence the Fed may be done raising interest rates this year. Declining Treasury Note yields and weaker labor data underscored the optimism.

Unit labor costs of nonfarm labor decreased 0.8% in the third quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. As well, weekly initial unemployment insurance claims increased 5,000 to 217,000, which was more than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 564 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 79 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 232 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.01 to $2.07 higher through the front six contracts.

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Drought conditions continue to improve nationwide, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. As of Oct. 31, 36.5% of the continental United States was enduring one degree of drought or another, compared to 62.8% a year earlier, but 28.1% three months earlier.

Snubbed to a different post, 37% of the nation’s cattle were in areas affected by drought Oct. 31, compared to 76% a year earlier.

However, drought lingers and expands in some areas. According to the latest weekly USDA Crop Progress report for the week ending Oct. 29, the states with 50% or more of pasture and range rated as Poor or Very Poor included: Kansas (55%), Louisiana (61%), Minnesota (52%), Mississippi (61%), Missouri (52%), Oregon (50%), South Carolina (52%), Texas (62%) and Washington (69%).

As for row crops, 71% of corn was in the bin compared to 74% a year earlier and 66% for average. Similarly, 85% of soybeans were harvested, which was 2% less year over year but 7% more than the five-year average.

By | November 2nd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 2, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher Wednesday amid growing open interest and thoughts cash fed cattle prices will gain this week.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 88¢ higher (57¢ to $1.27 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 71¢ higher (7¢ to $1.20 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Wednesday afternoon, with too few trades to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $185/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183-$186 in Nebraska and $183-$185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.00 lower Wednesday afternoon at $302.18/cwt. Select was 95¢ lower at $278.55/cwt.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower. KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 5¢ to 8¢ higher. Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices continued higher Wednesday, buoyed by the Fed’s decision to hold interest rates steady.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 221 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 44 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 210 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 24¢ to 58¢ lower through the front six contracts. 

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Recent heavy moisture is propping up wheat pasture prospects in key states.

For instance, in Oklahoma, Darrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says, “In recent extension meetings, many producers have indicated that they expect to have wheat pasture, if somewhat later than usual, in many cases. Some producers have already purchased stockers, betting on the come, while others will be in the market now.”

Wheat planting overall is running about even with the five-year average, according to the most recent weekly Crop Progress report — 84% planted and 64% emerged. Condition is running ahead of last year with 47% rated Good and Excellent and 18% rated Poor and Very Poor.

“Current cash and futures prices imply a value of gain from November 1 to early March of about $1.50/lb. for a 475-lb. stocker steer,” Peel explains, in his most recent weekly market comments. “Depending on specific cost assumptions, this is about equal to the breakeven for winter grazing, providing returns to wheat pasture and labor but nothing beyond that for the cattle. If Feeder Cattle futures rebound somewhat, as I expect, there may be better opportunities to lock in additional returns in the coming weeks.”

Moreover, Peel says stocker calf prices are unlikely to show any seasonal weakness in the coming weeks, given fewer calves available year over year and stronger wheat pasture demand.

By | November 1st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Nov. 1, 2023

Cattle futures closed mainly higher Tuesday amid choppy trade and following early pressure.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 25¢ higher, except for unchanged and 5¢ lower in two away contracts.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 75¢ higher, except for 37¢ lower in expiring Oct.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Tuesday afternoon, with too few trades to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $185/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183-$186 in Nebraska and $183-$185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.10 lower Tuesday afternoon at $305.18/cwt. Select was $1.39 lower at $279.50/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 12¢ to 15¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices continued higher Tuesday as investors closed out the month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 129 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 26 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 61 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 79¢ to $1.29 lower through the front six contracts.

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The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) sank below growth neutral for the second consecutive month in October, according to the latest survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.

Specifically, the overall RMI declined 5.1 month to month to a reading of 44.4. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. 

“This is the weakest recorded reading for 2023 and points to weaker farm and non-farm economies,” explains Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. “Despite this weakness, only 26.8% of banks reported tightening credit standards for farmers while 34.5% indicated that their bank had tightened credits standards for businesses in their area.”

The region’s farmland price index dropped 9.8 points to 55.6 in October. “Creighton’s survey continues to point to solid, but slowing, growth in farmland prices as farm commodity prices weaken,” Goss says.

According to bankers, these are the greatest challenge to farm and ranch profitability over the next 12 months, in approximate numbers:

          *44.4% named low or falling crop prices.

          *22.2% identified rising or high interest rates.

          *14.8% pointed to rising or high farm input costs.

          *7.4% said it was trade barriers and trade restrictions.

“Regarding the top farm challenge for the next 12 months, it is really the combination of higher interest rates, lower crop prices, high input costs and trade barriers. It would seem that the perfect storm is beginning to fester up,” says Jeff Bonnett, president of Havana National Bank in Havana, Ill.

By | October 31st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current—Oct. 31, 2023

Cattle futures extended gains Monday, supported by stronger cash fed cattle prices late last week and more positive outside markets.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 68¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 88¢ higher (12¢ higher in spot Oct to $1.30 higher at the back).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $184-$185/cwt., steady to $4 lower in Nebraska at $183-$186 and $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $183-$185. Dressed delivered prices were mainly $4 lower at $290.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB fed steer price was $2.12 lower at $184.02. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $3.51 lower at $290.06.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.71 higher Monday afternoon at $309.28/cwt. Select was 77¢ higher at $280.89/cwt.

Corn futures closed lower Monday on likely month-end profit taking. They were 2¢ lower through new crop contracts and then fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 1¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 14¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices bounced back Monday on presumably oversold conditions and positioning ahead of this week’s Fed meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 511 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 49 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 146 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.48 to $3.23 lower through the front six contracts. 

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Although less than the previous month — due to weaker expected fed cattle prices — projections are mainly positive for cattle feeding returns through June of next year, based on the latest Historical and Projected Kansas Feedlot Net Returns.

For October through June, net returns for steers are projected to be positive in six months — from $46.48 per head in March to $233.93 in November. Feedlot cost of gain for those months ranges from $110.74/cwt. in May to $133.02 in October.

Negative steer returns are projected in three months, from -$28.22 per head in April to -$2.91 in June. Projected feedlot cost of gain for those months ranges from $108.43 to $119.29.

Keep in mind that estimates assume no price risk management.

Projections follow a similar pattern for fed heifers with positive returns estimated for October through June, except for one month. During the period, positive returns range from $25.94 per head in June to $190.97 in October. Feedlot cost of gain expectations range from $115.67/cwt. in June to $142.24 in October. A negative return of $2.97 per head is projected in April with a feedlot cost of gain of $119.50.

By | October 30th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 30, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher Friday with likely positioning, helped along by stronger cash fed cattle prices as the week wore on.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 51¢ higher, except for 32¢ lower in newly minted away Oct. However, they were an average of $9.06 lower week to week.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.60 higher on Friday (35¢ to $2.92 higher). They were an average of $3.84 lower week to week.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand were moderate in the Southern Plains on Friday, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $185/cwt., which was steady in the Texas Panhandle and steady to $1 higher in Kansas.

Elsewhere, trade was slow on moderate demand. Although too few to trend, there were some FOB live trades in Nebraska at $186 and a few in the beef at $290-$292.

Established FOB live prices for the week in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt were $2-$3 lower at $183-$185. Dressed delivered prices were $4 lower at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 72¢ higher Friday afternoon at $307.57/cwt. Select was 43¢ higher at $280.12/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 636,000 head was 2,000 head fewer than the previous week and 31,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 26.8 million head was 1.3 million head fewer (-4.6%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 21.9 billion pounds was 1.2 billion pounds less (-5.2%).

Net U.S. beef export sales of 17,400 metric tons (2023) for the week ending Oct. 19 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 72% from the prior four-week average, according to USDA’s weekly Export Sales report. Increases primarily were for South Korea, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Turning to row crops, Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 2¢ to 6¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 14¢ to 19¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices mostly closed lower Friday. Besides week-end squaring, investors appeared to be rattled about higher third-quarter GDP and consumer spending than expected, and how that may push the Fed to raise interest rates further.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 366 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 19 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 47 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.63 to $2.33 higher through the front six contracts.

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Total pounds of beef in freezers Sept. 30 were 6% more than the previous month but 20% less than last year, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report. Analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) say the year-over-year reduction was driven by similar declines in both boneless and beef cuts.

“Beef stores have failed to follow the normal seasonal trend of building substantially after June and are 55 million pounds behind the five-year average. If this trend continues, then it will likely allow wholesale meat values to rise,” LMIC analysts explain, in the latest Livestock Monitor. “However, USDA NASS’s Cold Storage report does not provide a product breakout, so the increases may not be evenly distributed across product types.”

Frozen pork supplies were down 1% from the previous month and down 14% from the previous year.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 2% from the previous month but were 17% less than the same time last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were down 1% from the previous month and slightly less than a year earlier.

By | October 29th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 27, 2023

Cattle futures closed mostly lower Thursday, following stronger support early in the session.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.56 lower, except for 57¢ higher in expiring Oct. 

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 72¢ lower, (10¢ to $1.10 lower) except for 57¢ higher in waning spot Oct.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend in any region, there were some FOB live trades in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., in Nebraska at $183-$185 and in the western Corn Belt $183.

In established trade so far this week, FOB live prices are $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $183-$185. Dressed delivered prices are $4 lower in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt at $290.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184-$185/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $186-$187 in Nebraska.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 65¢ lower Thursday afternoon at 306.85/cwt. Select was $1.97 lower at $279.69/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 8¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 2¢ lower to fractionally higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 3¢ to 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 251 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 49 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 225 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.69 to $2.18 lower through the front six contracts.

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Global agricultural commodity prices this year are projected lower year over year but higher than the previous decade, according to the Baseline Update for International Agricultural Markets from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri.

“Many international commodity market prices surged in 2022. So far in 2023 prices have fallen in most cases, sometimes significantly as input costs have fallen, production recovered in key areas, and uncertainty regarding China’s economy weigh on the sector,” FAPRI analysts explain.

FAPRI projects global growth in real GDP for this year near 2.4% and below 3% for the remainder of the 7-year projection period.

“Inflation is expected to come under control and return to close to pre-COVID levels from 2024,” FAPRI analysts say. “Volatility in these markets in the near term is to be expected and it is important to note that the path these markets take will be more unpredictable than what is projected here (in the report). Furthermore, the numbers presented in this report should not be interpreted as forecasts but as projections.”

 

 

 

By | October 26th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 26, 2023

Cattle futures gained Wednesday, with apparent technical support, continued bullish long-term fundamentals and continued erosion in Corn futures.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.47 higher (55¢ to $2.62 higher). 

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 60¢ higher (32¢ higher at the back to $1.12 higher in spot Oct).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $183-$185/cwt., and dressed delivered prices are $4 lower in Nebraska at $290 in a light test.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184-$185/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $186-$187 in Nebraska. Dressed delivered prices were $294.

Choice wholesale beef prices continued the seasonal turn higher. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.52 higher Wednesday afternoon at 307.50/cwt. Select was $2.34 lower at $281.66/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 8¢ to 14¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday, pressured by disappointing quarterly earnings from Alphabet and resurgent 10-year Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 105 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 60 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 318 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.65 to $1.72 higher through the front six contracts.

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Food insecurity in the United States increased year over year in 2022, according to the recently published Household Food Security in the United States in 2022 from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Last year, 12.8% of U.S. households (17 million) were food insecure at some time during the year, meaning they had difficulty providing enough food for all their members because of a lack of resources, according to the report. In 2021, the number was 10.2%. It was 10.5% in 2020.

Moreover, 5.1% of U.S. households experience very low food security in 2022, compared to 3.8% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2020. Very low food security means the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted.

“The 2022 Household Food Security in the United States report is a sobering reminder that, while the vast majority of Americans are able to affordably feed themselves and their families, too many of our neighbors struggle to put healthy food on the table,” says Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture Secretary. “These numbers are more than statistics. They paint a picture of just how many Americans faced the heartbreaking challenge last year of struggling to meet a basic need for themselves and their children.”

The typical (median) food-secure household spent 15% more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and composition, according to the report. Estimates include food purchases with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“About 55% of food-insecure households in the survey reported that in the previous month, they participated in one or more of the three largest Federal nutrition assistance programs,” according to the report. Those programs are: SNAP; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); the National School Lunch Program.

By | October 25th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 25, 2023

Cattle futures found some stability following the previous session’s massive selloff but still eased mostly lower as early support faded.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 52¢ lower, except for $1.80 higher in spot Oct and an average of 49¢ higher in the back two contracts.

Live Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 29¢ lower in four contracts to an average of 51¢ higher (12¢ to $1.75 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Established FOB live prices in the western Corn Belt are $183-$185/cwt., which is $2-$3 lower than last week.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184-$185/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $186-$187 in Nebraska. Dressed delivered prices were $294.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.44 higher Tuesday afternoon at 305.98/cwt. Select was $2.98 higher at $284.00/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ lower with harvest pressure.

Soybean futures closed 5¢ to 9¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then 1¢ to 3¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 7¢ to 9¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday, helped along by stronger quarterly earnings than expected from the likes of Coca-Cola and Spotify.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 204 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 30 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 120 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 97¢ to $1.75 lower through the front six contracts.    

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Along with the continued high percentage of heifers on feed, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University notes the continued pace of beef cow slaughter.

“Monthly slaughter data through September shows that total female (cow + heifer) slaughter has averaged 51.8% of total cattle slaughter for the past twelve months,” Peel explains, in his weekly market comments. “This is the highest 12-month average female slaughter percentage since August 1986 … Year-to-date beef cow slaughter is down 12.9% from last year but will still result in a net culling rate over 11.5%, indicating continued liquidation. The beef cow herd will be smaller in January 2024, and it increasingly looks like the best that could happen in 2024 is to stabilize the herd with significant growth delayed until 2025 or beyond.”  

In sum, Peel explains smaller beef cow inventories are ahead, along with more dramatic reductions in cattle slaughter and beef production – and higher cattle prices – when herd rebuilding takes flight.

“This process looks to continue into 2026 at least,” Peel says. “The latest Cattle on Feed report may be taken as bearish for cattle markets in the short term, but it is certainly bullish for cattle markets in the coming years.”  

By | October 24th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 24, 2023

The bearish monthly Cattle on Feed report ravaged Cattle futures Monday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $6.51 lower ($4.20 to $7.35 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $5.44 lower ($3.92 to $6.75 lower).

Through mid-morning Tuesday, Cattle futures were recovering some of the losses.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to mostly inactive with very light demand through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices last week were $184-$185/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $186-$187 in the North. Dressed delivered prices were $294.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 84¢ lower Monday afternoon at 304.54/cwt. Select was $2.32 higher at $281.02/cwt.

Corn futures xlosed mostly 1¢ to 5¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 9¢ to 15¢ lower through Sep ‘24 and then 5¢ to 8¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly lower Monday, with follow-through pressure from rising U.S. Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 190 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 7 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 34 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.63 to $2.59 lower through the front six contracts.   

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Based on the recent Cattle on Feed report, Josh Maples, Extension livestock economist at Mississippi State University points out the percentage of heifers on feed is the highest in 20 years at 40%.

“There are two sides of this,” Maples explains in the latest Cattle Market Notes Weekly. “Heifers are helping to boost inventories now which could be viewed somewhat negatively for prices in the short term but also fewer heifers retained means a smaller calf crop next year which can be viewed as supporting high price levels in the longer term. To me, this report shut down any ideas that herd expansion is happening or will happen in 2023 and that discussion will shift toward whether expansion occurs in 2024.”

Maples also notes the increase in feedlot placements, which surprised many.

“It likely reflects producers selling now to take advantage of strong markets but also some producers being forced to sell feeder cattle a little earlier than expected due to expanding drought in many areas. This is especially true for swaths of the Southeast when drought conditions have gotten severe,” Maples says. “Looking ahead at price expectations, it is worth noting that the current strong market prices have not really reflected herd rebuilding efforts yet. The rebuilding phase will include holding back more heifers which will mean fewer heifers sold as feeder cattle. Combined with smaller calf crops as a whole, this will be the point when feeder cattle supplies get really tight and that prices have the strongest supply-side support.”

By | October 24th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 23, 2023

Feeder Cattle futures continued lower Friday, under pressure from positioning ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below) and eroding outside markets. They were trending sharply lower on Monday

On Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.48 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.05 lower (12¢ lower at the front to $1.62 lower at the back).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to inactive on light demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Based on the latest established trade, the week’s FOB live prices were $2 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $185/cwt., $1-$2 higher in Kansas at $184-$185 and $1-$2 higher in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt at $186-$187. Dressed delivered prices were $2 higher in Nebraska at $294 and $2-$4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $294.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.26 higher Friday afternoon at 305.38/cwt. Select was $1.22 higher at $278.70/cwt.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 638,000 head was 21,000 head more than the previous week but 37,000 head fewer (-5.5%) than last year. Total estimated year-to-date cattle slaughter of 26.1 million head was 1.3 million head fewer (-4.6%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 21.4 billion pounds was 1.2 billion pounds less (-5.3%).

Corn futures mostly 4¢ to 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 6¢ to 13¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 4¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Friday, once again bowing to rising U.S. Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 286 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 53 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 202 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 23¢ to 62¢ lower  through the front six contracts.  

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Markets viewed Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report as bearish, with prescient positioning ahead of the report and follow-through pressure at the outset Monday.

September placements in feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity of 2.2million head were 6.1% more than last year and significantly more than expectations.

In terms of placement weights, 37% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less, 46% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 17% weighing 900 lbs. or more.

Marketings in September of 1.7 million head were 10.6% less than the previous year and less than expected.

On-feed inventory Oct. 1 of 11.6 million head were 0.6% more than last year — more than expected — and the second largest inventory for the date since the data series began in 1996.

By | October 23rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 20, 2023

Feeder Cattle futures plunged Thursday, carrying Live Cattle along. Primary pressure appeared to be the surge in Corn futures, skittishness about consumer beef demand with lower outside markets and Friday’s Cattle on Feed report.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.83 lower ($3.55-$5.52 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed $1.77 lower ($1.45 to $2.12 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to slow on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $1-$2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $186-$187, where dressed delivered prices were $2 higher at $292-$294 in a light test.

Although too few transactions to trend, there was some live trade in Kansas at $184 and at $186 in Nebraska, where there were a few in the beef at $294.

Last week, FOB live prices were $183/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $185 in Nebraska, where dressed prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value (p.m.): 26¢ higher at 304.12/cwt. Select was 87¢ lower at $277.48/cwt.

Grain and soybean futures closed higher Thursday, in part buoyed by thoughts that the harvest low has been established.

Corn futures closed 9¢ to 13¢ higher through the front four contracts and then mostly 4¢ to 7¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Wednesday, pressured once again by rising yields for the 10-year Treasury note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 250 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 36 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 128 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 54¢ to $1.10 higher through the front six contracts.  

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Even with continued reduction in beef production next year — forecast 6% lower year over year—  USDA expects the U.S. to remain the world’s largest beef producer in 2024.

“However, the U.S. is forecast to be only the fourth-largest exporter of beef in 2024, behind Brazil, Australia, and India,” says analysts with the Economic Research Service (ERS), in the latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.“Australian beef is considered to be one of the biggest competitors for U.S. beef on the global market; total beef exports from Australia are forecast to increase 5% in 2024. Beef exports from Brazil are expected to increase 4%.”

ERS analysts note that after the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea are the largest beef importing countries in the world and are the top three destination for U.S. beef exports, accounting for 60% of U.S. exports through August of this year.

By | October 19th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 19, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $183/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $185 in the north.  Dressed delivered prices were $290-$292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.28 lower Wednesday afternoon at $303.86/cwt. Select was 28¢ lower at $278.35/cwt.

Cattle futures wobbled Wednesday amid slack interest, the wait for the week’s cash fed cattle direction and Friday’s Cattle on Feed report.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.38 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed from unchanged to an average of 21¢ higher in the front four contracts to an average of 31¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 14¢ higher through Aug ‘24. and then 4¢ to 6¢ higher, helped along by an export announcement for China.

Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 3¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday on the surge in bond yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 332 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 58 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 219 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.52 to $1.83 higher through the front six contracts. 

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) increased expected third-quarter feedlot placements in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.

“Most of these placements are expected to come from those previously anticipated in the fourth quarter,” ERS analysts say. “Further, anticipated placements in first-half 2024 are raised. This assumption of feedlot demand and availability of feeder calves results in a net increase of anticipated fed cattle marketings next year.”

