Daily Market Highlights 2017-06-02T12:08:41-05:00

Daily Market Highlights

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Cattle Current Daily—June 12, 2024

Cattle futures softened Tuesday as traders awaited weekly cash direction.

Before settlement, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 46¢ lower. Feeder Cattle were an average of 99¢ lower.

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, FOB live prices were $185/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $190 in Nebraska and $190-$193 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $301 in Nebraska and $300-$301 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 79¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $318.21/cwt. Select was 42¢ lower at $300.62/cwt.

Grain and soybean futures were mixed Tuesday, with likely positioning ahead of Wednesday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Heading toward the close, through away Jly contracts, Corn futures were mostly 3¢ lower. Kansas City Wheat futures were 4¢ to 9¢ higher. Soybean futures were 5¢ to 11¢ lower. 

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Major U.S. financial indices settled mixed Tuesday, with the most support from tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 120 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 14 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 151 points.

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Expectations for continued historically strong domestic consumer beef demand will pave the way to record-high retail beef prices this summer as production declines, according to Rabobank’s Global Beef Quarterly for the second quarter.

RaboResearch analysts point out the U.S. all-fresh beef retail price in April was record-high at $7.95 per pound and demand was the second highest in the past three decades.

At the same time, those analysts note prices for calves, feeder cattle and fed cattle were record-high or near record-high in March. They expect calf and fed cattle prices to trend sideways through the summer, while feeder cattle prices strengthen.

Globally, Rabobank forecasts declining beef production in the U.S. and Europe will overshadow anticipated production increases in Australia and Brazil.

“The global cattle market is currently moving at two distinct paces,” according to Angus Gidley-Baird, Rabobank Senior Animal Protein Analyst. “North American markets are hovering near record highs amid the contraction in local production, while other regions are experiencing more subdued pricing. Europe finds itself in the middle ground, despite a recent uptick in production. These regional disparities are beginning to influence international trade flows, with the U.S. ramping up its import volumes and major Asian markets maintaining steady import levels.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—June 11, 2024

Cattle futures extended support from the previous session, buoyed by recently stronger wholesale beef prices and prospects of higher cash prices this week. Before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $2.06 higher. Feeder Cattle were an average of $3.16 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 $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $185/cwt., steady in Nebraska at $190 and $1-$2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $190-$193. Dressed delivered prices were steady in Nebraska at $301 and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $300-$301.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 67¢ higher Monday afternoon at $317.42/cwt. Select was 10¢ lower at $301.04/cwt.

Grain and soybean futures were mixed Monday, perhaps with some positioning ahead of this week’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Heading into the close, Corn futures were fractionally higher to 2¢ higher through Jly ’25 and Soybean futures fractionally higher to 8¢ higher through near Nov. However, nearby Kansas City Wheat futures were 19¢ to 24¢ lower with likely harvest pressure.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 69 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 13 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 59 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were $2.18 to $2.70 higher through the front six contracts on projections of summer demand exceeding supplies.

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While fed cattle beef production continues higher than anticipated due to longer feeding periods and the slower packer pace, non-fed beef production is sharply lower so far this year, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.

“Total cow slaughter is down 14.1% year over year through the first 21 weeks of the year, with dairy cow slaughter down 13.4% and beef cow slaughter down 14.8% from last year,” Peel says in his weekly market comments. “Cow carcass weights are averaging 646.8 pounds, up 10 pounds over one year ago. Bull slaughter is down 7.0% year over year, with bull carcass weights up 28.7 pounds year over year and averaging 892 pounds.” 

Conversely, Peel explains fed cattle slaughter is 4.5% less year over year and fed cattle beef production is 2.0% less.

All told, Peel says total non-fed slaughter through May was down 13.6% and total non-fed beef production was down 12.0%, or 1.69 billion pounds less. He adds that non-fed beef makes up 20% of total beef production, on average. 

“Fed cattle slaughter is expected to decrease more in late 2024, though carcass weights will likely remain elevated,” Peel says. “Heifer retention may be starting, which would lead to a larger decline in heifer slaughter by the end of the year. Beef cow slaughter may also drop more sharply in the last part of the year. Herd rebuilding typically results in decreased heifer and beef cow slaughter. Moisture conditions through the summer and into the fall will be critical to determine if, and how much, herd rebuilding gets started and the impact on 2024 beef production.”

Hear more of Peel’s insights here.

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

Cattle Current Daily—June 10, 2024

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $185/cwt. and unevenly steady in the western Corn Belt at $190. Prices in Nebraska the previous week were $190.

Dressed delivered prices the previous week were $301 in Nebraska and $300-$301 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 54¢ higher Friday afternoon at $316.75/cwt. Select was 31¢ higher at $301.14/cwt. Week to week on Friday, Choice was up $3.55 but Select was 57¢ lower.

Total cattle slaughter last week of 614,000 head was 74,000 head more than the previous holiday-shortened week. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter of 13.7 million head was 631,000 head fewer (-4.4%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 11.6 billion pounds was 198.4 million pounds less (-1.7%).

Cattle futures found some footing Friday, helped along by firm wholesale beef prices.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 20¢ higher, except for an average of 20¢ lower in two contracts. They were an average of $1.33 lower week to week on Friday, except for 62¢ higher in spot June.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.37 higher. However, they were an average of $1.75 lower week to week on Friday.

Grain and Soybean futures weakened Friday on likely fund selling.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ lower. KC HRW Wheat futures closed 12¢ to 14¢ lower. Soybean futures 12¢ to 20¢ lower through near Sep and then 2¢ to 9¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices settled slightly lower Friday with pressure including a stronger than expected labor report.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 272,000 in May, and the unemployment rate was little- changed at 4.0%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 14¢