Compared to projections the previous month, ERS lowered the expected feeder steer price (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) by $5 in the fourth quarter to $254/cwt. This year’s forecast annual price of $253.75 was unchanged. Expected prices in the first and second quarters of next year were also unchanged at $249 and $248, respectively.

ERS also lowered the projected fourth-quarter five-area direct fed steer price by $5 to $190/cwt., and the annual average price by $1.19 to $177.30. Price expectations were lowered $1 in the first and second quarter of next year to $187 and $185, respectively.

Fourth-quarter beef production was forecast 60 million pounds more with estimated higher cow and bull slaughter more than offsetting a slight decline in expected average carcass weights. Total 2023 beef production was forecast 35 million pounds more than the previous month at 26.98 billion pounds.

By | October 18th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 18, 2023

Cattle futures firmed Tuesday, helped along by recently higher cash fed cattle prices.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 98¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 43¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $183/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $185 in the north.  Dressed delivered prices were $290-$292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 47¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $305.14/cwt. Select was $1.43 higher at $278.63/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 2¢ to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 10¢ higher through Sep ‘24 and then 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices faltered Tuesday with pressure from higher yield rates tied to heftier monthly U.S. retail and food service sales than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 13 points higher. The S&P 500 closed fractionally lower. The NASDAQ was down 34 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed unchanged to 39¢ higher through the front six contracts.

Recent negotiated cash fed cattle prices reflect the push and pull of tight supplies while packers attempt to slow production and build live cattle inventory.

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Recent negotiated cash fed cattle prices reflect the push and pull of tight supplies while packers attempt to slow production and build live cattle inventory.

The ability to hold par on finished cattle prices during the fall lull bodes well for cattle feeders as finished cattle prices moving toward end-of-the-year holidays are expected to be supported as are wholesale beef prices, says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee says, in his weekly market comments. “The market may not experience as large a typical seasonal price increase this year as in previous years, but the failure to achieve the same percentage increase is because prices have remained strong moving from summer into the fall period.”

By | October 17th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 17, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Monday after early strength as traders appear cautious about Friday’s next Cattle on Feed report, as well as lingering future demand concerns.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.13 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average 39¢ lower, except for 7¢ higher in spot Oct.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt. and $2 higher in in the North at $185. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$4 higher in Nebraska at $292 and steady to $4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $290-$292.

The five-area direct weighted average fed steer price last week was $184.30/cwt., which was $1.58 higher than last week. The average fed steer price in the beef was $2.57 higher at $291.83.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices gained Monday on positive quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 314 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 45 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 160 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 82¢ to $1.09 lower through the front six contracts.   

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Global economic recovery from the pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine remains slow and uneven, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the recent World Economic Outlook (WEO).

“Risks to the outlook are more balanced than they were six months ago, on account of the resolution of U.S. debt ceiling tensions and Swiss and U.S. authorities having acted decisively to contain financial turbulence,” according to the WEO Executive Summary. “The likelihood of a hard landing has receded, but the balance of risks to global growth remains tilted to the downside.”

The IMF projects global economic growth to be 3.0% this year, down from 3.5% last year. Next year’s growth is projected to be 2.9%. IMF forecast U.S. GDP at 2.1% this year, the same as last year, and then 1.5% next year.

“Several forces are holding back the recovery,” according to the WEO. “Some reflect the long-term consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and increasing geo-economic fragmentation. Others are more cyclical in nature, including the effects of monetary policy tightening necessary to reduce inflation, withdrawal of fiscal support amid high debt, and extreme weather events.”

Among key risks to the economy, IMF cites: a deepening real estate crisis in China; more volatile commodity markets tied to geo-political tensions and disruptions linked to climate change; uncomfortably high inflation.”

By | October 16th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 16, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Friday on the previous day’s softer USDA price outlook, likely profit taking, and no support from the previous day’s export news.

Net U.S. beef export sales for the week ending Oct. 5 were 9,000 metric tons, according to USDA’s weekly Export Sales report. The volume was 32% less than the previous week and 29% less than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan and Canada. 

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.80 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.11 lower (27¢ lower in spot Oct to $1.57 lower at the back).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on moderate demand to limited on moderate demand through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, based on the most recent established trade, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt., $3 higher in Nebraska at $186 and $1-$3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $184-$186. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$4 higher in Nebraska at $292 and steady to $4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $290-$292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 39¢ lower Friday afternoon at $300.80/cwt. Select was 47¢ higher at $275.49/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures eased lower Friday with likely profit taking.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 11¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 4¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mainly lower Friday with pressure from surging crude oil prices in response to fears about expanding unrest in the Middle East.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 39 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 21 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 166 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $3.70 to $4.78 higher through the front six contracts.  

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Grass season is coming to a close with mixed regional year-over year conditions, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), in the latest Livestock Monitor. Nationwide, based on the latest ratings, LMIC analysts point out pasture and range rated as Poor or Very Poor ranged from 32-39%, compared to 40-plus a year ago at this time but higher than the typical ~30%.

“Range and pasture conditions for the western region of the U.S. are tracking similar to last year with ratings just above 30% rated as poor and very poor,” LMIC analysts say. “Condition ratings for the Great Plains region have been doing better than a year ago and the five-year average. The last several weeks have ranged from about 16% to 26% rated as poor and very poor, compared to over 50% at this time last year.”

Rounding out key cattle regions, they explain pasture conditions improved in the Southern Plains in recent weeks but are the worst for the year in the Southeast and Corn Belt region.

“Hay supplies across the U.S. have improved though, with the national yield and production numbers increasing,” LMIC analysts say. “Stocks may still be tight by historical standards, but for the most part it seems the U.S. was able to have not only a better grazing year, but also was able to rebuild hay inventory.”

By | October 15th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—10-13-23

Cattle futures extended gains Thursday, supported by the weeks higher cash fed cattle prices and despite some bearishness in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.35 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 94¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from moderate on moderate demand to slow on moderate demand, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., $1-$2 higher in Nebraska at $185 and $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $185.

Dressed delivered prices were $2-$4 higher in Nebraska at $292. Prices in the western Corn Belt last week were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 91¢ higher at $301.19/cwt. Select was 28¢ lower at $275.02/cwt.

Corn futures gained on the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below).

Corn futures closed 5¢ to 8¢ higher through May ’25 and then 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 8¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 29¢ to 37¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then 18¢ to 22¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices sagged Thursday with a stouter inflation reading than expected.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4% in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.6% in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.7% before seasonal adjustment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 173 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 27 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 85 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 16¢ to 58¢ lower through the front six contracts.   

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) lowered expected fed steer prices (five-area direct) for this year and next, in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). The downward revision was based on September and early-October prices, and weaker expected demand for cattle during the fourth quarter of the year. Prices for next year were lowered with expectations of price pressure from larger feedlot supplies than previously projected.

The fourth-quarter price estimate was reduced $5 to $185/cwt. and the annual price was lowered $1.20 to $177.30. Next year’s annual price was projected $1 lower at $185.

By | October 12th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 12, 2023

Cattle futures finally found some traction Wednesday on oversold conditions and a promising start to the week’s cash fed cattle trade.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.37 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.39 higher (85¢ to $1.97 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand were moderate in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon, with FOB live prices mostly $1 higher at mainly $183/cwt., according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Elsewhere, trade was limited on light demand, with too few transactions to trend.

Last week, FOB live prices were $183-$184 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $288-$290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 78¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $300.28/cwt. Select was 85¢ lower at $275.30/cwt.

Grain futures had a wait-and-see feel ahead of Thursday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 19¢ lower through Aug ‘24 and then 8¢ to 10¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 4¢ to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices gained Wednesday, as traders awaited more inflation data this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 65 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 18 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 96 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 93¢ to $2.48 lower through the front six contracts.   

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National pasture and range conditions continue ahead of last year, according to the most recent Crop Progress report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For the week ending Oct. 8, 35% of pasture and range was rated as Good (30%) or Excellent (5%), which was the same as the previous week and 12% more than a year earlier. 36% was rated as Poor (21%) or Very Poor (15%), which was 1% more than a week earlier but 10% less than a year earlier.

57% of winter wheat was planted, which was 4% less than last year but the same as the average. 29% was emerged, compared to 24% a week earlier and 30% a year earlier.

By | October 11th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 11, 2023

Cattle futures closed mostly lower Tuesday, unable to muster much interest.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 65¢ lower, except for unchanged to an average of 87¢ higher in the front three contracts.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ lower, except for 20¢ higher spot Oct.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $182/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $183-$184 in the north. Dressed delivered prices were $288-$290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.36 lower Tuesday afternoon at $301.06/cwt. Select was $1.35 lower at $276.15/cwt.

Grain futures softened a touch Tuesday with likely positioning ahead of this week’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 13¢ to 14¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 7¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices extended gains Tuesday, helped along by lower Treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 134 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 22 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 78 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 7¢ to 41¢ lower through the front six contracts.  

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Although October tends to pressure cattle markets, Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University says there are also signs of fundamental and technical challenges.

“Placements of cattle in feedlots were the strongest for the year in May and June, and these are the animals to be marketed soon,” Koontz explains, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center. “The inventory of cattle on feed over 120 days and over 150 days is high, as revealed by the most recent report. Exports are showing a response to the record high prices in terms of drifting lower. Fed steer and fed heifer weights continue the seasonal increase and are likely for the next month and a half.”

Further, Koontz points to negative sustained packer margins in August and at the end of September.

“There are a variety of factors that press for the slowing of cattle processing, sales, exports, and in the end, prices,” Koontz says. “The next several weeks will determine the strength of cattle buying. What is needed to satisfy forward contracts and what volume can be moved through cash market retail and food service channels? We will learn that. The strength of demand in the remainder of the fourth quarter will be a good signal for the following year’s potential. From a long-term perspective, what happens in the replacement market during the fall will be informative too.”

With all of that said, analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) note auction prices for calves remained impressive last week, as long as it was a premium offering.

“Plainer type calves or those coming right off the cow un-weaned and un-worked are seeing sharp discounts and are being met with light to moderate demand with health risk being the major defining component,” AMS analysts say.

By | October 10th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 10, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Monday, hamstrung by more negative outside markets, this time tied to war between Israel and Hamas.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.68 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.07 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt. and $1 lower in the north at $183. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $2 lower at $288-$290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.41 higher Monday afternoon at $303.42/cwt. Select was $1.72 higher at $277.50/cwt.

Corn and Soybean futures closed lower on harvest pressure.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 12¢ higher on geopolitical risk.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, thanks to a surprising reversal, following strong pressure from the unrest in the Middle East.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 197 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 27 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 52 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $2.66 to $3.59 higher through the front six contracts. 

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At best, next year looks to be a year of stabilizing cow numbers rather than expansion, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments.

“Neither Mother Nature nor producers seem to be in much of a hurry to get started with the next herd expansion,” Peel says. “When it does start, herd rebuilding is likely to be a lengthy process with strong prices supporting the recovery of the industry.”

Need for expansion is obvious. Peel points out the nation’s beef cow herd of 28.9 million head Jan. 1 was the smallest since 1962 with liquidation forced by drought.

“Domestic and international demand for U.S. beef will support and encourage a significantly larger herd going forward,” Peel says. “This will require increased heifer retention and reduced cow culling that will further squeeze cattle slaughter and beef production for at least 2-3 years.”

However, lingering drought and economic uncertainty appear to be delaying expansion so far.

“While some producers can’t rebuild due to continued drought or drought recovery, other producers have compelling financial needs to pay down debt or restore equity drained by drought and high input costs before retaining any heifers,” Peel says. “Some older producers are looking at the current market as a means to exit cattle production, or at least, cow-calf production. Sharply higher interest rates and the cost of financing herd rebuilding is also a deterrent for some producers and lenders, especially when combined with some skepticism about how long the current market will last.”

By | October 9th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 9, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher Friday, helped along by lower Corn futures and the notion that boxed beef cutout values might be on the cusp of carving out a seasonal low.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 79¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.01 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light to demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt. $1 lower in Nebraska at $183 and steady to $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $183-$184. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $2 lower at $288-$290 in Nebraska and steady in the western Corn belt at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.25 higher Friday afternoon at $302.01/cwt. Select was $1.01 higher at $275.78/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 628,000 head was 16,000 head more than the previous week but 41,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date cattle slaughter of 24.9 million head was 1.2 million head less (-4.5%) than the same period last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 20.4 billion pounds was 1.1 billion pounds less (5.2%).

As for row crop futures, they closed lower Friday on likely week-end profit taking.

Corn futures closed 5¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then fractionally lower to 3¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 12¢ to 16¢ lower through May ‘25 and then 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 14¢ lower through May ‘24 and then mostly 5¢ to 9¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday, despite a stronger employment situation than expected. While positive, investors have recently turned bearish on such news, believing it will lead to higher interest rates.

Non-farm payroll employment increased by 336,000 in September, according to the National Employment Summary. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%. Average hourly earnings for all employees on non-farm payrolls increased by 7¢. Hourly earnings have increased 4.2% over the past 12 months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 288 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 50 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 211 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 34¢ to 48¢ higher through the front six contracts. 

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U.S. beef exports continue lower year over but show signs of resilience, based on data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

August beef exports totaled 109,000 metric tons (mt), down 19% from last year, when export volume was the second highest on record. However, export volume was 6% more than the previous month. Export value of $883.9 million was 15% less year over year but 9% more than July.

“Beef exports certainly face significant headwinds, especially in our large Asian markets where foodservice has been slow to recover and consumer confidence is low due to the impact of rising prices and the strong U.S. dollar,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “But exports to South Korea and Japan did bounce back to some degree after a difficult July. Mexico continues to be a major bright spot for U.S. beef, and exports to other Western Hemisphere partners in Central and South America and the Dominican Republic also gained momentum in August.”

For January through August, beef exports trailed last year’s record pace by 12% in volume (881,343 mt) and 19% in value ($6.69 billion).

August beef export value equated to $395.81 per head of fed slaughter, down 10% from the previous year. The January-August average of $395.71 was 16% less than the same period last year.

By | October 8th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 6, 2023

Cattle futures closed mixed to lower Thursday with follow-through pressure from declining open interest and lingering concerns about the nation’s economy.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 65¢ lower.

Live Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 48¢ lower to an average of 27¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to mostly inactive on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $1 lower at $182/cwt. in the Southern Plains and at $183 up north. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska are steady to $2 lower at $288-$290. Dressed delivered prices were $290 in the western Corn Belt last week.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.00 higher Thursday afternoon at $297.76/cwt. Select was 10¢ lower at $274.77/cwt.

Wheat futures climbed Thursday on new shipping concerns related to Russia’s war on Ukraine, dragging Corn futures higher.

Corn futures closed 11¢ higher through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 5¢ to 8¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 18¢ to 24¢ higher through May ‘25 and then mostly 12¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 7¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then mostly 1¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed after early pressure, as investors await Friday’s jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 9 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 5 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 16 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.18 to $1.91 lower through the front six contracts.

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The U.S. meat sector continues making strides toward ensuring meat supply chain sustainability in all of its forms. Consider the second annual continuous improvement report from the Meat Institute, a founding member of Protein PACT, which developed a framework for continuous improvement in all areas of sustainability.

The report reflects commitments and actions covering an estimated 90% of meat sold in the United States, with 93% of the Meat Institute’s largest member companies (more than 2000 employees) submitting data.

Among the Meat Institute’s five focus areas for continuous improvement, one key target is the Meat Institute’s aim for 100% of members to have set a science-based emissions reduction target by 2030. To date, 14 Meat Institute general members representing the majority of meat sold in the United States, plus 10 supplier/allied members, have set or publicly committed to set targets verified by the Science-Based Targets Initiative.

 For reporting establishments that handle live animals, report highlights include:

86% have a comprehensive animal welfare program based on the Meat Institute’s Animal Handling Guidelines.

85% require suppliers to implement employee training and species-specific standards for animal care.

82% require animal welfare transport regulations/programs.

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts explains, “Ninety-eight percent of American households purchase meat, putting our sector undoubtedly at the center of sustaining healthy diets, healthy communities, and a healthy planet for generations to come.”

By | October 5th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 5, 2023

Cattle futures stabilized following steep losses in the previous session.

Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 39¢ lower to an average of 33¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 13¢ higher, except for 37¢ lower in the back contract.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from light on light demand to inactive on light demand in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. So far this week, FOB live prices are mostly $1 lower at mainly $182/cwt.

Trade in the western Corn Belt was light on light to moderate demand with FOB live prices mainly $1 lower at mostly $183/cwt. Dressed delivered prices last week were $290.

In Nebraska, trade was slow on light demand. Although too few to trend, there were some early dressed delivered sales at $291. Last week, FOB live prices were $184 and dressed delivered prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.31 lower Wednesday afternoon at $296.76/cwt. Select was 72¢ lower at $274.87/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 11¢ to 16¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mixed, from 3¢ lower to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, bolstered by labor data suggesting slower employment growth than portrayed by the previous day’s Job Openings and Turnover Summary.

Private employers added 89,000 jobs in September, according to the closely watched ADP National Employment Report. The number was less than expected and represented the slowest growth since January 2021.

“We are seeing a steepening decline in jobs,” says Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist. “Additionally, we are seeing a steady decline in wages in the past 12 months.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 127 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 34 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 176 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $4.38 to $5.01 lower through the front six contracts with apparent profit taking, given the gloomier economic outlook.

By | October 4th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 4. 2023

Cattle futures surged lower Tuesday beneath the weight of pessimistic outside markets tied to more indicators of persistent inflation.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $5.12 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.42 lower ($1.60 to $2.87 lower).

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Tuesday, pressured by more gains in already-high Treasury yields and a significantly stronger jobs market than anticipated, raising the likelihood of the Fed boosting interest rates. There were 9.6 million job openings Aug. 31, according to the Job Openings and Turnover Summary from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 430 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 58 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 248 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 1¢ to 41¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Agricultural producer sentiment declined for the second consecutive month in September, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The overall index declined 9 points from the previous month to 106. Producers expressed concern about their current situation as well as future prospects for their operations. The Current Conditions and Future Expectations Indices both declined 10 points to a reading of 98 and 109, respectively. All three indices are lower year over year. This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from September 11-15, 2023.

“Weakening prices for major crops and ongoing concerns about high production costs and interest rates weighed on producers’ minds this month,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Producers continue to point to high input costs as a top concern for their farming operations in the year ahead. One-third of respondents in this month’s survey cite it as their number one concern, followed by rising interest rates, and lower crop and/or livestock prices.

Producers remain relatively optimistic about farmland values, which Mintert says is surprising given the percentage of respondents who expressed concerns about high input costs, rising interest rates, and the risk of lower crop and livestock prices. The Short-Term Farmland Value Expectations Index was unchanged at a reading of 126, while the long-term index rose 2 points to 153. Respondents who expect farmland values to rise over the next five years continue to point to non-farm investor demand for farmland along with inflation as the top two reasons for farmland values to continue rising.

By | October 3rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 3, 2023

Cattle futures and other commodities gained on Monday with the weight of a potential government shutdown averted, if only temporarily. However, Cattle futures closed a ways from session highs.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.05 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 55¢ higher.

Grain and Soybean futures also closed higher Monday, buoyed by the averted government shutdown and new-month positioning.

Corn futures closed mostly 10¢ to 12¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 11¢ to 12¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 5¢ to 9¢ higher, except for 2¢ to 4¢ higher in the front four contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., steady to $1 lower in Nebraska at $184 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $184. Dressed delivered prices were $2 lower at $290.

The five-area direct weighted average steer price last week was $183.64/cwt. on a live basis, which was $1.09 less than the previous week. The weighted average fed steer price in the beef was $1.72 lower at $290.27.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.30 higher Monday afternoon at $303.08/cwt. Select was 94¢ higher at $276.98/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Monday despite the reprieve from the government shutdown as investors focused on high interest rates and slow economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 74 points lower. The S&P 500 closed fractionally higher. The NASDAQ was up 88 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 63¢ to $1.97 lower through the front six contracts.

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Consumers continue to pay more for increased supplies of higher-grading beef.

Since 1996, Prime-graded beef has moved from just over $5/cwt. to about $15, according to analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) in the latest Livestock Monitor.

“Natural premiums are more than $30/cwt. on average. All natural premiums only began to be reported in 2016,” LMIC analysts say. “Interestingly, Certified Angus Beef (CAB) has maintained the least volatility in the premium space compared to the others but has risen substantially in the last two decades but is still not as largely incentivized as Prime. Today’s premium for CAB beef averages just under $5/cwt.”

On the other end of the quality spectrum, discounts for lower quality grades have grown significantly during the same period.

“The average discount for Standard-graded beef has nearly doubled since 1996 and is sitting at almost -$40/cwt.,” according to LMIC. “Select discounts have slightly more than doubled in that timeframe and last week averaged -$21.67/cwt.”

By | October 2nd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Oct. 2, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Friday with traders wary of the looming government shutdown, which was subsequently averted with a temporary spending bill approved on Saturday. Traders were also closing the book on the week, month and quarter.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.38 lower. They were an average of $6.21 lower week to week on Friday ($5.97 lower at the back to $8.62 lower toward the front).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.97 lower ($1.57 to $2.50 lower). They were an average of $3.07 lower week to week on Friday. 

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to inactive on light demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., steady to $1 lower in Nebraska at $184 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $184. Dressed delivered prices were $2 lower at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 73¢ lower Friday afternoon at $300.78/cwt. Select was $1.40 lower at $276.04/cwt.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 612,000 head was 13,000 head fewer than the previous week and 55,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter of 24.2 million head was 1.1 million head fewer (-4.4%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 19.8 billion pounds was 1.1 billion pounds less (-5.2%).

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly lower Friday as investors considered the likelihood of a government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 158 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 11 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 18 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 64¢ to 92¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Grain and Soybean futures closed lower Friday as traders considered a government shutdown, as well as higher soybean and wheat stocks than expected in the quarterly Grain Stocks report (see below).

Corn futures closed 7¢ to 11¢ lower through Jly ‘25 and then 2¢ to 5¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 10¢ to 21¢ lower through Dec ‘24 and then 7¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 14¢ to 25¢ lower through Aug ‘24 and then 5¢ to 10¢ lower.

Old-crop corn stocks in all positions on Sept. 1, 2023 totaled 1.36 billion bushels, down 1% year over year. Of the total stocks, 605 million bushels were stored on farms, up 19% from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks of 756 million bushels were 13% less than the prior year. The 2022 corn for grain production estimate was revised down 15.0 million bushels from the previous estimate.

Old-crop soybeans stored in all positions totaled 268 million bushels, down 2% from the previous year. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 72.0 million bushels, up 14% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks of 196 million bushels were down 7% year over year. Soybean production for 2022 was revised down 5.93 million bushels from the previous estimate.

All wheat stored in all positions Sept. 1 totaled 1.78 billion bushels, up slightly from a year ago. On-farm stocks were estimated at 598 million bushels, up 1% from last September. Off-farm stocks of 1.18 billion bushels were down less than 1% from a year ago.

 

By | October 1st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 29, 2023

Cattle futures rebounded Thursday, helped along by more positive outside markets, including a lower U.S. dollar and weaker crude oil prices, as well as recently higher Choice boxed beef cutout values and positive weekly exports.

Net U.S. export sales for 2023 sales of 17,700 metric tons were up 29% from the previous week and up 42% from the prior four-week average, according to the Weekly U.S. Export Sales report for the week ending Sept. 21. Increases were primarily for, South Korea, China, Canada, and Mexico.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.31 higher (80¢ to $2.87 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.75 higher ($1.10 to $2.50 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live sales are steady in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt. and steady to $1 lower in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt at $184. Dressed delivered prices are $2 lower at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 56¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $301.51/cwt. Select was $1.07 lower at $277.44/cwt.

Turning to grains, ahead of Friday’s stocks report, Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher through new-crop contracts and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat closed 6¢ to 9¢ lower through May ‘25 and then 1¢ lower. Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday as investors prepared to end the month and the quarter

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 116 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 25 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 108 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.18 to $1.97 lower through the front six contracts.

By | September 28th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily-Sept. 28, 2023

Cattle futures continued lower Wednesday, with follow-through pressure from outside markets and concerns that beef demand may falter. Stronger Corn futures added weight.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.01 lower ($1.07 to $2.70 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 85¢ lower (30¢ to $1.07 lower), except for 10¢ higher in spot Oct.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to inactive on light demand through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live sales are steady in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt. and steady to $1 lower in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt at $184 in a light test. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska are $2 lower at $290 (a few up to $291) and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $290-$292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.41 higher Wednesday afternoon at $300.95/cwt. Select was 59¢ lower at $278.51/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 10¢ to 15¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 7¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Wednesday after significant early pressure from higher crude oil prices driven by supply concerns and higher bond yields related to fears of persistent inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 68 points lower. The S&P 500 closed fractionally higher. The NASDAQ was up 29 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.20 to $3.29 higher through the front six contracts. 

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The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) sank below growth neutral in September, for the first time since March, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.

Specifically, the region’s overall reading for September fell to 49.5 from August’s 50.0. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.  

“This is the weakest recorded reading since March of this year. Bankers indicated that the biggest challenge to community bank profitability over the next 12 months will be a downturn in farm income,” says Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Higher interest rates, deposit outflows and a rising regulatory environment continued to constrain the business confidence index to a much weaker 26.8 from 38.9 in August. “This month’s reading is the most negative outlook recorded since July 2022. Over the past 12 months, the regional confidence index has fallen to levels indicating a very negative outlook,” Goss says. “Approximately half of bankers expect economic conditions to worsen in the next six months.”

Even so, the region’s farmland price index climbed to 65.4 from 60.0 in August. This was the 36th straight month that the index has advanced above 50.0.  “Creighton’s survey continues to point to healthy growth in farmland prices, even as farming conditions weaken,” Goss says.

By | September 27th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 27, 2023

Cattle futures closed sharply lower Tuesday, pressured by pessimistic outside markets, demand worries, and likely some month-end and quarter-end position squaring.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.56 lower ($1.27 to $5.82 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.88 lower (85¢ lower at the back to $2.85 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $183/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184-$185 in Nebraska and $185-$186 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.94 lower Tuesday afternoon at $299.54/cwt. Select was $1.35 lower at $279.10/cwt. That’s the first time since May that Choice cutout dropped below $300.

Grain and soybean futures appeared to jockey for some position ahead of Friday’s Grain Stocks report.

Corn futures closed 1¢ lower through Sep ‘24 and then mostly fractionally mixed.

KC HRW Wheat closed 1¢ to 4¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly fractionally higher.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Tuesday, pressured by negative economic news.

Consumer confidence sagged lower than expected. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined for a second consecutive month to 103.0 (1985=100), down from an upwardly revised 108.7 in August.

“September’s disappointing headline number reflected another decline in the Expectations Index, as the Present Situation Index was little changed, says Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. Write-in responses showed that consumers continued to be preoccupied with rising prices in general, and for groceries and gasoline in particular. Consumers also expressed concerns about the political situation and higher interest rates. The decline in consumer confidence was evident across all age groups, and notably among consumers with household incomes of $50,000 or more.”

New residential home sales in August also missed expectations to the downside. Sales of new single‐family houses in August 2023 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 675,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Commerce Department. That was 8.7% below the revised July rate of 739,000.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 388 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 63 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 207 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 32¢ to 71¢ higher through the front six contracts. 

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Placements have decreased year over year for 10 of the last 12 months, with total placements down 897,000 head in the last year, says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, reflecting on the recent Cattle on Feed report.

“A 12-month moving average of placements shows that the peak annual average monthly placements occurred in December 2019, consistent with the cyclical peak in the calf crop in 2018,” Peel says, in his weekly market comments. “However, pandemic delays from 2020 into 2021and drought-enhanced placements in 2021 and 2022 have kept feedlot placements high until the last few months.” 

Peel explains the current 12-month moving average of placements for August dropped to the lowest level since May of 2017. He says average placements are expected to continue declining for the foreseeable future.

As for the on-feed inventory, the 12-month moving average peaked in September 2022 at 11.836 million head, according to Peel. 

“The September 2023 12-month moving average is 11.507 million head, down 2.8 % from the peak,” Peel says.  “Following the drought a decade ago, the 12-month moving average dropped below 11 million head in April 2013 and remained below that level for 58 months through January 2018. This was the period of rapid herd expansion in the last cattle cycle and a similar situation is likely going forward, beginning in 2024.”

By | September 26th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Podcast—Sept. 26. 2023

Cattle futures basically paddled in place Monday, looking for further direction and amid firmer Corn futures.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower, except for 25¢ higher in the back contract.

Live Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 15¢ lower to an average of 19¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., steady in Nebraska at $184-$185 and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186. Dressed delivered prices were steady at $292.

The weighted average five-area direct fed steer price was 69¢ higher on a live basis at $184.73/cwt. and 15¢ higher in the beef at $291.99.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.85 lower Monday afternoon at $301.48/cwt. Select was 2¢ higher at $280.45/cwt.

Grain and soybean futures strengthened on Monday.

Corn futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices gained to start the week as investors seemed to ignore rising bond yields on the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 43 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 17 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 59 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 4¢ to 35¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Total pounds of beef in freezers Aug. 31 were 3% more than the previous month but 18% less year than last year, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report.

Frozen pork supplies were up slightly from the previous month but down 13% from last year.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 1% percent from the previous month but down 15% from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were down slightly from the previous month but up 1% from a year ago.

By | September 25th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 25, 2023

Cattle futures bounced back from the previous day’s widespread commodity and equity sell-off, supported by stronger-late-week cash fed cattle prices and ongoing bullish fundamentals.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.34 higher (82¢ to $1.62 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.48 higher ($1.22 to $2.10 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to inactive on light demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., steady in Nebraska at $184-$185 and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186. Dressed delivered prices were steady at $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.40 higher Friday afternoon at $303.33/cwt. Select was $1.43 higher at $280.43/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 625,000 head was 7,000 head fewer than the previous week and 46,000 head fewer (-6.9%) than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 23.6 million head was 1.1 million head fewer (-4.3%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 19.3 billion pounds was 1 billion pounds less (-5.1%) than a year earlier.

Grain and soybean futures firmed on Friday.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Friday with follow-through pressure related to a potential government shutdown and projected lingering higher interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 106 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 9 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 12 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed mixed through the front six contracts, from 68¢ lower to 40¢ higher.

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Markets will likely view Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report as neutral, although placements were 1% more than expected. Other estimates were in line with pre-report estimates.

For feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity, August placements of 2.0 million head were 107,000 head fewer (-5.1%) than a year earlier.

In terms of placement weights, 36% went on feed weighing 699 pounds or less, 47% weighing 700-899 pounds and 17% weighing 900 pounds or more.

Marketings in August of 1.9 million head were 120,000 head fewer (-6.0%).

Cattle on feed Sept 1 of 11.1 million head were 248,000 head fewer (-2.2%).

By | September 23rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 22, 2023

Cattle futures and other commodity futures closed lower Thursday with the higher dollar and apparent fund selling tied to yesterday’s comments from the Fed suggesting interest rates will stay higher for longer. Wariness over Friday’s Cattle on Feed report could have added pressure.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.31 lower (90¢ lower in spot Sep to $2.87 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.80 lower ($1.57 to $2.02 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to a standstill through Thursdayafternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Dressed delivered prices were steady in Nebraska at $292/cwt. FOB live prices last week were $184-$185.

Elsewhere last week, FOB live prices were $182-$183/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $185 in the western Corn Belt, where dressed delivered prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 67¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $301.93/cwt. Select was 32¢ higher at $279.00/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales (2023) of 13,700 metric tons were up noticeably from the previous week and up 15% from the prior four-week average, according to the U.S. Export Sales report for the week ending Sept. 14. Increases primarily for Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico and Canada.

Turning to row crops, grain and Soybean futures closed lower with the pressure from outside markets.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 7¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 12¢ to 18¢ lower through May ‘25 and then mostly fractionally lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 16¢ to 26¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday with negative economic news including higher treasury yields and threats of a U.S. government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 370 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 72 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 245 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed marginally mixed through the front six contracts.

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects global economic growth to moderate the rest of this year and next amid tighter monetary policy, according to the OECD Economic Outlook, Interim Report September 2023.

“Further significant stress in financial markets has been avoided so far, after the turbulence due to bank failures earlier in the year. That said, the global economy continues to confront the challenges of elevated inflation, low growth and comparatively weak trade,” says Mathias Cormann, OECD Secretary-General.

Annual GDP growth in the United States is projected at 2.2% in 2023 and 1.3% in 2024, with the slowdown driven by cooler labor markets and the effects of tighter monetary policy. In the euro area, where demand is already subdued, GDP growth is projected to ease to 0.6% in 2023, and edge up to 1.1% in 2024 as the adverse impact of high inflation on real incomes fades. China’s recovery is weaker than expected following the post-pandemic re-opening, with growth projected at 5.1% this year and 4.6% in 2024.

The Outlook highlights a range of downside risks. For instance, according to the report, inflation could continue to prove more persistent than projected, with further disruptions to energy and food markets still possible. A further slowdown in China would dampen growth in trading partners worldwide and could drag down business confidence. Public debt remains elevated in many countries, in the aftermath of significant fiscal support rolled out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy price crisis.

By | September 21st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 21, 2023

Cattle futures rebounded Wednesday with thoughts of steady to higher cash fed cattle prices this week and perhaps some early positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.48 higher (55¢ to $2.20 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.08 higher (76¢ to $1.37 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were a few live trades in Nebraska at $186/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $182-$183/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184-$185 in Nebraska and $185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 86¢ lower Wednesday at $301.26/cwt. Select was $3.10 lower at $278.68/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ higher Wednesday, bolstered by trade worries over a commercial cargo vessel in the Black Sea running into a mine.

KC HRW Wheat closed fractionally lower to 2¢ lower through May ‘24 and then fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 9¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices eased lower Wednesday. Primary news for the day was the Fed’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged for now, as widely anticipated, but with indications of another increase coming yet this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 76 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 41 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 209 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 79¢ to 92¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Declining beef cow slaughter is helping support 90%-lean beef prices at levels 17.3% higher than last year, says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly marketing comments.

For perspective on cow numbers, Peel explains beef cow slaughter is falling in the second half of this year after increasing annually from 2015 through 2022 and may end up 15-17% less for the year.

With the related higher cull cow prices in mind, Peel advises producers to keep value factors in mind as they make culling decisions this fall.

“As a rough guide, cows will be about 100 pounds heavier for increases in each grade from Lean to Boner to Breaker. Each grade increase is roughly equivalent to an increase of one body condition score,” Peel says. “Additionally, the live weight of cows will change by roughly 25-30 pounds above and below the weight of average dressing cows for high and low dressing cows. Producers can often impact the value of cull cows by managing the weight and condition of cows before marketing.”

For instance, Peel explains cull cows that are thin (Lean, low dressing) in the fall and are retained and fed until spring may sell as Boner cows at average dressing by March with an increase in value of $400-$600/head due to added weight, grade, and condition.

“Of course, the feasibility of holding cull cows depends on time and management considerations and the availability of surplus feed,” Peel says. “Going forward, many culled cows will likely be screened for the possibility of producing another calf and selling later for slaughter value. Leaving the cull cows with a bull while adding weight after weaning may produce another increment of added value if she can be sold as a bred cow next spring at seasonally high bred cow prices.”

By | September 20th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 20, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower again Tuesday, at a more modest pace, with follow-through pressure from oversold status and awaiting the week’s cash fed cattle trade direction.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 72¢ lower (35¢ to $1.60 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 56¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $182-$183/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184-$185 in Nebraska and $185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.20 lower Tuesday afternoon at $302.12/cwt. Select was $1.63 lower at $281.78/cwt.

Corn futures firmed in the front months, buoyed by recent crop ratings. They closed mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher through Jly ‘25.

KC HRW Wheat closed 1¢ to 4¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ lower through Aug ‘24 and then unchanged to fractionally higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday as investors appeared skittish over the Fed’s looming next decision about interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 106 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 9 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 32 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 9¢ to 28¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Although less than last year, September estimates suggest corn prices are likely to remain in their current price range, says Kenny Burdine, Extension livestock economist at the University of Kentucky, in the latest Cattle Market Notes Weekly.

“Holding everything else constant, higher corn prices lead to lower feeder cattle prices as greater cost of gain decreases the value of cattle placed into feeding programs. However, higher feed prices also result in higher value of gain as feedlots are incentivized to place heavier cattle,” Burdine explains. “The September report (WASDE) suggests that opportunities to profitability add gain to calves and sell heavier cattle are likely to remain in the coming months. This will be especially true for cow-calf and growing operations that have potential to add gain through forage or alternative feeds. Producers should continue to be diligent about evaluating costs and market conditions as they make decisions about post-weaning and backgrounding programs.”

By | September 19th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 19, 2023

Cattle futures took a breather from the steamy rally and closed lower Monday on likely profit taking.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.34 lower ($1.70 lower at the back to $3.52 lower toward the front).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 84¢ lower (25¢ to $1.40 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $182-$183/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184-$185 in Nebraska and $185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 39¢ lower Monday afternoon at $305.32/cwt. Select was 29¢ higher at $283.41/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 8¢ to 12¢ lower through Sep ‘25 and then 1¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 15¢ to 23¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices trickled higher Monday as investors wait for this week’s FOMC meeting. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 6 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 3 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 1 point.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed mixed, from 15¢ lower to 71¢ higher  through the front six contracts.

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Based on current price strength, USDA’s Economic Research Service left the third-quarter feeder steer price unchanged at $250/cwt. but increased the expected fourth-quarter price by $4 to $259/cwt., in the latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. Prices were raised by $1 in the first and second quarter of next year at $249 and $248, respectively. The annual average price is projected at $225.99 this year and $253.75 next year.

“Over the last four weeks, wholesale boxed beef values have bounced back after retracting from this year’s highs set in June. However, fed cattle prices have not responded similarly,” say ERS analysts. “The August average price for fed steers in the five-area marketing region was $184.85/cwt., nearly flat since June but $41 higher year over year. This situation has allowed packer margins to improve during this time and coupled with expected higher seasonal beef demand and tightening fed cattle supplies, prices are not expected to fall further. As a result, the fed steer price forecast is unchanged at $178.50 and unchanged for next year at $186.”

Commercial beef production was forecast at 26.941 billion lbs. for this year, 40 million lbs. less than last month’s projection, based on a lower production outlook for the second half of the year.

“This is based on a slower expected pace of fed cattle marketing in September that is partially offset by higher expected cow slaughter for the rest of the year,” ERS analysts say. “As a result, the outlook for 2024 production remains unchanged from last month at 25.2 billion lbs.”

By | September 18th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 15, 2023

Cattle futures rallied sharply higher Thursday, despite the lack of weekly cash fed cattle direction as traders seemed to focus on looming tighter fourth-quarter supplies.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.24 higher ($1.67 higher in spot Sep to $4.02 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.54 higher, in active trade.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were a few live delivered trades in Nebraska at $186.50/cwt.

The only established trade for the week is $184/cwt. for FOB live prices in the western Corn Belt, the upper end of last week’s range.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $183-$184 in Nebraska. Dressed delivered prices were $290 in Nebraska and $288-$290 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.18 lower at $306.37/cwt. Select was 33¢ lower at $286.86/cwt.

Corn futures softened mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower on likely profit taking.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 7¢ to 11¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices rose Thursday, buoyed by positive economic data including robust monthly retail sales.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 331 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 37 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 112 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.46 to $1.73 higher through the front six contracts.

By | September 14th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 14, 2023

Cattle futures sauntered lower Wednesday with traders awaiting weekly cash fed cattle direction.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.03 lower (20¢ to $2.20 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 32¢ lower, (2¢ to $1.00 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were a few live trades in the western Corn Belt at $184/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $183-$184 in the North.

Dressed delivered prices were $290 in Nebraska and $288-$290 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 48¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $307.55/cwt. Select was $3.41 higher at $287.19/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ higher Wednesday with apparent technical buying and support from wheat.

KC HRW Wheat closed 10¢ to 14¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 70 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 39 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 22¢ to 32¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Even if you take drought recovery out of the equation, there’s no clear indication about how aggressive producers will retain heifers and begin herd rebuilding this fall.

“On one hand, we have the higher feeder cattle prices, current and deferred, which incentivizes the desire to retain cows and heifers to get profits in the future,” explains Elliott Dennis, Extension livestock economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “However, there are also atypically seasonal incentives to sell both cull cows and heifers at higher current market values than previously experienced and forgo profits next year.”

Dennis says declining cow numbers and strong ground beef demand are keeping cutter cow and slaughter cow prices significantly higher than both the five-year average and 2022 with general price support for cutter cows at $90/cwt.

“Higher and stronger ground beef prices and boxed beef cutter cow cutout will only keep these prices high or increase them into the fall. These seasonally higher prices should continue to impact the beef cow slaughter rate,” Dennis explains in the most recent issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center.

As it is, even though weekly beef cow slaughter rates are declining, beef cow slaughter continues above the five-year average, according to Dennis. He adds heifers, as a percentage of total cattle on feed remains at the highest level in 20 years at about 40%.

Ultimately, Dennis says the tradeoff this fall will be between cashing in on cows and heifers at high prices or chasing after $310 per cwt. values on 500-600 lb. feeder cattle in 2024.

“Producers need to be extremely diligent about calculating how much they can pay for replacement heifers, as well as how much value that heifer has when she is retained rather than sold under current market conditions,” Dennis says. “Understanding what needs to go right and what can go wrong for heifers and bred cows to pay for themselves will be extremely important this fall.”

By | September 13th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 13, 2023

Cattle futures crept mostly higher Tuesday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 54¢ higher, except for an average of 55¢ lower in the front two contracts.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 18¢ higher, except for an average of 8¢ lower in two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon with too few transactions to trend according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $183-$184 in the North.

Dressed delivered prices were $290 in Nebraska and $288-$290 in the western. Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.08 lower Tuesday afternoon at $308.03/cwt. Select was $1.66 lower at $283.78/cwt.

Corn futures faltered Tuesday, closing mostly 6¢ to 9¢ lower on the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below), which pegged harvested acres and production higher than the trade expected.

KC HRW Wheat closed 4¢ to 7¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 22¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices eased lower Tuesday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 17 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 25 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 144 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.20 to $1.55 higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) left expected fed steer prices unchanged for this year, in the September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).

The weighted average five-area direct fed steer price was projected at $184/cwt. in the third quarter and $190 in the fourth quarter for an annual average price of $178.50. The annual average price next year was forecast at $186 with prices in the first and second quarters $188 and $186, respectively.

Beef production was estimated to be 26.9 billion pounds this year, which would be 1.4 billion pounds less (-4.8%) than last year. Beef production for next year was forecasted to be 1.8 billion pounds less (-6.6%) than this year at 25.2 billion pounds.

Estimated beef production for this year was revised slightly lower, compared to the previous month’s WASDE, on a slower pace of marketings in the third quarter. “This decline is only partly offset by higher expected carcass weights in the quarter and higher expected cow slaughter in the third and fourth quarters,” ERS analysts say.

Corn

The 2023/24 U.S. corn outlook was for slightly larger supplies and ending stocks. Corn production for 2023/24 was forecast 23 million bushels higher than the previous month at 15.1 billion bushels, as greater harvested area more than offset a reduction in yield. The national average yield was forecast at 173.8 bushels per acre, down 1.3 bushels. Harvested area for grain was forecast at 87.1 million acres, up 0.8 million.

The forecast season-average corn price received by producers was unchanged at $4.90 per bushel.

 

By | September 12th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 12, 2023

Cattle futures rallied higher Monday, bolstered by higher cash fed cattle prices at the end of last week, as well as the bullish extended outlook.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.16 higher (87¢ higher in spot Sep to $2.65 higher toward the back).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 95¢ higher amid active trade.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand through Monday afternoon with too few transactions to trend according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., $1-$2 higher in Nebraska at $183-$184 and steady to $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $183-$184.

Dressed delivered prices were steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $290 and steady to $2 lower in the western. Corn belt at $288-$290.

The weighted average five-area direct fed steer price last week was 22¢ lower at $182.28/cwt. The average dressed steer price was 91¢ lower at $289.48.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.79 lower Monday afternoon at $310.11/cwt. Select was 61¢ lower at $285.54/cwt.

Corn futures firmed Monday, closing 2¢ to 3¢ higher with positioning ahead of Tuesday’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 7¢ to 9¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 87 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 29 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 156 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed narrowly mixed through the front six contracts.

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“Regardless of other fundamentals, the price of replacement female beef animals has moved significantly higher in the last month. These transactions are on the order of 50% higher than this time last year for the same regions,” says Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University, in a recent issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center. “There is not much trade yet and this is a counter-seasonal trade. But there is some evidence of herd building albeit minor.”

In the meantime, Koontz says dwindling cattle numbers and high wholesale beef values make it unlikely for markets to succumb to typical seasonal pressure this fall.

“Boxed beef values are well above $300/cwt and the Choice-Select spread is $25/cwt. These are strong values compared to the current and past year and are also seasonally strong,” Koontz explains. “The crux of the immediate outlook is where will boxed beef values head and how hard will feedlot push? Currently, the feedlot cash return is excellent and has been for the past four months.”

By | September 11th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 11, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to limited on light demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt. and steady to $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $183-$184. Prices in Nebraska the previous week were $182.

Dressed delivered prices were steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $290 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.24 higher Friday afternoon at $312.90/cwt. Select was 12¢ lower at $286.05/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter for the holiday-shortened week of 559,000 head was 70,000 head fewer than the previous week and 47,000 head fewer year over year. Year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 22.4 million head was 986,000 head fewer (-4.2%) than the same period a year earlier. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 18.3 billion pounds was 964.2 million pounds less (-5.0%).

Cattle futures crept higher Friday, supported by the uptick in cash fed cattle prices and softer Corn futures.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 36¢ higher, except for 22¢ lower in spot Sep.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 42¢ higher, except for an average of 25¢ lower in the front two contracts.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 7¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Friday, led by recent strength in crude oil.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 75 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 12 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 57¢ to 64¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Cash cattle prices are on the cusp of what is typically seasonal weakness, but snug number will likely dilute the impact.

“Cattle prices are trending higher in response to ever tightening cattle and beef supply fundamentals,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University is his marketing comments last week. “The beef cow herd on Jan. 1, 2023 was the lowest since 1962 and is still getting smaller. The projected 2023 U.S. calf crop is 2.5 million head smaller than the recent peak in 2018 and leads to an estimated July 1 feeder cattle supply down 3.6% year over year and the smallest since 2017.   Feedlot inventories have been smaller year over year since September 2022.”

The last week of August, regional calf and feeder cattle prices were 40% higher year over year with regional steer prices (600-700 pounds) ranging from $68.29/cwt. to $83.30 higher year over year, according to USDA’s National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary.

“Cattle prices have advanced quickly; in some ways faster than expected. The highest cattle prices will occur when herd rebuilding begins in earnest,” Peel explains. “The retention of heifers and reduced cow culling will squeeze feeder cattle supplies, cattle slaughter, and beef production to sharply lower levels. This process has not yet started and is expected to proceed rather slowly when it does begin. Herd rebuilding is expected to take three to four years or more… Cattle prices are expected to average higher through at least 2024 and 2025.” 

By | September 10th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 8, 2023

Cattle futures extended gains Thursday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.81 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 77¢ higher.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 8¢ to 12¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 16¢ lower through Aug ‘24 and then 7¢ to 9¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were a few dressed delivered prices in Nebraska at $290/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $178-$179 in Kansas, $182 in Nebraska and $183-$185 in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices were $290-$292 in Nebraska and $290 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.91 lower Thursday afternoon at $311.56/cwt. Select was $1.44 lower at $286.17/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Thursday, following the previous session’s sharp losses tied to investor concerns about the potential for rising interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 57 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 14 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 123 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 48¢ to 67¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports softened in July, posting the lowest volume since January, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, export value per head of fed slaughter still exceeded $400.

July beef exports totaled 103,167 mt, down 18% from a year ago and the lowest in six months. Export value was $810.4 million, down 19% and the lowest since February.

For January through July, beef exports trailed last year’s record pace by 11% in volume (772,343 mt) and 19% in value ($5.81 billion).

“It’s definitely a challenging environment on the beef side, due in part to limited supplies but also persistent headwinds in our key Asian markets,” according to Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Though it’s taking longer than anticipated, we still expect a broader foodservice rebound in Asia. And some bright spots for U.S. beef include sustained demand in Taiwan, especially for alternative beef cuts, and the continued momentum in Mexico. It’s also encouraging to see per-head export value maintaining a high level. This is an important metric for gauging the returns delivered by the international markets, even when our production is trending lower.”

By | September 8th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 6, 2023

Cattle futures basically tread water on Tuesday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 33¢ lower in the front three contracts to an average of 19¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 19¢ higher, except for an average of 11¢ lower in the front two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on very light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $178-$179 in Kansas, $182 in Nebraska and $183-$185 in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices were $290-$292 in Nebraska and $290 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 99¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $315.48/cwt. Select was 75¢ lower at $289.54/cwt.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 6¢ higher through new-crop contracts and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher, supported by expected reduction in crop ratings.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly fractionally lower to 2¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed fractionally lower to 7¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday, pressured in part by rising oil prices fueled by Russia and Saudi Arabia extending voluntary production cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 195 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 18 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 10 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.14 to $1.31 higher through the front six contracts.

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Agricultural producer sentiment dropped sharply in August, as measured by the monthly Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The index declined 8 points month to month in August to 115, as the Current Conditions Index fell 13 points to 108. The Future Expectations Index was down 5 points to 119.

“Rising interest rates and concerns about high input prices continue to put downward pressure on producer sentiment,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “This month over half (60%) of the producers we surveyed said they expect interest rates to rise in the upcoming year.”

When asked about their top concerns for their farming operations in the next 12 months, producers continue to point to higher input prices (34% of respondents) and rising interest rates (24% of respondents). Even though crop prices weakened significantly this summer, only 20% of respondents chose declining commodity prices as one of their top concerns.

This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from August 14-18, 2023.

By | September 5th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept 4 and 5, 2023

Cattle futures drifted lower Friday on pre-weekend positioning, sluggish trade and steady to softer cash fed cattle prices.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.26 lower, except for $3.30 higher in newly minted away Aug.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 41¢ lower, except for $1.00 higher in new away Feb.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was limited on light to moderate demand in all regions through Friday afternoon with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Based on the latest established trade for the week, FOB live prices were steady to $1 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $179/cwt., steady to $1 lower in Kansas at $178-$179, $3 lower in Nebraska at $182 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $183-$185.

The five-area direct weighted average fed steer price through Thursday of last week was $182.69/cwt. on a live basis, which was $2.64 less than the previous week. The weighted average steer price in the beef was $2.03 lower at $290.62.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 70¢ higher Friday afternoon at $314.49/cwt. Select was $1.04 higher at $290.29/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week was 629,000 head, which was 3,000 head more than the previous week but 13,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 21.8 million head was 940,000 head fewer (-4.1%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 17.8 billion pounds was 925.6 million pounds less (-4.9%) year over year.

Turning to row crops, Grain and Soybean futures closed narrowly mixed Friday with some defensive positioning ahead of the long weekend.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 5¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mixed but mostly unchanged to 2¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Friday as investors closed the books on August.

The nation’s unemployment rate increased 0.3% in August to 3.8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the monthly Employment Situation Summary. That was higher than expected ahead of the report.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 187,000 in August.

Average hourly earnings in August for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose by 8¢ (0.2%) to $33.82. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 4.3%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 115 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 8 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 3 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.37 to $1.92 higher through the front six contracts with follow through support from tighter supply expectations.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) forecasts cash receipts for farm commodities this year to be $41.4 billion less (-7.5%) than last year at $513.6 billion. This includes forecasted declines of $13.9 billion (-23.6%) in milk receipts and $11.6 billion (-12.6%) in corn receipts.

“In addition, production expenses are expected to increase by $14.8 billion (3.3%) to $458.0 billion in 2023,” ERS analysts explain. “Finally, direct Government payments to farmers are projected to fall by $3.5 billion (-21.6%) from 2022 to $12.6 billion in 2023, because of lower supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance.

ERS forecasts inflation-adjusted U.S. net cash farm income (NCFI) — calculated as gross cash income minus cash expenses — to decrease by $60.5 billion (-28.9%) from 2022 to $148.6 billion in 2023.

More broadly, U.S. net farm income (NFI) — calculated as gross cash income minus cash expenses — is forecast to fall by $48.0 billion (-25.4%) from 2022 to $141.3 billion in 2023.

“NFI is a broader measure of farm sector profitability that incorporates noncash items including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross imputed rental income,” ERS analysts explain. They note the projected decreases in 2023 come after both NCFI and NFI reached all-time highs in 2022.

By | September 3rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Sept. 1, 2023

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 76¢ higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 88¢ higher, except for lower in expiring Aug.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 76¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices on Thursday were mainly steady to lower than last week.

Trade was slow on light to moderate demand in the Texas Panhandle with FOB live prices steady to $1 higher at $179/cwt., according to the Agricultural Marketing Service

In Kansas, trade was slow to moderate on moderate demand with FOB live prices steady to $1 lower at $178-$179.

FOB live prices in Nebraska were $2-$3 lower at $182 on moderate trade and demand. There were a few live delivered trades at $186.50. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$3 lower at $290-$292.

In the western Corn Belt, FOB live prices were $1 lower at $184-$185 on slow to moderate trade and moderate demand. There were a few dressed delivered trades at mostly $290 but too few to trend. Prices in the beef last week were $292 in a light test.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.32 lower Thursday afternoon at $313.79/cwt. Select was 28¢ lower at $289.25/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales (2023) of 18,200 metric tons (MT) for the week ending Aug. 24 were 59% more than the previous week and 35% more than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico.

Grain and Soybean futures closed lower Thursday on likely continued month-end position squaring.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 3¢ to 8¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 16¢ to 18¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly lower Thursday as investors closed the books on August.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 168 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 7 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 15 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.35 to $2.00 higher through the front six contracts, fueled by chatter that Russia will announce more reduction in crude oil exports.

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USDA decreased expected U.S. beef exports for this year and next in the latest Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade from the Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service.

U.S. beef exports for Fiscal year (FY) 2023 were forecast $200 million lower than the previous report at $9.1 billion as a strong U.S. dollar and high prices curb foreign demand. FY 2024 beef exports were forecast $600 million less at $8.5 billion on lower volumes driven by tighter U.S. supplies.

Total U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year FY 2024 were projected at $172.0 billion, down $5.5 billion from the revised forecast for FY 2023. Less exports of soybeans, soybean meal, and dairy products were the main driver of the reduction.

For economic perspective, world real GDP was projected to grow by 3.0% in both 2023 and 2024, which was 0.2% more than the previous forecast, as global economies and consumer spending have proven resilient in the face of inflationary pressures.

Similarly, projected growth for the United States’ real GDP in 2023 was raised to 1.8% from the previous estimate of 1.6%. Growth in 2024 is expected to moderate to around 1.0%

“The global economic outlook for calendar years 2023 and 2024 remains positive despite several economic challenges,” according to USDA analysts. “These include continued inflation concerns in the United States and elsewhere, uncertainty regarding monetary policies, macroeconomic issues in China, and Black Sea grain trade disruptions due to the Ukraine war.”

By | August 31st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 1, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Wednesday with traders awaiting the week’s cash trade.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.25 lower

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.41 lower, from $2.20 lower in waning spot Aug to 80¢ lower at the back of the board.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices last week were $178-$179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $179 in Kansas, $185 in Nebraska and $182-$187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292 in Nebraska and $292-$295 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 75¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $315.11/cwt. Select was 15¢ lower at $289.53/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures closed lower Wednesday with likely month-end position squaring.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 7¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher again Wednesday despite a more dour employment outlook.

Private sector employment increased by 177,000 jobs in August, according to the August ADP® National Employment Report produced by the ADP Research Institute® in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab (“Stanford Lab”). Job growth was less than expected.

“After two years of exceptional gains tied to the recovery, we’re moving toward more sustainable growth in pay and employment as the economic effects of the pandemic recede,” says Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 37 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 17 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 75 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 26¢ to 47¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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As with any successful program, you can find detractors of the national Beef Checkoff, but it’s hard to oppose what the program accomplishes each year and over time.

Here are a few recent examples.

*With consumers making more shopping decisions online, e-commerce efforts are essential to driving beef sales. National e-commerce campaigns during the holidays and summer grilling months helped put beef front and center for consumers shopping online. These e-commerce campaigns delivered impressive results, generating more than $22 million in incremental beef sales and reaching nearly 16 million households.

*Research continues to serve as the foundation for all Beef Checkoff-funded initiatives. Nutrition research provides proof that beef has a role in a healthy, sustainable diet. Current projects focus on human clinical trials investigating healthy diets, across the lifespan, where beef is the primary source of dietary protein, and focuses on the impact of cardiometabolic health, strength, and performance, and the benefits of beef in the diets of children and adolescents.

*The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA), conducted approximately every five years since 1991, is foundational research that provides an understanding of what quality means to the various industry sectors, and the value of those quality attributes. This research helps the industry make modifications necessary to increase the value of its products. The findings from the 2022 NBQA serve to improve quality, minimize economic loss, and aid in advancements in producer education for the U.S. beef industry.

Results from the 2022 NBQA indicate that the beef cattle industry is producing a high-quality product that consumers want more efficiently and the industry’s primary focus across the supply chain remains food safety. In addition, there was an increase in the frequency of Prime and Choice quality grades, with 7.5% of carcasses grading Prime, the highest since audits began. Market sectors also reported that their companies strive to increase their sustainability, and work with the entire beef supply chain to do so.

*Cow-calf producers, stockers and feedyards implement Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) practices on their operations to produce the highest quality cattle and provide consumers with the best possible eating experience. BQA principles don’t end at the farm gate, and cattle haulers can also become BQA Transportation (BQAT) certified through recently updated modules. Since BQAT began in 2017, more than 32,000 certifications have been completed.

By | August 30th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 30, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices last week were $178-$179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $179 in Kansas, $185 in Nebraska and $182-$187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292 in Nebraska and $292-$295 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.68 lower Tuesday afternoon at $314.36/cwt. Select was $2.41 lower at $289.68/cwt.

Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed Tuesday with an apparent consolidation breather.

Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed. from unchanged to an average of 26¢ lower in two contracts to an average of 17¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 11¢ lower in three contracts to an average of 15¢ higher.

Nearby Corn and Soybean futures gave up the ghost late in the session, presumably fueled in part by more positive weekly crop ratings than expected.

Corn futures closed 9¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 5¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 14¢ to 23¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 7¢ to 10¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 13¢ lower through May ‘24 and then mostly fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

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Renewed optimism for tech stocks fueled major U.S. financial indices higher again on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 292 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 64 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 238 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 83¢ to $1.06 higher through the front six contracts.

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Between seasonal demand and reduced production, beef packers successfully pushed wholesale beef prices higher the past nine days to levels last seen soon after Independence Day. The price road will likely get tougher from here.

“The last summer grilling holiday of the year is just around the corner and the increasing wholesale beef price the past few weeks is likely due to spot purchases to fill final meat counter needs for the Labor Day holiday weekend,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments.

Griffith explains some of the recent purchases also may be for restocking meat counters following the holiday. After that, he says there is little to support beef prices until consumer holiday demand at the end of the year.

That’s not saying wholesale beef prices are expected to plunge lower or that they won’t stage a rally along the way, but Griffith says the next significant support will likely come heading into December.

“Turkey will dominate the Thanksgiving holiday, and to a lesser degree ham, but ham and beef tend to find more support during Christmas,” Griffith explains. “Thus, beef supply in the last quarter of the year will be important for December prices.”

By | August 29th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—08-29-23

Cattle futures rallied higher Monday, apparently buoyed by increasing open interest and trader focus on fundamentals.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.60 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 76¢ higher (2¢ to $1.12 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on very light demand in the western Corn Belt through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Elsewhere, trade was at a standstill.

Last week, FOB live prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $178-$179/cwt., $1-$3 lower in Nebraska at $184-$185 and steady to $3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $292-$295 and from $3 lower to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $292 on a light test.

The five-area direct weighted average steer price last week was $2.29 lower on a live basis at $182.75/cwt. The five-area average steer price in the beef was $1.01 lower at $292.75.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 86¢ lower Monday afternoon at $317.04/cwt. Select was 58¢ lower at $292.09/cwt.

Turning to the grain complex, Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 8¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat closed 10¢ to 16¢ lower through May ‘24 and then 3¢ to 6¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 18¢ higher through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 1¢ to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices extended gains Monday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 213 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 27 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 114 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 1¢ to 27¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Based on August auction data, prices for replacement females are significantly higher year over year, according to the Livestock marketing Information Center (LMIC).

“Bred cows, 1-3 months along that are classified Medium and Large 1-2, sold on a per head basis, have shown significant uptick across many of the USDA AMS reported August auction data,” say LMIC analysts, in the latest Livestock Monitor. “These cows are generally timing spring-born calves in 2024. Generally speaking, replacement costs have moved substantially higher in the South. The Southeast in particular, has seen upward movement to the tune of 40-60% from a year ago. Kentucky, on the other hand, is one of the few states to see replacement values rise only 21% from last August.”

While data was unavailable for many northern-tier states, LMIC analysts note August replacement prices were 24% year over year at Ozarks Regional Stockyards in West Plains MO and 53% higher at Joplin Regional Stockyards in Missouri. Prices at Oklahoma National Stockyards were 57% higher.

“Bred cows further along in the 4-6 months bred category, which will be calving this year, have seen similar increases,” according to LMIC analysts. “Clovis, NM saw prices jump 29% in August from last year; Colorado was up 21%; West Plains, MO was up 36%; Mississippi was up 11%; and Kentucky, was up 28%.”

“Auction data moved exponentially higher back in 2014 and 2015, however, that expansion effort was propelled by record high profits,” LMIC analysts explain. “Producers are already seeing better calf prices in some areas of the country than they did back then, but costs have increased substantially as well. It is a different environment in which this cattle cycle will turn. Profits are likely to not be as good, and interest rates are substantially higher. While these are not expected to limit expansion, it may be a headwind for some producers.”

By | August 28th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 28, 2023

Steady Corn futures prices, firmer cash fed cattle prices and the recent uptick in wholesale beef prices helped Cattle futures rise on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 95¢ higher (45¢ to $1.17 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 69¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was moderate on moderate demand in the Texas Panhandle through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live trades were steady at $178-$179/cwt.

Trade in Kansas was slow on light to moderate demand with FOB live prices steady at $179.

Trade in Nebraska was limited on light demand with too few transactions to trend. For the week, live FOB prices were steady to $3 lower at $185. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $2 lower at $292-$295.

In the western Corn Belt, trade was slow on light demand with too few transactions to trend. For the week, FOB live prices were $1-$3 lower at $185. Dressed delivered prices the previous week were $290-$295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 27¢ higher Friday afternoon at $317.90/cwt. Select was 76¢ higher at $292.67/cwt. Week to week on Friday, Choice was $1.79 higher and Select was $4.31 higher.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 626,000 head was 10,000 head more than the previous week but 52,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter of 21.2 million head was 928,000 head fewer (-4.2%) than the same period last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 17.3 billion pounds was 917.8 million pounds less (-5.0%) than the same time last year.

Turning to the grain complex, Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower. KC HRW Wheat closed 1¢ to 2¢ higher. Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 16¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then mostly 5¢ to 8¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices rebounded Friday with a more positive economic growth outlook from the Fed.

“So far this year, GDP (gross domestic product) growth has come in above expectations and above its longer-run trend, and recent readings on consumer spending have been especially robust,” according to Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, in his presentation to an economics policy symposium on Friday. “In addition, after decelerating sharply over the past 18 months, the housing sector is showing signs of picking back up.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 247 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 29 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 126 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 78¢ to 83¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Reduced beef cow numbers in tandem with remarkably steadfast consumer beef demand may compel dairy producers to leverage beef breed genetics in their reproduction programs and capture an additional revenue stream in the process, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange.

“We expect the adoption of beef genetics in dairy breeding programs will accelerate as producers capitalize on the opportunity for improved margins, particularly given the reduction in beef calf availability,” says Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist for CoBank. “And while the impact on the overall beef supply will be relatively small, an increase in beef and dairy crossbred calves entering the beef supply chain is something cattle feeders and packers will want to keep an eye on.”

The practice of leveraging beef genetics in dairy reproductive programs, commonly referred to as “beef on dairy” within the industry, has steadily increased in recent years. On average, day-old beef and dairy crossbred calves entering the beef supply chain sell for $100-$300 more than their 100% dairy-bred counterparts.

Increased adoption of beef on dairy crossbreeding will primarily benefit dairy producers, but other sectors of the beef supply chain stand to benefit as well, according to the CoBank report. Animal genetics companies that provide beef semen for artificial insemination of dairy cows can expect continued sales growth.

According to the National Association of Animal Breeders’ Semen Sales Report, U.S. beef semen sales from 2017 to 2022 increased at a rate nearly equal to the rate that U.S. dairy semen sales decreased. The data suggests rising beef semen sales are largely attributable to increased purchases by dairy operators.

By | August 26th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 25, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow to moderate on light to moderate demand in Nebraska through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Dressed delivered prices were $2.00 to $2.50 lower at $292-$292.50/cwt. There were a few FOB live trades at $184-$186 and a few delivered live trades at $189.50, but too few to trend. FOB live prices there last week were $185-$188.

Trade was limited on light to moderate demand in the western Corn Belt where FOB live prices were $1-$3 lower $185. There were a few dressed delivered trades at $292, but too few to trend; $290-$295 last week.

In the Southern Plains, trade ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill. FOB live prices last week were $178-$179 in the Texas Panhandle and $179 in Kansas.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 58¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $317.63/cwt. Select was 32¢ higher at $291.91/cwt.

Cattle futures closed higher Thursday, helped along by increasing open interest.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.97 higher ($1.47 to $2.37 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.47 higher ($1.22 to $2.05 higher).

Corn futures closed narrowly mixed, from mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly fractionally lower to 5¢ to lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 8¢ to 12¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Thursday amid renewed worries about high Treasury yield rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 373 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 59 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 257 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed narrowly mixed through the front six contracts.

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Cow-calf production became more specialized from 1996 to 2018, according to a recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), entitled Structure, Management Practices and Production Costs of U.S. Beef Cow-calf Farms.

Increased specialization or decreased diversification was revealed across several measures.

* 78% of beef cattle operations produced only cattle in 2018 versus 66% in 2008 and 43% in 1996.

* 78% of beef cow operations producing other crops produced hay in 2018 versus 63% in 2008.

* 63% of cow-calf operations were cow-calf only in 2018 versus 47% in 2008; 29% were cow-calf and stocker in 2018 versus 44% in 2008.

Although more specialized, technology adoption remains low and static across cow-calf operations as a whole.

* 8% of cow-calf producers utilized artificial insemination in 2018, the same as in 2008. Likewise, 2% of producers utilized embryo transplant and/or sexed semen both years.

* 50% of cow-calf producers kept individual cow-calf production records in 2018, which was 4% more than in 2008. 28% used an on-farm computer for cow-calf information in 2018, versus 20% in 2008.

By | August 24th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 24, 2023

Although sideways, Cattle futures wobbled Wednesday as traders added risk premium back to Corn futures, which closed 9¢ to 11¢ higher through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 12¢ to 17¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 9¢ to 15¢ higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 28¢ lower, except for 18¢ higher in May ’24.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 35¢ higher, except for an average of 16¢ lower in two contracts.

Through mid session today, Cattle futures are stronger.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service

Last week, FOB live prices were $178-$179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $179 in Kansas, $185-$188 in Nebraska and $186-$188 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $294-$295 in Nebraska and $290-$295 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was unchanged Wednesday afternoon at $317.05/cwt. Select was $2.08 higher at $291.59/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 184 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 48 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 215 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 70¢ to 76¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Frozen beef supplies last month continued significantly lower year over year, according to the most recent USDA Cold Storage report. Total pounds of beef in freezers July 31 were 2% more than the previous month but were 18% less than the same time last year.

Frozen pork supplies were down 3% from the previous month and down 10% from last year.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were down slightly from the previous month and down 14% from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were 1% less than the previous month but 4% more year over year.

By | August 24th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 23, 2023

Cattle futures gave back most of what they gained in the previous session, amid sluggish trade and a lack of weekly cash direction.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.16 lower (88¢ to $1.43).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 93¢ lower, (53¢ to $1.25 lower).

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 5¢ lower, with follow-through pressure from last week’s positive crop progress and ratings.

KC HRW Wheat closed unchanged to 1¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 18¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all trading regions through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. 

Last week, FOB live prices were $178-$179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $179 in Kansas. $185-$188 in Nebraska and $186-$188 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $294-$295 in Nebraska and $290-$295 in the western Corn Belt.

However, wholesale beef prices were up. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.49 higher Tuesday afternoon at $317.05/cwt. Select was $2.18 higher at $289.51/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Tuesday, pressured by the recent peak in Treasury-note yields, as well as bank stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 174 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 12 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 8 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 29¢ to 48¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Despite slacker Feeder Cattle futures prices recently, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee points out they continue to trade in the same $10 range since the end of June.

“The question now is if the market will trade lower than the established range or does it have the ability to make a run to even higher prices?” Griffith says, in his weekly market comments.  “There is no way of knowing the answer, but the market sure seems to be finding little to no support for higher prices at this time. This would mean it is more likely for feeder cattle to stay in its current trading range or to soften.”

According to Griffith, as strong as market fundamentals are, it’s possible prices have outpaced the support.

 “A good example of this was in 2014 and 2015 when prices ascended rapidly and then descended rapidly through 2016 and 2017,” Griffith says. “This commentary is not saying cattle prices should be higher, lower, or exactly where they are, but it is saying the market is expected to be efficient. This simply means the market will adjust such that price is in line with supply and demand.”

 

 

By | August 22nd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 22, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher Monday, supported by the bullish Cattle on Feed report and lower Corn futures.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.84 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 74¢ higher, (45¢ to $1.12 higher).

There was no afternoon report from AMS for negotiated cash fed cattle trade.

Based on the latest available report, FOB live prices last week were $1-$3 lower in the Southern Plains at $177-$179, 50¢ to $3 lower in Nebraska at $185-$187.50 and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at mainly $186. Dressed delivered prices were $1 lower to $2 higher at $294-$297.

The five-area direct weighted average fed steer price last week was $185.04/cwt. on a live basis, which was 84¢ less than the previous week. The five-area direct steer price in the beef was $1.84 lower at $293.76.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 55¢ lower Monday afternoon at $315.56/cwt. Select was $1.03 lower at $287.33/cwt.

Positive crop progress and conditions weighed on Corn futures Monday.

Corn futures closed 9¢ to 10¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 3¢ lower.

Wheat futures were down 7¢ to 12¢ on harvest pressure.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 8¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then mostly 1¢ higher, supported the hot, dry forecast and export news.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Monday, supported by tech but pressured by increased Treasury-note yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 36 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 30 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 206 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 28¢ to 54¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Beef imports to the U.S. are higher year over year so far, as expected, with declining U.S. production.

Imports in the first half of 2023 totaled nearly 1.9 billion pounds, about 1% more than the same time last year, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. Cumulative imports from Australia increased 26% from the same period last year. ERS analysts add that Australia’s exports to the world were up 20% year over year as higher production provided more exportable supplies.

Snubbed to a different post, U.S. imports during the first half of this year were 13.3% of total domestic beef disappearance (production + net trade + net stocks), which was slightly higher than the same time last year. Imports for the full year are expected to be 12.8% of total disappearance, compared to an average of 11.7% for 2018-22.

“That percentage is expected to increase to about 13.8% in 2024 as domestic production declines and imports increase,” say ERS analysts.

On the other side of the fence, U.S. beef export value for the first half of this year was the second highest on record, although 19% less year over year.

By | August 21st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 21, 2023

Cattle futures finally found some traction on Friday, perhaps fueled by position squaring ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below), which turned out to be bullish.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.21 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ higher, except for unchanged in the back contract.

Packers succeeded in holding cash fed cattle prices steady to mainly lower last week, while also ratcheting wholesale beef prices higher as they restrict production.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were some FOB live trades in the Texas Panhandle at $178/cwt. but too few to trend.

For the week, based on the latest established trends, FOB live prices were $1-$3 lower in the Southern Plains at $177-$179, 50¢ to $3 lower in Nebraska at $185-$187.50 and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at mainly $186. Last week, dressed delivered prices were $1 lower to $2 higher at $294-$297.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.97 higher Friday afternoon at $316.11/cwt. Select was $2.10 higher at $288.36/cwt.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 616,000 head was 13,000 head more than the previous week but 48,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date total estimated cattle slaughter of 20.6 million head was 876,000 head fewer (-4.1%) the the same time a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 16.8 billion pounds was 876.8 million pounds less (-5.0%).

Hotter, drier weather helped lift grain futures again on Friday.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 6¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 14¢ to 20¢ higher through Sep ‘24 and then mostly 10¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 16¢ to 26¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then mostly 7¢ to 12¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Friday, pressured by increased Treasury-note yields and some lackluster earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 25 points higher. The S&P 500 closed fractionally lower. The NASDAQ was down 26 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 60¢ to 86¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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If anything, markets will likely view the monthly Cattle on Feed report for feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity as slightly bullish, based on placement numbers.

Placements in July were 146,000 head fewer (-8.3%) than the previous year at 1.62 million head. That was 2.8% less than pre-report expectations.

In terms of placement weights, 38% went on feed weighing 699 pounds or less, 46% weighing 700-899 pounds and 16% weighing 900 pounds or more.

Marketings in July of 1.73 million head were 97,000 head fewer (-5.3%) than the previous year, which was in line with expectations.

Cattle on feed Aug. 1 of 11.03 million head were 259,000 head fewer (-2.3%) than the previous year, which was slightly less than expectations ahead of the report.

By | August 19th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 18, 2023

Cattle futures continued lower Thursday with follow-through pressure from stronger Corn futures, steady to lower cash fed cattle prices, declining open interest and perhaps some defensiveness ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.51 lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 72¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to light on moderate demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $179/cwt., steady to mostly $2 lower in Nebraska at $185-$188 and steady to mostly $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at mainly $187.

Last week, dressed delivered prices were $295.

Wholesale beef prices continued to trend higher. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.15 higher Thursday afternoon at $314.14/cwt. Select was $1.49 higher at $286.26/cwt.

Hotter, drier weather helped Corn futures firm further Thursday; fractionally higher to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 4¢ to 11¢ lower through May ‘25 and then fractionally higher.

Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 9¢ higher through May ‘24 and then 10¢ to 15¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday, supported by rising Treasury-note yields, in response to the Fed’s continued wariness about upside inflation risk.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 290 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 33 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 157 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 58¢ to $1.01 higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) raised the expected feeder steer price for the remainder of this year and next, in the August Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. That basis 750-800-pound steers selling at Oklahoma City.

Based on recent price strength, ERS increased the forecast price by $9 to $250/cwt. in the third quarter and $255 in the fourth quarter. The 2023 annual average price increased $4.50 to $224.99. Prices for next year were forecast $3 higher in the first and second quarter at $248 and $247, respectively. The 2024 annual average price was also estimated $3 higher at $253.25.

As noted recently in Cattle Current, ERS increased the projected third-quarter five-area direct fed steer price by $6 compared to the previous month to $184/cwt., and the fourth-quarter price by $7 to $190 for an annual average of $178.50, which was $3.20 more than the previous estimate. Projected fed steer prices increased $2 for next year at $188 in the first quarter, $186 in the second quarter and $186 for the 2024 average.

“Second-half 2023 production is forecast to decline 180 million pounds from last month on a slower pace of fed cattle marketings, which is only partially offset by higher expected cow slaughter. This resulted in a temporal shift of marketings from late 2023 to 2024,” ERS analysts explain. “Higher projected placements in late 2023 and early 2024 raises anticipated marketings next year. Projected 2024 production is increased 465 million pounds based on the shift in marketings from 2023 to 2024 and an increase in placements.”

By | August 17th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 17, 2023

Cattle futures continued to edge lower Wednesday, pressured by an uptick in Corn futures and steady to lower cash fed cattle prices.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 32¢ lower.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 35¢ lower, except for an average of 8¢ higher in two contracts.

Grain futures firmed overnight and through yesterday’s session as traders added some risk premium based on recent Russian attacks in Ukraine

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 11¢ to 18¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mainly limited on light to moderate demand through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, FOB live prices are $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $179/cwt. and steady in the western Corn Belt at $188.

Last week, FOB live prices in Nebraska were $188. Dressed prices were $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.73 higher Wednesday afternoon at $308.99/cwt. Select was $1.74 higher at $284.77/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Wednesday, apparently pressured mostly by minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting, which indicated future interest rate increases were as likely as not.

“With inflation still well above the Committee’s longer-run goal and the labor market remaining tight, most participants continued to see significant upside risks to inflation, which could require further tightening of monetary policy,” according to the minutes. “… “Participants noted the recent reduction in total and core inflation rates. However, they stressed that inflation remained unacceptably high and that further evidence would be required for them to be confident that inflation was clearly on a path toward the Committee’s 2% objective.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 180 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 33 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 156 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 98¢ to $1.61 lower through the front six contracts.

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The market for plant-based meats has likely reached a tipping point as the initial period of exceptional sales growth appears to be over, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange.

“Whatever their reason for purchase, plant-based offerings appear to have fallen short of consumers’ expectations in terms of either cost or performance,” says Billy Roberts, senior food and beverage economist for CoBank. “Market participants should be able to address the cost issues with greater economies of scale and minimized supply chain expenses. However, innovation around taste, texture and mouthfeel will be essential to capture more mass-market consumers.”

For added perspective, the price per share for Beyond Meat, Inc. — the poster child for plant-based fake meat—was trading at $12.28 noon yesterday. It was $35.83 a year earlier and $117.35 two years earlier.

Plant-based meat sales peaked in 2020 when consumers had more discretionary income and were curious about broadening their food spend in the wake of pandemic-era food shortages, according to CoBank. But fewer than half of Americans who tried the products at the time repeated their purchase, per data from consumer research firm Mintel.

Sales of meat alternatives have fallen steadily since 2021 and more sharply over the last year. Volume sales dropped 20.9% for the 52-week period ending July 2, 2023, according to consumer behavior research firm Circana.

Consumers have consistently cited health as a top reason for purchasing plant-based offerings. However, according to the CoBank report, shoppers who initially sought plant-based meats thinking these were healthier options would later voice doubts about the healthfulness of the products, specifically as it relates to their typically complex ingredient legend.

By | August 16th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 16, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light demand in the Western Corn Belt through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Live FOB prices were steady at $188/cwt. Dressed delivered prices last week were $295/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from inactive on light demand to a standstill with too few transactions to trend.

Last week live FOB prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska, where dressed delivered prices were $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.76 higher Wednesday afternoon at $307.26/cwt. Select was $2.58 higher at $283.03/cwt.

However, Cattle futures edged lower Tuesday, pressured by lower outside markets as much as anything.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 27¢ lower, except for 5¢ higher in the back contract.

Live Cattle futures an average of 56¢ lower. 

Weaker outside markets and improved crop conditions weighed on grain and Soybean futures Tuesday.

Corn futures closed 9¢ to 12¢ lower through Sep ‘24 and then mostly 5¢ to 6¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 13¢ to 16¢ lower through Mar ‘25.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 29¢ lower through Sep ‘24 and then 7¢ to 10¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday, pressured by anemic economic growth in China and weaker U.S. bank stocks tied to a potential downgrade in credit ratings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 361 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 51 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 157 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.15 to $1.52 lower through the front six contracts.

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Feeder cattle prices are driving feedlot breakevens significantly higher, according to recent estimates from the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC).

For perspective, in order to be profitable, LMIC analysts peg a closeout price exceeding $188/cwt. in January for cattle placed in July. They note it is close to the current level of the February Live Cattle contract.

“Feeder steers in Dodge City have increased since December of last year, jumping from $172 to the $180s, then the $190s, and were at $242/cwt. in July, a 40% increase in eight months. During that time, breakeven prices have increased 27%,” LMIC analysts explain, in the latest Livestock Monitor.

Projected breakevens at the beginning of next year represent a significant departure from apparent feedlot profits this year. LMIC estimated returns were as high as $400 per head earlier this summer. Analysts there estimated July feedlot returns at $300 per head, followed. By positive returns for the remainder of the year.

Keep in mind, estimates do not account for price risk management.

“Through the rest of 2023, breakevens are estimated to be between $150 and $176/cwt.,” LMIC analysts say. “The futures market has most contracts ahead of breakevens by $10 to more than $20/cwt., ensuring that cattle feeding returns will likely be profitable in 2023. LMIC is estimating the average per head return annually will be close to $250 per head, like the 2014 average.”

By | August 15th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 15, 2023

Cattle futures closed lower Monday on lackluster trade and static to declining open interest.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.08 lower.

Live Cattle futures an average of 61¢ lower. 

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Live FOB prices last week were steady at $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $188 in the north where dressed delivered prices were steady at $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.89 higher Monday afternoon at $305.50/cwt. Select was $3.22 higher at $280.45/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 10¢ to 18¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 9¢ to 15¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Monday, supported by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 26 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 25 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 143 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 62¢ to 68¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Amid tighter feeder cattle supplies and lower feedlot cost of gain, stocker opportunities veer toward lightweight cattle with more incentive to market with less weight gain ahead of the feedlot, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments.

“As cattle numbers continue to tighten this year, the general incentive in the market is to push cattle into feedlots sooner and through the beef production system faster to keep beef production as high as possible,” Peel explains. “Beef production is down about 4.8% year over year thus far in 2023 but is falling more sharply recently with July beef production down 6.7% compared to one year ago.” 

Moreover, Peel says cheaper cost of gain, as corn prices moderate, provide feedlots more opportunity to compete for limited feeder cattle supplies and further enhance the general need to push cattle through the system faster. “A lower feedlot cost of gain generally means feedlots can purchase lighter weight feeder cattle and place them in feedlot earlier,” he says.

As for fall grazing, at least on Oklahoma, Peel says wheat pasture prospects are more promising than in recent years with improved soil moisture and soil temperature conditions for early-planted winter wheat.

“Dynamic cattle and grain market conditions mean that producers will need to carefully and frequently evaluate stocker budget prospects this fall prior to stocker purchase,” Peel says. “Calf prices are moving counter-seasonally higher this summer suggesting that stocker purchase costs will continue to increase this fall. The Oklahoma combined auction price for 450-500 pounds Medium/Large #1 steers in the second week of August reached $302.05/cwt., the highest weekly price since June 2015 and just 6.4% below the record high of $322.56/cwt. in November 2014.”

By | August 14th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 14, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. For the week, FOB live prices were steady in both regions at $188/cwt. and dressed-delivered prices were also steady at $295.

Trade in the Southern Plains ranged from inactive on light demand in Kansas to a standstill in the Texas Panhandle. The previous week, FOB live prices were $180 in the Southern Plains.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 58¢ higher Friday afternoon at $302.61/cwt. Select was 57¢ lower at $277.23/cwt.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 603,000 head was 10,000 head fewer than the previous week and 42,000 head fewer (-6.5%) than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter of 19.3 million was 830,000 head fewer (-4.0%) than the same time last year. Estimate year-to-date beef production of 16.3 billion pounds was 836.9 million pounds less (-4.9%) than the same time last year.

Cattle futures closed lower Friday on likely profit taking ahead of the weekend.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 32¢ lower.

Live Cattle futures an average of 84¢ lower. 

Grain and Soybean closed lower Friday, pressured by the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates coming in with expected yield cuts (see below).

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 8¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 11¢ to 13¢ lower through May ‘24 and then mostly 5¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed on Friday with pressure from another inflation gauge that was higher than expected. The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.3% in July (seasonally adjusted), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand advanced 0.8% for the 12 months ended in July.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 105 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 4 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 93 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 12¢ to 37¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) increased the anticipated fed steer price for the remainder of this year and next, in the August World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Based on strong packer demand, ERS increased the projected third-quarter five-area direct fed steer price by $6 compared to the previous month to $184/cwt., and the fourth-quarter price by $7 to $190 for an annual average of $178.50, which was $3.20 more than the previous estimate. Projected fed steer prices increased $2 for next year at $188 in the first quarter, $186 in the second quarter and $186 for the 2024 average.

Beef production for 2023 was lowered on less steer and heifer slaughter and lighter dressed weights, although projected cow slaughter increased. For 2024, forecast beef production increased, reflecting higher expected placements in late 2023 and early 2024. Cow slaughter was also raised for the first part of 2024.

ERS estimated total beef production this year at 26.98 billion pounds, which would be 1.3 billion pounds less (-4.6%) than last year. Beef production in 2024 was forecast at 25.17 billion pounds, which would be 1.81 billion pounds less (-6.7%) than this year’s estimate.

By | August 13th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 11, 2023

Cattle futures continued higher Thursday with ongoing bullish fundamentals and expectations of steady to higher cash trade, given cattle feeders’ recent marketing resolve.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.10 higher.

Live Cattle futures an average of 81¢ higher. 

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand ranged from slow on light to moderate demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Although there were too few transactions to trend in any region, there were some early FOB live trades in the western Corn Belt at $188-$189/cwt and a few in Kansas at $186.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $295 in a light test.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.49 lower Thursday afternoon at $302.03/cwt. Select was 97¢ lower at $277.80/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales (2023) for the week ending Aug. 3 of 14,800 metric tons were 19% more than the previous week, but 8% less than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, China, Mexico and Hong Kong, according to the weekly U.S. Export Sales report.

As for the other side of the ledger, Grain and Soybean futures firmed Thursday with likely positioning ahead of Friday’s widely anticipated World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, with forecast yields top of mind for many.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 3¢ to 5¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 10¢ higher, except for old-crop contracts.

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Although gains faded by the end of the session, major U.S. financial indices edged higher Thursday, supported by slightly cooler inflation than expected. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.2% in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.2% before seasonal adjustment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 52 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 1 point higher. The NASDAQ was up 15 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 99¢ to $1.58 lower through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports in June continued to trend lower year over year but with hints of renewed strength.

Beef exports totaled 115,107 metric tons (mt) in June, down 12% from a year ago and slightly below the May volume, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). June export value was $909.5 million, down 13% year-over-year but the highest since October and 4% above the value posted in May.

For January-June, U.S. beef exports were 10% below last year’s record pace at 669,176 mt. Export value was just under $5 billion – down 19% from a year ago but still 8% above the first half of 2021.

Beef export value equated to $407.12 per head of fed slaughter in June, down 9% from a year ago. The first-half average was $394.39, down 17%.

“It was a challenging first half for beef exports, especially when compared to the blistering pace established a year ago,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “But we are encouraged to see that exports are still accounting for a consistently high percentage of total beef production, and variety meat exports have held up very well considering the decline in U.S. slaughter. These metrics continue to illustrate the important contribution of exports in maximizing beef carcass value.”

June beef exports to Taiwan were the largest in 14 months, while exports to Mexico continued to build momentum and shipments to Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa and the Dominican Republic posted year-over-year gains. June exports to South Korea, China and Japan were below last year’s large totals, though shipments to Japan improved notably in value from the previous month.

June pork exports totaled 245,964 metric tons (mt), up 12% from a year ago, while export value climbed 6% to $691.4 million. Through the first half of 2023, exports were 14% above last year’s pace at 1.47 million mt, valued at $4.05 billion (up 12%).

By | August 10th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 10, 2023

Weaker corn futures and an uptick in wholesale beef prices helped lift Cattle futures Wednesday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 77¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures an average of 39¢ higher. 

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $295 in a light test.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.13 higher Wednesday afternoon at $303.52/cwt. Select was $1.98 higher at $278.14/cwt.

Favorable weather, and perhaps skittishness ahead of Friday’s WASDE, pressured grain futures on Wednesday.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 4¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 4¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then mostly fractionally higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Wednesday, perhaps defensive pressure ahead of Thursday’s next read on inflation — the monthly CPI. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 191 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 31 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 162 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.03 to $1.48 higher through the front six contracts, supported by chatter about reduced global production.

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Although seasonally lower, wholesale beef prices continue at what some would consider a remarkably high and consistent level.

“Since the middle of April, the weekly comprehensive boxed beef cutout price has only traded outside of an $8 range for a four-week period in June and early July,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The cutout has spent most of its time trading on either side of $300/cwt. and there are no signs it will deviate in the near term.”

Griffith explains the loin and rib primals were the primary price drivers in June, while brisket also demonstrated strength in late June and early July.

“Middle meat prices softened through July, which is the primary reason the cutout fell off its June highs,” Griffith explains. “However, the brisket and short plate also contributed to some of the boxed beef cutout price decline. Alternatively, the chuck, round and flank primal prices have held their own the past month and continue to offer support for the comprehensive cutout.”

Although middle meats may gather added interest heading into Labor Day, Griffith says prices will likely soften again heading into the late summer and the fall months.

By | August 9th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 9, 2023

Firmer Corn futures helped pressure Feeder Cattle futures an average of $1.10 lower Tuesday (55¢ lower at the back to $1.67 lower).

Live Cattle futures narrowly mixed, unchanged to an average of 36¢ lower in the front five contracts and then an average of 49¢ higher. 

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand were at a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $295 in a light test.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 90¢ higher at $302.39/cwt. Select was $1.15 higher at $276.16/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 1¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 8¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday, pressured as one agency downgraded credit in the banking sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 158 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 19 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 110 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 75¢ to 98¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Nationwide, pasture and range conditions eroded some last week, according to the Crop Progress report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For the week ending Aug. 6, 38% of pasture and range was rated as Good (31%) or Excellent (7%), which was 1% less than the previous week but 14% more than a year earlier. 32% was rated as Poor (18%) or Very Poor (14%), which was 3% more than a week earlier but 17% less than a year earlier. States with more than 40% of pasture and range rated as Poor or Very Poor include: Arizona (47%); Minnesota (53%); Missouri (58%); Nevada (40%); New Mexico (44%); Texas (64%); and Washington (43%).

By | August 8th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 8, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $1-$2 higher in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt. Live-delivered prices in Kansas were $184.00-$185.50. Live FOB prices were $2 higher in Nebraska at $188 and $1-$3 high in the western Corn Belt at $188. Dressed-delivered prices were $1-$3 higher at $295 in a light test.

The five-area direct weighted average steer price was $1.89 higher last week on a live basis at $186.70/cwt. The weighted average fed steer price in the beef was $1.51 higher at $295.14.

Even so, Cattle futures closed lower Monday on potential profit taking and retrenching.

Live Cattle futures an average of 96¢ lower (55¢ lower at the back to $1.20 lower in spot Aug). 

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.27 lower.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 30¢ lower Monday afternoon at $301.49/cwt. Select was $1.47 lower at $275.01/cwt.

Turning to the grain complex, Corn and Soybean futures closed lower Monday on positive weekend rains.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 24¢ to 38¢ lower through Aug ‘24 and then mostly 8¢ to 15¢ lower.

However, KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 10¢ to 11¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, supported by positive corporate earnings reports from the likes of Berkshire Hathaway.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 407 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 40 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 85 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 57¢ to 88¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Despite price levels offering the economic incentive, national herd expansion has yet to lift off. More specifically, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University explains in his weekly market comments that rebuilding is slower than what occurred following the 2011-13 drought that shoved cattle numbers to a cyclical low in 2014.

“Continuing Drought is still an issue in significant regions of cattle country,” Peel says.  “While drought is not likely causing a great deal of additional herd liquidation from a broader market perspective, it surely is preventing herd expansion in those drought-stricken areas.”

Moreover, he explains areas already emerged from drought need two to three years to heal and also to replenish hay supplies.

Similarly, Peel says, “Many cattle operations have suffered from considerable financial stress from drought and high input costs. The short-run need to realize immediate returns from higher cattle prices may be causing continued heifer and cull cow sales for now.”

Next, Peel cites the uncertainty surrounding input costs.

“Record hay prices and elevated supplemental feed costs have had a huge impact in drought regions. Record or near-record high fertilizer, chemical and fuel costs have been a significant challenge for producers, especially in regions of introduced pastures,” Peel says. “Though some input prices have moderated in 2023, input price uncertainty has producers reacting cautiously to higher cattle prices.”

Plus, he points to significantly higher interest cost and a much slower economy than existed during the previous herd expansion.

Perhaps a less obvious reason for expansion reluctance is producer expectations.

“Until enough cow-calf producers anticipate enough returns for a long enough period of time, herd expansion will be tempered,” Peel says. “In the meantime, cattle supplies will continue to tighten. Market prices for calves and feeder cattle will continue to increase as the market provides more price incentives that will eventually strengthen producer expectations and jump-start herd expansion. That process is likely to begin in earnest in the remainder of 2023 and into 2024.”

By | August 7th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 7, 2023

Cattle futures closed higher Friday, helped along by the weekly decline in Corn futures and the hint of higher cash prices.

Live Cattle futures an average of $1.40 higher (92¢ higher at the back to $2.40 higher in spot Aug). 

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.91 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle demand and trade were moderate in the western Corn Belt through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. For the week, live FOB prices were $2-$3 higher at $188/cwt. Dressed delivered prices the previous week were $294-$295.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to limited on light demand.

Although too few to trend, there were a few live delivered sales in Kansas at $184.00-$185.50 and a few live FOB sales in Nebraska at $188.

The previous week, live FOB prices were $178-$179/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $186 in Nebraska, where dressed delivered prices were $292-$295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 22¢ lower Friday afternoon at $301.79/cwt. Select was $1.83 lower at $276.48/cwt.

Corn and Soybean futures firmed on Friday but continued to be capped by the favorable weather outlook.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 10¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 9¢ to 12¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Friday. Pressure included a less robust jobs report than expected.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 187,000 in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was little changed at 3.5%.

Average hourly earnings in July for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose by 14¢ (0.4%) to $33.74. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.4%. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 150 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 23 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 50 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.00 to $1.27 higher through the front six contracts.

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United States farm real estate value — a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $4,080 per acre for 2023, up $280 per acre (+7.4%) from 2022, according to Land Values-2023 Summary from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

United States cropland value averaged $5,460 per acre in 2023, which was $410 more per acre (+8.1%) than the previous year. Regionally, value increased from a low of 2.2% in the Delta states (AR, LA and MS) with an average value of $3,260/acre, to a high of 14.1% in the Northern Plains (KS, NE, ND and SD) with an average value of $4,200 per acre.

United States pasture value averaged $1,760 per acre in 2023, which was $110 more per acre (+6.7%) than the previous year. Regionally, value increased from a low of 2.4% in the Delta states (AR, LA and MS) with an average value of $2,940/acre, to a high of 13.5% in the Northern Plains (KS, NE, ND and SD) with an average value of $1,510 per acre.

By | August 6th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 4, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were a few live FOB sales in the western Corn Belt at $188/cwt., but too few to trend.

Last week, live FOB prices were $178-$179/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $186 in Nebraska, and $185-$186 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292-$295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.17 lower Thursday afternoon at $302.01/cwt. Select was 84¢ higher at $278.31/cwt.

Cattle futures on Thursday mainly regained what was lost in the previous session as traders returned the focus to fundamentals rather than the selloff triggered by the downgrading of U.S. credit.

Live Cattle futures an average of 76¢ higher (12¢ to $1.17 higher). 

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.35 higher.

Corn futures continued lower Thursday with the more favorable production outlook coupled with continued anemic international demand.

Corn futures closed 6¢ to 7¢ lower through May ‘24 and then mostly 2¢ to 3¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 9¢ to 19¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices were little changed but softer again Thursday.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 66 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 11 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 13 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.69 to $2.06 higher through the front six contracts.

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“Most of the decline in beef production compared to a year ago stems from reduced beef cow slaughter, steer slaughter, and lighter slaughter weights,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “Beef cow slaughter is down more than 12% while steer slaughter has declined close to 5%. Alternatively, dairy cow slaughter has increased nearly 6% compared to a year ago due to declining milk prices.”

Griffith points out heifer slaughter is less 1% lower year over year, further affirming that fact that heifer retention has yet to begin.

“All of these points should support beef prices remaining elevated in the near term and in the longer term,” Griffith explains. He adds that “It will be interesting to see how imports are adjusting to meet the demand for lean grinding beef, given the production decline domestically.

By | August 3rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 3, 2023

Commodity and equity markets saw widespread selling Wednesday on the news that Fitch Ratings downgraded the long-term credit rating for United States.

The lack of weekly cash fed cattle price direction and profit taking may also have pressured Cattle futures.

Live Cattle futures an average of 86¢ lower (50¢ lower at the back to $1.47 lower in spot Aug). 

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.15 lower (57¢ lower toward the back to $1.80 lower toward the front).

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 8¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 10¢ to 17¢ lower through Dec ‘24 and then 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 14¢ to 20¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 8¢ to 9¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live FOB prices were $178-$179/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $186 in Nebraska, and $185-$186 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292-$295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.92 lower Wednesday afternoon at $303.18/cwt. Select was $2.13 lower at $277.47/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday, pressured by the aforementioned lowering of the U.S. credit rating. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 348 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 63 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 310 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.53 to $1.88 lower  through the front six contracts.

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Strong demand and underlying U.S. economic strength are fueling cattle prices even more than snugger cattle supplies and beef production, says Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC).

“Within the important underlying fundamentals, slaughter weights are seasonally tight, cattle on feed over 120 days are very tight compared to prior years, packer margins and feedlot margins are very strong. These are all bullish signals,” Koontz says. “At some point in the future, we will need to be concerned about competing meat supplies, trade volumes, the strength of the dollar, and interest rates versus inflation. But this summer the cattle and beef market just continue to show dramatic strength. And this is largely due to the underlying strength in the domestic economy.”

Koontz notes cattle markets have the strength to move higher but there are signs of slowing momentum.

By | August 2nd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 2, 2023

A surge in wholesale beef prices helped lift Live Cattle futures on Tuesday. They closed an average of $1.27 higher on strong volume (50¢ higher at the back to $2.30 higher near the front).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.22 higher ($1.65 higher at the back to $2.87 higher in spot Aug).

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.32 higher Tuesday afternoon at $306.10/cwt. Select was $1.87 higher at $279.60/cwt.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live FOB prices were $178-$179/cwt. in the Southern Plains $186, in Nebraska, and $185-$186 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292-$295.

Corn futures eroded further Tuesday, closing 4¢ to 7¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly fractionally lower to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 5¢ to 11¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 1¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 10¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 71 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 12 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 62 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 36¢ to 43¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Agricultural producer sentiment improved slightly in July, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. It rose 2 points to a reading of 123. The Index of Current Conditions rose 5 points to a reading of 121, while the Index of Future Expectations was up 1 point to 124.

“Producers were slightly more confident about the farming economy in July, despite recent crop price volatility and continued concerns about rising interest rates,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Given the volatility in commodity prices, especially crop prices, this spring and early summer, Ag Barometer analysts say it’s notable that more producers expressed concern about rising interest rates than declining output prices. Producers’ top concern for their farming operations in the upcoming year is still higher input costs, followed by rising interest rates and lower output prices.

The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted between July 10-14.

By | August 1st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Aug. 1, 2023

Despite another day of lower Corn futures, Feeder Cattle futures paddle in place on Monday, closing an average of 33¢ lower, except for unchanged to an average of 12¢ higher in the front three contracts.

Softer cash fed cattle prices last week and continued erosion in open interest helped cap Live Cattle, which closed an average of 46¢ lower, from 7¢ to 70¢ lower.

Last week, FOB negotiated cash fed cattle were $1-$2 lower at $178-$179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle on a light test. Likewise, prices were $1-$2 lower in Kansas at $178-$179 on a light test but with a few up to $185. Live-delivered prices in Kansas were $182.50 to $184. In Nebraska, FOB live trades were mostly $2 lower at mainly $186 on a light test, but a few up to $188.50. Live prices in the western Corn Belt were $1-$3 lower at 185-$187. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $3 lower in Nebraska at $292-$295 and steady to $1 lower in the western Corn belt at $294-$295.

Trade ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

The weighted average five-area direct fed steer price last week was $1.38 lower on a live basis at $184.81/cwt. The weighted average steer price in the beef was $1.09 lower at $293.63.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 22¢ lower Monday afternoon at $301.78/cwt. Select was 19¢ higher at $277.73/cwt.

Significantly cooler and wetter weather forecasted for the Corn Belt pushed grain and Soybean futures sharply lower Monday.

Corn futures closed 15¢ to 17¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 8¢ to 10¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 23¢ to 43¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 31¢ to 50¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices eked out gains Monday as investors closed out the month and geared up for another week of quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 100 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 29 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 95¢ to $1.22 higher through the front six contracts.

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When national beef cow herd expansion finally begins, the dearth of heifers means rebuilding will likely be a slow process, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments.

“The previous record-high calf prices occurred after heifer retention was well underway and feeder cattle supplies were squeezed to their tightest levels. This process may begin in late 2023 but the tightest feeder supplies will not occur until 2024 at the earliest or possibly into 2025,” Peel says. “With the pipeline of beef replacement heifers and residual other heifers extremely low, heifer retention will likely begin mostly with heifer calves.”

Peel points out the inventory of calves weighing less than 500 pounds on July 1 was 26.3 million head, down 2.6% year over year, according to the semiannual USDA Cattle report. 

“Rapidly rising calf prices in 2023 have not yet provoked any heifer retention and herd rebuilding,” Peel says. “The beef replacement heifer inventory was 4.05 million head, down 2.4% from last year and is the lowest ever in the July Cattle report. Not only are replacement heifer inventories low, but the supply of other heifers that could be used for breeding is also low … The other heifer inventory includes heifers already in feedlots as well as heifers that are part of the estimated feeder supply. The July Cattle report showed an inventory of other heifers at 7.3 million head, down 5.2% year over year.”

By | July 31st, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 31, 2023

Feedlots and packers continued their standoff on negotiated cash fed cattle trade, which remained largely undeveloped through Friday afternoon. Trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were a few FOB live sales in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186/cwt., but too few to trend.

Last week, live prices (FOB) were $180/cwt in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, where dressed prices (FOB) were $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 86¢ lower Friday afternoon at $302.00/cwt. Select was $2.22 lower at $277.54/cwt.

Further erosion in Corn futures helped Feeder Cattle futures close an average of 77¢ higher Friday.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 10¢ lower in the back three contracts to an average of 15¢ higher.

Corn futures continued to decline Friday, pressured by more favorable weather in the Corn Belt and less risk premium tied to Ukrainian grain shipments. They closed 11¢ to 12¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 6¢ to 9¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 4¢ to 10¢ lower through Sep ‘24 and then mostly 2¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 8¢ to 15¢ lower through Jan ‘25 and then mostly 2¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday with another gauge of cooling inflation.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index increased 0.2% month to month in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That was in line with expectations. Core PCE, excluding food and energy was slightly less than expected year over year at 4.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 176 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 44 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 266 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 44¢ to 69¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 619,000 head was 5,000 head fewer than the previous week and 47,000 head fewer (-7.1%) than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 18.7 million head was 751,000 head fewer (-3.9%) year over year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 15.3 billion pounds was 773.8 million pounds less (-4.8% less) year over year.

“Most of the decline in beef production compared to a year ago stems from reduced beef cow slaughter, steer slaughter, and lighter slaughter weights,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “Beef cow slaughter is down more than 12% while steer slaughter has declined close to 5%. Alternatively, dairy cow slaughter has increased nearly 6% compared to a year ago due to declining milk prices.”

Griffith points out heifer slaughter is less 1% lower year over year, further affirming that fact that heifer retention has yet to begin.

“All of these points should support beef prices remaining elevated in the near term and in the longer term,” Griffith explains. “It will be interesting to see how imports are adjusting to meet the demand for lean grinding beef, given the production decline domestically. Export data will also help solidify the beef availability picture.”

By | July 29th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 28, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained undeveloped through Thursday afternoon. There were a few FOB live sales in the western Corn Belt at $186/cwt., but too few to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices (FOB) were $180/cwt in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, where dressed prices (FOB) were $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 48¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $302.86/cwt. Select was 5¢ lower at $279.76/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales of 21,400 metric tons (2023) for the week ending July 20 were 2% more than the previous week and 43% more than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, China, and Canada.

Eroding front-month Corn futures supported Feeder Cattle futures again on Thursday. They closed an average of 54¢ higher, except for an average of 7¢ lower in two contracts.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 31¢ lower, except for an average of 13¢ higher in two contracts.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed fractionally mixed to 1¢ higher through Sep ’24 and then 3¢ to 6¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 22¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday despite frothier second-quarter domestic economic growth than expected.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.4% in the second quarter of this year, according to the advance estimate from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Real GDP in the first quarter was 2.0%. Gains in the second quarter primarily reflected increases in consumer spending and business investment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 237 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 29 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 77 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.05 to $1.31 higher through the front six contracts.

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Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) passed a directive earlier this week to continue the organization’s advocacy efforts for transparent labeling and inspection of cell-cultured protein products.

“Cattle producers are not afraid of a little competition, and I know that consumers will continue choosing real high-quality beef over cell-cultured imitations,” says NCBA President Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota cattle producer. “Our priority is ensuring that consumers accurately know the difference between real beef and cell-cultured products through transparent and accurate labeling. We have already been successful at engaging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct robust inspections and oversight to protect food safety.”

Earlier this year, USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) issued two grants of inspection to companies producing cell-cultured chicken imitation products. These grants of inspection permit companies producing cell-cultured products to sell their products in interstate commerce. While no cell-cultured imitations of beef have received a grant of inspection, several companies are attempting to create them.

By | July 27th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 27, 2023

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 88¢ higher Wednesday, supported by lower Corn futures.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 16¢ lower to an average of 33¢ higher.

Sharp volatility continued in grain futures, Wednesday, with traders apparently retrieving a chunk of recent risk premiums.

Corn futures closed 13¢ to 17¢ lower through Jly ‘24 and then 4¢ to 9¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 18¢ to 47¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ lower, except for 30¢ and 18¢ higher in the front two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices (FOB) live prices were $180/cwt in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, where dressed prices (FOB) were $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 88¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $303.34/cwt. Select was $2.26 higher at $279.81/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices were mixed and little changed Wednesday, as the Fed interest rate hike (0.25%) was widely expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 82 points higher. The S&P 500 closed fractionally lower. The NASDAQ was down 17 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 57¢ to 85¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Frozen beef supplies continue to decline year over year, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report.

Total pounds of beef in freezers June 30 were 3% less than the previous month and 20% less than last year.

Frozen pork supplies were down 8% from the previous month and down 9% from the previous year.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were down 6% from the previous month and down 14% from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were 5% more than the previous month and 10% more than a year earlier.

By | July 26th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 26, 2023

Lower Corn futures helped Feeder Cattle futures firm Tuesday and close narrowly mixed, from an average of 15¢ lower to an average of 34¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 75¢ lower, except for 37¢ higher in in the back contract, with pressure tied, in part, to eroding open interest.

Corn futures softened Tuesday with likely profit taking, closing mostly 2¢ to 3¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ higher through Mar ‘25.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices (FOB) live prices were $180/cwt in the Southern Plains and $188 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, where dressed prices (FOB) were $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 6¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $304.22/cwt. Select was 56¢ higher at $277.55/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Tuesday, amid mixed quarterly corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 26 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 12 point higher. The NASDAQ was up 85 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 60¢ to 89¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Rural economic growth continues, at least in one region, according to Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI). Although it remained above growth-neutral for the fourth consecutive month, the RMI declined from 56.9 in June to 55.6 in July. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. It is based on a survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.

“After negative growth during the first quarter of this year, the Rural Mainstreet economy experienced positive but slow economic growth for the second quarter and has now started the third quarter on a healthy note,” says Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

The region’s farmland price index rose to 64.6 from 59.3 in June and 56.3 in May. This was the 34th straight month that the index has advanced above 50.0. 

Bankers reported that, on average, non-farm investors secured approximately 17.1% of farmland sales in their area over the past six months. This is almost double the 9.1% reported by bankers in April 2022 when the same question was asked. 

Bank CEOs were asked to comment on the Federal Reserve’s current short-term interest rate policy. More than nine of 10 (92.5%) indicated that the Fed should cease raising rates. Only 7.5% indicated that the Fed should continue to raise short-term interest rates.

“Higher short-term interest rates produced by Federal Reserve’s rate hikes over the past year have posed a significant threat to community banks by expanding the costs of customer deposits while the rates on bank loans have risen little over the same time period,” Goss says.

By | July 25th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 25, 2023

Feeder Cattle futures took stepped lower Monday, pressured by sharply higher Corn futures and Friday’s bearish Cattle on Feed report which indicated June feedlot placements were 2.7% more than the previous year and 4.6% more that the average of analyst expectations ahead of the report.

Headlines of Russia bombing Ukrainian ports fueled grain and Soybean futures Monday.

Corn futures closed 27¢ to 33¢ higher through the front five contracts and then 9¢ to 19¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 46¢ to 58¢ higher through Jly ‘24 and then 32¢ to 40¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 19¢ to 22¢ higher.

Live Cattle futures faded most of the heat, supported by last week’s stronger cash trade.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.08 higher (32¢ to $1.82 higher), except for an average of $1.24 lower in the front three contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was inactive on very light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices (FOB) were $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $180/cwt., $2 higher in Nebraska at $188 and $3-$4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $188. Dressed prices (FOB) were $3-$5 higher in Nebraska at $295 and steady to $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $295.

The weighted average five-area fed steer price last week was $1.92 higher at $186.19/cwt. on alive basis. The weighted average dressed fed steer price was $3.38 higher at $294.72.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.42 higher Monday afternoon at $304.16/cwt. Select was 26¢ higher at $276.99/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, buoyed by energy stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 183 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 18 point higher. The NASDAQ was up 26 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.41 to $1.67 higher through the front six contracts.

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Reflecting on Friday’s semiannual USDA Cattle report, Derrell Peel, Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist at Oklahoma State University notes this is the fifth year of smaller beef cow inventories since the 2018 cyclical peak, with the beef cow herd down 3.0 million head, a five-year decrease of 9.3%.

“Not only did the report show continued cattle liquidation thus far in 2023, but there are also no clear indications that numbers will stabilize and grow anytime soon,” Peel says.  “The current inventory of beef replacement heifers is 4.05 million head, lower than the previous cyclical low of 4.2 million head in 2011 and 2012 and is the lowest in 50 years of available July 1 inventory data.”

Moreover, Peel points out the inventory of heifers in feedlots in the July Cattle on Feed report — unchanged from last year —indicates relatively large numbers of heifers continue to be fed for slaughter rather than retained for breeding. He adds that heifers currently represent 39.9% of total feedlot inventories, the highest proportion of heifers in feedlots since 2001.

“The sharp increase in feeder cattle prices this year represents a growing market incentive for the beef cattle industry to transition from liquidation to herd expansion, but it does not appear that the industry is responding yet,” Peel says. “Feeder cattle prices will continue to increase to jumpstart heifer retention, which will lead to even higher prices as feeder supplies are further squeezed with fewer heifers in the feeder cattle supply.”

By | July 24th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 24, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow to moderate with moderate demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, live prices in the Texas Panhandle were $2 higher (compared to two weeks earlier) at $180/cwt. Live prices in Kansas were unevenly steady at $180 (a few up to $187) with live delivered prices at $184-$185. Prices in Nebraska were mostly $2 higher at $188 with a few up to $190. In the western Corn Belt, live prices were mostly $3-$4 higher at $188.

Dressed prices (FOB) in Nebraska were $8-$10 higher at $300.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 18¢ higher Friday afternoon at $302.74/cwt. Select was $2.02 higher at $276.73/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 628,000 head was 5,000 head fewer than the previous week and 35,000 head fewer (-5.3%) than the previous year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 18.1 million head was 700,000 head fewer (-3.7%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 14.8 billion pounds was 735.5 million pounds less (-4.7%).

As for futures, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 40¢ lower Friday, except for an average of 6¢ higher in two contracts.

Conversely, stronger cash prices and softer Corn futures helped Feeder Cattle futures gain an average of $1.11. They could be challenged Monday, however, with what will likely be considered a bearish Cattle on Feed report (see below).

Corn futures softened again with likely profit taking. They closed 7¢ to 10¢ lower through Dec ‘24 and then 5¢ to 6¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 14¢ to 15¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower, except for 6¢ and 2¢ higher in old-crop contracts.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed and little changed Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 1 point higher. The NASDAQ was down 30 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.10 to $1.42 higher through the front six contracts.

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Markets will likely view Friday’s Cattle on Feed report as bearish with more June placements than expected.

Placements in feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity were 1.68 million head in June, which was 44,000 head more (+2.7%) than the previous year. That was 4.6% more that the average of analyst expectations ahead of the report.

In terms of placement weights, 39% went on feed weighing 699 pounds or less, 45% weighing 700-899 pounds and 16% weighing 900 pounds or more.

Marketings in June of 1.96 million head were 104,000 head fewer (-5.0%) year over year, which was in line with pre-report estimates.

Cattle on feed July 1 of 11.20 million head were 201,000 head fewer (-1.8%) than the previous year, which was also in line with pre-report estimates.

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National beef cow liquidation continues, and heifer retention has yet to begin, according to Friday’s semiannual USDA Cattle report.

There were 29.4 million beef cows in the U.S. July 1, which was 800,000 head fewer (-2.6%) year over year. The number of beef replacement heifers was 100,000 head fewer (-2.4%) at 4.0 million head. This year’s calf crop was estimated to be 33.8 million head, which would be 664,500 head fewer (-1.9%) than the previous year.

The calculated number of cattle outside feedlots July 1 — calves under 500 pounds, other heifers and steers weighing more than 500 pounds — was 34.4 million, which was 1.3 million head fewer (-3.6%) than the same time last year.

Total cattle and calves in the U.S. July 1 of 95.9 million was 2.7 million fewer (-2.7%) than a year earlier.

By | July 23rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 21, 2023

Cattle futures strengthened during much of Thursday’s session but closed lower, perhaps with some defensiveness ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed report, as well as the Semiannual Cattle report. So far, these reversals have represented a breather rather than a top.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 74¢ lower (35¢ to $1.05 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 71¢ lower (15¢ to $1.70 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow to moderate in the western Corn Belt through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Live prices were $3-$4 higher than last week at $188/cwt.

There were a few live sales in Nebraska at $188 on limited trade and light demand, but too few to trend.

Last week, live prices were $186/cwt. in Nebraska and $175-$184 in Kansas on a light test. Dressed prices were $290-$292 in Nebraska and $290-$295 in the western Corn Belt. Live prices in the Texas Panhandle the previous week were $178.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.03 lower Thursday afternoon at $302.56/cwt. Select was $1.25 lower at $274.71/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ lower on likely profit taking.

KC HRW Wheat closed mixed, from 8¢ lower to 8¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mixed, mostly 5¢ to 6¢ lower through Mar ’24 and then mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Thursday, amid mixed but mainly positive quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 163 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 30 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 294 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 25¢ to 36¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Friday’s semiannual USDA Cattle report should provide some insight to the degree of continued beef cow liquidation.

“Since January, slaughter data has indicated a 12% decline in beef cow slaughter,” say USDA Economic Research Service analysts, in the latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. “This is likely a combination of improving pasture conditions, sufficient reductions in animal units per acre on poorer pastures, and the prospect of improved profitability from selling calves. At the same time, dairy cow slaughter is up almost 6% year over year, but not by enough to offset the effect of declining beef cow slaughter on total cow slaughter. However, beef cow retention will likely cap cow slaughter for the foreseeable future.”

While beef cow slaughter is likely to decline more significantly in the second half of the year, it is unlikely to decline enough to come close to stabilizing the beef cow herd this year, according to Derrell Peel, Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments.

“There is no data currently to support the idea that heifer retention is under way, but it may have started with recent improvements in range and pasture conditions,” Peel says. The beef replacement heifer number in the upcoming report will be of keen interest and is likely to show a still smaller number compared to last year but could show a slight increase year over year if heifer retention has begun.”

By | July 20th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 20, 2023

Traders continued to add risk premium to grain and Soybean futures Wednesday.

Corn futures closed mostly 9¢ to 18¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 31¢ to 41¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 12¢ to 14¢ higher.

Higher Corn futures weighed on Feeder Cattle, which closed an average of 61¢ lower (27¢ to $1.20 lower), except for an average of 10¢ higher in the back two contracts.

However, recent cash strength and cattle feeders’ continued resolve to hold cattle helped push Live Cattle future an average of 43¢ higher (5¢ to 75¢ higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on very light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices were $186/cwt. in Nebraska, $184-$185 in the western Corn Belt and $175-$184 in Kansas on a light test. Dressed prices were $290-$292 in Nebraska and $290-$295 in the western Corn Belt. Live prices in the Texas Panhandle the previous week were $178.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.09 lower Wednesday afternoon at $303.59/cwt. Select was 65¢ lower at $275.96/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices continued to gain Wednesday, as quarterly earnings continue to surpass expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 109 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 10 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 4 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 22¢ to 40¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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The all-fresh aggregate retail beef price set a record in June at $7.57 per pound, which was 3¢ more than the previous monthly record established in October 2021, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC).

“Retail fresh beef prices are 3.1% higher than last year at this time,” LMIC analysts say in the latest Livestock Monitor. “Retail pork prices continued to decline, coming in at $4.68 per pound, about 5% lower than last June. Broiler retail prices ticked higher … Retail meat prices appear strong for beef and chicken, but domestic pork demand still seems to be struggling. Adding to pork complications is the new Prop 12 law, which will likely increase the amount of pork on the domestic market outside of California.”

Although the Consumer Price Index (CPI) continues to grow at a slowing pace, LMIC analysts note prices for food continued more than 5% higher year over year. They add that the meat index was only 0.6% higher.

By | July 19th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 18, 2023

Cash strength and weaker Corn futures helped lift Feeder Cattle futures Monday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.80 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 18¢ lower in three contracts to an average of 34¢ higher (7¢ to 75¢ higher).

Apparently, the trade wasn’t buying reports of Russia pulling out of the Black Sea Grain initiative, set to expire on Tuesday without renewal. Grain futures were stronger right after the reports but lost ground throughout the session.

Corn futures closed mostly 6¢ to 8¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 7¢ to 13¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 7¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was inactive on very light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices were generally $3 higher in Nebraska at $186/cwt., $1-$2 higher in the western Corn belt at $184-$185 and from $3 lower to $6 higher in Kansas at $175-$184. Dressed prices were steady to $2 higher in Nebraska at $290-$292 and steady to $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $290-$295.

Live prices in the Texas Panhandle the previous week were $178.

The five-area direct weighted average fed steer price last week was $2.21 higher on a live basis at $184.27/cwt. The average fed steer price in the beef was $1.35 higher at $291.34.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 84¢ higher Monday afternoon at $306.78/cwt. Select was 87¢ lower at $275.74/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday ahead of this week’s bellwether quarterly corporate earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 76 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 17 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 131 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 95¢ to $1.27 lower through the front six contracts.

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USDA will release the semiannual Cattle report Friday, which could provide some clues about the pace of further beef cow liquidation this year.

“The report is expected to show that herd liquidation continued in the first six months of the year but may slow in the remainder of the year,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. “There is no data currently to support the idea that heifer retention is under way, but it may have started with recent improvements in range and pasture conditions. The beef replacement heifer number in the upcoming report will be of keen interest and is likely to show a still smaller number compared to last year but could show a slight increase year over year if heifer retention has begun.”

Likewise, analysts with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service explain preliminary numbers for the first half of the year indicate yearling heifer slaughter was the most in 15 years, while year-to-date beef clow slaughter is the second most in 10 years,

“With that number of females going to market in the first half of the year, it will take a considerable amount of time to turn the tide and have more heifer retention,” AMA analysts say.

Moreover, AMS analysts point out significant drought persists broadly across key the cow-calf states of Kansas and Missouri and Nebraska, as well as parts of Texas.

“The cattle inventory report will show that the beef cow herd continued to decline in the first half of the year. While beef cow slaughter is down thus far — 12.0% less year over year in the first six months of the year — the current pace suggests a herd culling rate over 12% for the year. Beef herd expansion requires a herd culling rate below 10% and likely below 9% for a year or more,” Peel says.

While beef cow slaughter is likely to decline more significantly in the second half of the year, Peel explains, “It is unlikely to drop enough to come close to stabilizing the beef cow herd this year.”

By | July 17th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 17, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Live prices in the western Corn Belt were $183-$186/cwt., which was $1-$2 higher than the previous week when dressed prices were $290.

Although too few to trend, there were a few live sales in Nebraska at $186 and a few in the beef at $291. Prices the previous week were $183.00-$186.50 and $290, respectively.

Trade in the Southern Plains remained inactive on very light demand. Prices the previous week were $178.

Live Cattle futures closed higher Friday, buoyed by stronger cash prices in the North, dragging Feeder Cattle along.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.02 higher ($1.15 at the back to $3.27 higher in spot Aug).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.97 higher.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 97¢ lower Friday afternoon at 305.94/cwt. Select was $3.57 lower at $276.61.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week was 633,000, which was 94,000 head more than the previous holiday-shortened week. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter was 17.5 million head, which was 662,000 head fewer (-3.6%). Estimated year-to-date beef production of 15 billion pounds was 709.6 million pounds less (-4.7%).

Turning to the grain complex, Grain and Soybean futures closed higher Friday, supported by the lower U.S. dollar and the looming deadline to extend the Black Sea Grain initiative.

Corn futures closed mostly 7¢ to 13¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 9¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 22¢ to 23¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher to sideways Friday with follow-through support from recent inflation news, as well as a strong start to quarterly corporate earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 113 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 4 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 24 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.28 to $1.47 lower through the front six contracts.

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Forecast cattle feeding returns continue to be extremely positive, according to the most recent Historical and Projected Kansas Feedlot Net Returns from Kansas State University.

Net returns for steers in Kansas (July-December) range from a low of $158.96 per head in December to a high of $261.37 in November. Net returns in July were projected to be $172.78. Over the same period, estimated feedlot cost of gain ranges from $139.65/cwt. in July to $110.60 in December.

Keep mind the returns reflect no price risk management.

Returns for heifers follow a similar pattern, ranging from a low of $68.66 per head in December to a high of $203.74 in October. July returns were estimated to be $156.98. During the same period, estimated feedlot cost of gain ranges from $153.59/cwt. in July to $118.45 in December.

By | July 16th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 14, 2023

Traders seemed to reconsider their initial reaction to Wednesday’s WASDE, fueling gains in Corn and Soybeans. The looming deadline to extend the Black Sea Grain initiative may have added support.

Corn futures closed mostly 12¢ to 16¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 29¢ to 43¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed 2¢ to 5¢ higher.

The bounce higher in Corn futures weighed on Cattle futures Thursday, especially Feeder Cattle.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.36 lower (57¢ to $1.42 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 32¢ lower, except for unchanged and 2¢ higher in two contracts.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.07 lower Thursday afternoon at 306.91/cwt. Select was 92¢ lower at $280.18/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday with another favorable inflation reading.

The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.1% percent in June, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Final demand prices declined 0.4% in May and edged up 0.1% in April. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final

demand advanced 0.1% for the 12 months ended in June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 47 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 37 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 219 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.18 to $1.22 higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) increased expected global beef production in the latest quarterly Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade.  Compared to the April report, FAS increased worldwide production to 59.6 million tons, about 1% more.

“Drought has induced more herd liquidation in Argentina, raising its production 6% from the April forecast,” FAS analysts explain. “Similarly, larger feedlot placements and higher cow slaughter are expected to boost U.S. production by 1% from April. New Zealand production is raised 3% as male dairy calves are now marketed for beef. EU production is cut 1% on lower slaughter and lighter weights due to high input costs.

On a related note, net U.S. beef export sales were 42% less than the previous week and down 28% from the prior four-week average, according to USDA’s weekly U.S. Export Sales report for the week ending July 6.

Increases were primarily for Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Mexico.

By | July 13th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 13, 2023

Although USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) surprised some by making yield adjustments in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates — those usually come later in the growing season — Corn futures fell with higher estimated ending stocks.

Corn futures closed 12¢ to 22¢ lower through Sep ‘24 and then mostly 7¢ to 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 25¢ to 32¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 7¢ to 16¢ lower.

Even so, Cattle futures closed lower on the day following strong action earlier; perhaps driven by profit taking.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.20 lower (57¢ to $1.42 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.48 lower (62¢ to $1.95 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was inactive with very light demand in all regions through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices were $178/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183.00-$186.50 in Nebraska and $182-$184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.14 lower Wednesday afternoon at $310.98/cwt. Select was 86¢ lower at $281.10/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher again Wednesday with another signal of slowing inflation.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.2% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the he U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; it increased 0.1% in May.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 86 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 32 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 158 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 75¢ to 92¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service projected the expected third-quarter fed steer price (five-area direct) $5 higher than the previous month to $178/cwt., and the fourth-quarter price $9 higher to $183, in the July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. The forecast annual price increased $3.60 to $175.30. Next year’s annual price was projected $4 higher at $184.

Price projections increased despite a bump in expected beef production due to higher expected steer, heifer, cow, and bull slaughter.

Specifically, forecast beef production for this year increased 75 million pounds from the previous estimate to 27.16 billion pounds. That would be 1.13 billion pounds less (-4%) than last year. Next year’s beef production was forecast to be a staggering 2.46 billion pounds less (-9.1%) that this year’s projected total at 24.7 billion pounds.

By | July 12th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 12, 2023

Cattle futures continued to churn higher Tuesday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 97¢ higher. Live Cattle futures closed an average of 94¢ higher (40¢ to $1.77 higher).

Corn and Soybean futures closed higher on likely positioning ahead of Wednesday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 10¢ to 12¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 6¢ 8¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was inactive with very light demand in all regions through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices were $178/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183.00-$186.50 in Nebraska and $182-$184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.67 lower Tuesday afternoon at $312.12/cwt. Select was $2.09 lower at $280.24/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher again Tuesday with investors apparently expecting to see more data this week suggesting cooling inflation. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 317 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 29 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 75 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.65 to $1.84 higher through the front six contracts.

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Nationwide, pasture and range conditions improved some last week, according to Crop Progress report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For the week ending July 9, 47% of pasture and range was rated as Good (37%) or Excellent (10%), which was 2% more than the previous week and 19% more than a year earlier. 23% was rated as Poor (15%) or Very Poor (8%), which was 2% less than a week earlier and 23% less than a year earlier. States with more than 40% of pasture and range rated as Poor or Very Poor include: Arizona (54%), Michigan (53%), Missouri (71%) and Texas (44%).

Corn and soybean condition also improved a bit.

22% of corn was silking, which was 8% more than the same time last year and 1% more than the five-year average. 55% of corn was rated, Good (45%) or Excellent (10%) condition, compared to 51% the previous week and 67% the previous year. 14% was rated as Poor (10%) or Very Poor (4%), which was 1% less than previous week but 4% more than a year earlier.

39% of soybeans were blooming, which was 9% more than a year earlier and 4% more than average. 51% of soybeans were rated in Good (44%) or Excellent (7%) condition, which was 1% more than the previous week but 11% less than the same week last year. 15% of soybeans were in Poor (11%) or Very Poor (4%) condition, the same as the previous week and 6% more than the previous year.

46% of winter wheat was harvested, which was 16% less than last year and 13% less than the average. 40% was rated in Good (33%) or Excellent (7%) condition, which was the same as a week earlier and 9% more than a year earlier. 28% was rated Poor (17%) or Very Poor (11%), which was 1% less than the previous week and 5% less than a year earlier. 

By | July 11th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 11, 2023

Stellar cash demand for calves and feeder cattle, along with steady to stronger cash fed cattle prices last week helped Cattle futures extend gains Monday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 65¢ higher (10¢ higher at the back to $1.00 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 40¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive with very light demand to a standstill through Monday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices were steady to $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $178/cwt., $1.00 to $1.50 higher in Nebraska at $183.00-$186.50 and steady to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $182-$184. Dressed prices were steady at $290.

The five-area direct weighted average fed steer price last week was $182.06 on a live basis, up 73¢ from the previous week. The average fed steer price in the beef was 65¢ higher at 289.99.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.11 lower Monday afternoon at $313.79/cwt. Select was $3.30 lower at $282.33/cwt.

Corn and Soybean futures closed higher on likely profit taking and positioning ahead of Wednesday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 17¢ to 27¢ higher through Aug ’24 and then mostly 12¢ to 15¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 3¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday as investors await further inflation readings this week, as well as the beginning of quarterly stock earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 209 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 10 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 24 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 50¢ to 87¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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The U.S. beef industry trend toward tightening cattle supplies, decreased beef production and sharply higher prices are expected to impact international trade of U.S. cattle and beef, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.

“Reduced beef supplies and higher prices are projected to lead to reduced beef exports and increased beef imports,” Peel explains in his weekly market comments. “The strength of the U.S. dollar and the impacts of exchange rates may further exaggerate or mute these underlying market forces. The relatively strong dollar in recent months has tended to dampen beef exports and support increased imports. Unique market factors in specific countries will also impact trade flows in particular markets. The most recent trade data confirms that the expected impacts are indeed developing.”

As noted in last Friday’s Cattle Current, U.S. beef exports in May were 14% less year over year for volume and down 19% for value. For January through May, volume was 10% less than the same period last year and value was down 21%.

On the other side of the equation, Peel says total beef imports to the U.S. were up 5.7% year over year in May. He adds that imports for the first five months of the year are 0.6% less than the same time last year.

“Beef imports appear to be reverting to more traditional import patterns with May imports of beef from Australia up 39.1% and imports from New Zealand up 23.2 % for the month,” Peel says. By volume, Peel explains these are the top five importers to the U.S. in this order: Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

“Beef imports will continue to be supported by higher domestic beef prices and the reduction in U.S. processing beef supplies due to reduced cow slaughter,” Peel says.

By | July 10th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 10, 2023

Lower Corn futures and producer leverage demonstrated by the week’s cash fed cattle trade helped push Cattle futures higher on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.58 higher ($1.80 at the back to $3.27 higher toward the front).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.13 higher (42¢ higher near the back to $2.42 higher at the front).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow with light to moderate demand in the North, to limited on light demand in the South through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For the week, live prices were steady to $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $178/cwt., steady to $1 higher in Nebraska at $183-$185 and steady to $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $183-$184. Dressed prices were steady at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value Friday afternoon was $2.97 lower at $316.90/cwt. Select was $4.34 lower at $285.63/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter for the holiday-shortened week of 539,000 head was 108,000 head fewer than the previous week and 49,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 16.8 million head was 3.6% less year over year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 13.8 billion pounds was 676.9. million pounds less (-4.7%).

Corn and Soybean futures closed lower on a wetter weekend outlook and perhaps some positioning ahead of next week’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, which will be USDA’s first opportunity to make adjustments to forecast yields. 

Corn futures closed mostly 6¢ to 12¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 16¢ to 21¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed 21¢ to 25¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Friday on lingering rate hike fears, despite a weaker jobs report than expected.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was little changed at 3.6%. In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose by 12¢ to $33.58.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 187 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 12 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 18 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.57 to $2.06 higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports improved month to month in May, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, exports remain less than last year’s record totals.

Beef exports totaled 116,159 metric tons (mt) in May, down 14% year over year but up 4% from the previous month. Export value was $874.7 million, down 19% year over year but 2% above April. May exports strengthened to Mexico, Taiwan and South Africa. Export value to Canada was the highest in nearly eight years. Beef variety meat exports were the largest in 12 months at just under 27,000 mt.

“U.S. beef exports face considerable headwinds in 2023, on both the supply and demand side, especially when compared to last year’s massive totals,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “To address tighter beef supplies, USMEF has heightened efforts to showcase underutilized cuts, even in our well-established markets. It’s also encouraging to see beef variety meat exports maintain a strong pace, as this is essential for maximizing carcass value.”

Beef export value equated to $399.71 per head of fed slaughter in May, down 21% from a year ago. The January-May average was $391.66, down 19%.

By | July 8th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 7, 2023

Feeder Cattle futures continued to adjust lower, down an average of $2.32 amid a bounce in Corn futures.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 39¢ lower with apparent pressure from sliding seasonal wholesale beef values.

Corn futures bounced back Thursday with a gloomier weather outlook. They closed 12¢ to 18¢ higher through Jly ‘24, and then 6¢ to 7¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed lower on oversold conditions. They were down 15¢ to 24¢ lower through Jan ‘24, and then 7¢ to 12¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat closed mixed, fractionally lower to 6¢ lower through May ’24 and then 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to mostly inactive on very light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

On light trade, live prices were steady to $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $178/cwt. and unevenly steady in the western Corn Belt at $179-$184, where dressed prices last week were $290.

Last week, live prices in Nebraska were $180-$183 on a live basis and $290 in the beef.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.91 lower Thursday afternoon at $319.87/cwt. Select was $2.72 lower at $289.97/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday with worries that positive employment data will fuel more interest rate hikes. Private sector employment increased by 497,000 in June, according to the ADP National Employment report. That was significantly more than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 366 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 35 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 112 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed mostly narrowly lower through the front six contracts.

By | July 6th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 6, 2023

Cattle futures showed signs of modest correction Wednesday as traders await direction from the week’s cash market.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.79 lower ($2.17 to $3.25 lower).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.14 lower (72¢ to $1.87 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive with very light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices were $179/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $178 in Kansas, $182-$185 in Nebraska and $180-$183 in the western Corn Belt at $180-$183. Dressed prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.56 lower Wednesday afternoon at $322.78/cwt. Select was $1.61 lower at $292.69/cwt.

Wheat futures bounced higher Wednesday amid selling fatigue and concerns about Russia’s sword rattling.

KC HRW Wheat closed 25¢ to 50¢ higher.

Corn and Soybean futures held their own with static week over week crop conditions.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher, except for the front two contracts.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 8¢ higher through Aug ‘24, and then 11¢ to 13¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices resumed the trading week with softer tones Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 129 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 8 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 25 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.80 to $2.00 higher through the front six contracts.

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Agricultural producer sentiment improved last month, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer index. It rose 17 points from the May reading to 121 in June. Producers’ perceptions of current conditions was unchanged but they were more optimistic about the future with Index of Future Expectations increasing 25 points to 123.

“Optimism about U.S. agriculture’s future and a more sanguine interest rate outlook help explain producers’ more positive view of the future expressed in June’s survey,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “However, current conditions in the farming economy continue to present a challenge for some producers. This month four out of 10 producers stated that their financial situation has deteriorated compared to a year ago.”

The Farm Financial Performance Index also rose this month, up 10-points from May and was likely a result of a late-May to early-June rally in harvest time prices for corn and soybeans, as well as optimism towards positive returns for cattle producers.

In June, 50% of respondents said they expect “good times” for livestock producers in the next five years, up from 37% in May. Optimism about positive returns for cattle producers, especially cow-calf operations, was likely a key factor behind the positive livestock outlook.

The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted between June 12-16.

By | July 5th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 4 and 5, 2023

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill through Monday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, live prices were $1 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $179/cwt., $2 lower in Kansas at $178, steady in Nebraska at $182-$185 and $2-$4 lower in the western Corn belt at $180-$183. Dressed prices were steady at $290.

The weighted average five-area direct fed steer price last week was $181.33/cwt. on a live basis, which was $1.24 lower than the previous week. The average fed steer price in the beef was 47¢ lower at $289.34.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 62¢ higher Monday afternoon at $328.34/cwt. Select was 67¢ higher at $294.30/cwt.

Cattle futures mostly held their ground Monday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 63¢ higher (32¢ to $1.17 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 17¢ lower in the front four contracts to an average of 34¢ higher.

Corn futures firmed some Monday with likely support from rallying Soybeans.

Corn futures closed mixed, mostly 2¢ lower to 1¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 22¢ to 31¢ higher, building on Fridays Acreage report.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 1¢ to 6¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Monday after the holiday-shortened trading session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 10 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 28 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 85¢ to $1.02 lower through the front six contracts.

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Saying that cattle markets have been bullish so far this year is an understatement.

In his weekly market comments, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University explains Oklahoma auction prices for steer calves weighing less than 600 pounds averaged 41.9% higher year over year in June; 39.7% higher for feeder steers weighing more than 600 pounds. He adds that the five-area fed cattle price averaged 30.3% higher year over year over the past four weeks. 

“The June cattle on feed report showed that feedlot inventories have been lower for nine consecutive months,” Peel says. “The decline in feedlot inventory has been relatively slow with May feedlot placements higher than expected based on lingering drought impacts and strong feeder demand as feedlots attempt to maintain inventories. However, feeder supplies and feedlot numbers will continue to decline as the reality of smaller cattle supplies builds. Increased heifer retention is likely to squeeze feeder supplies more sharply in the second half of the year.”

As it is, Peel points out beef production through the first 24 weeks of this year was 4.9% less than last year’s record pace. So far this year, he says yearling slaughter (steer + heifer) is 3.0% less year over year with steer slaughter down 4.7% and heifer slaughter down 0.4%.

“However, heifer slaughter is down 4.9% year over year in the last four weeks and combines with a 5.9% decrease in steer slaughter to reduce total yearling slaughter 5.5% in the most recent four weeks of data,” Peel explains. “Total cow slaughter is down 4.4% for the year to date with a 12.1% decrease in beef cow slaughter … Bull slaughter is down 8.4% thus far in 2023.”

The primary question about markets in the second half of the year revolves around the extent to which herd rebuilding begins — increased heifer retention and continued reductions in beef cow slaughter, according to Peel. He notes producer expectations and remaining drought conditions will impact the timing of herd rebuilding efforts.

“The upcoming July Cattle on Feed report (with quarterly steer and heifer feedlot inventories) and the July Cattle report are expected to provide important clues as to how cattle market conditions may change in the second half of the year,” Peel says.

By | July 3rd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—July 3, 2023

Cattle futures climbed Friday as Corn futures slid on the bearish Acreage report (see below).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.03 higher ($3.15 to $5.20 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.51 higher (65¢ higher at the back to $2.67 higher in new spot Aug).

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures were up an average of $11.10 and Live Cattle futures were up an average of $3.68.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly slow with light to moderate demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Although too few to trend, there were a few live trades in the Texas Panhandle at $179/cwt. and at $182-$183 in the western Corn Belt. There were a few dressed trades in Nebraska at $290.

The only established trade for the week was in Kansas where live prices were $2 lower at $178.

Last week, live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains $182-$185 in Nebraska and $184-$185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 33¢ lower Friday afternoon at $327.72/cwt. Select was $3.55 lower at $293.63/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 644,000 head was 5,000 head fewer than the previous week but 3,000 more than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 16.3 million head was 580,000 head (-3.4%) less. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 13.34 billion pounds was 635.6 million pounds less (-4.5%).

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Corn futures tumbled Friday, closing 26¢ to 35¢ lower through Jly ’24 and then mostly 4¢ to 10¢ lower after USDA released the Acreage report, showing significantly more corn acres than expected (see below).

USDA estimated corn planted area for all purposes this year at 94.1 million acres, in the Acreage report. That was 5.52 million acres more (+6%) than last year, and 2.1 million acres more than the March Prospective Plantings report. Corn acres would be the third highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944. Projected area harvested for grain of 86.3 million acres would be 9% more than last year.

Conversely, soybean planted area for 2023 was estimated at 83.5 million acres, down 5% from last year and 4 million acres fewer than the Prospective Plantings report.

All wheat planted area for 2023 was estimated at 49.6 million acres, up 9% from last year. The 2023 winter wheat planted area of 37.0 million acres was 11% more than last year but 1% less than the previous estimate.

On Friday, Soybean futures closed 72¢ to 77¢ higher through Jan ‘24 and then 28¢ to 56¢ higher through Aug ‘24.

Week to week on Friday, Corn futures were an average of 86’9¢ lower through the front six contracts, while the front six contracts for Soybean were 34’5¢ higher.

USDA estimated all acres for hay harvested this year at 51.98 million acres, which would be 2.4 million acres more (+4.9%) than last year

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday, boosted by another gauge of cooling inflation.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.3% month over month in May and 4.6% year over year, which was less than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 285 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 53 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 196 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 52¢ to 78¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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The quarterly Grain Stocks report issued Friday continued to paint a picture of snugger on-hand supplies.

Corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2023 totaled 4.11 billion bushels, down 6% year over year. Of the total stocks, 2.22 billion bushels were stored on farms, up 5% from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks of 1.89 billion bushels were 15% less than a year ago.

Soybeans stored in all positions on June 1, 2023 totaled 796 million bushels, down 18% from the same time last year. On-farm stocks totaled 323 million bushels, down 3% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks of 473 million bushels were 26% less than a year ago.

Old-crop all wheat stored in all positions on June 1, 2023 totaled 580 million bushels, down 17% from a year ago. On-farm stocks were estimated at 124 million bushels, up 34% from last year. Off-farm stocks of 456 million bushels were 25% less than a year ago.

By | July 2nd, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—June 30, 2023

Cattle futures continued to gain Thursday on Corn weakness.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.41 higher (90¢ to $2.12 higher).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 43¢ higher.

Corn futures closed 6¢ to 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 4¢ lower, except for gains in the front four contracts.

KC HRW Wheat closed mostly 7¢ to 10¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly limited on light demand to mostly inactive on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

There were a few live trades in Nebraska at $182/cwt., but too few to trend.

So far this week, live sales in Kansas are $2 lower at $178.

Last week, live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains $182-$185 in Nebraska and $184-$185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value 15¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $328.05/cwt. Select was 50¢ higher at $297.18/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly higher Thursday, buoyed by banks’ successful passage of stress testing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 296 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 19 points higher. The NASDAQ was fractionally lower.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 18¢ to 30¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Per capita red meat and poultry disappearance—often used as a proxy for consumption—is forecast to decline 1% next year, mostly due to an 8% projected decline in per capita disappearance of beef, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.

For pork, a very slight decrease in pork production, combined with higher expected exports, result in a very small decrease in forecast per capita disappearance next year.

By | June 29th, 2023|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—June 29, 2023

Feeder Cattle futures maintained upward momentum as Corn futures continued to decline.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.32 higher.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 75¢ higher through Feb ‘24 (32¢ to $1.37 higher) and then unchanged to an average of 48¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

So far this week, live sales in Kansas are $2 lower at $178/cwt.

Last week, live prices were $180/cwt. in the Southern Plains $182-$185 in Nebraska and $184-$185 in the wes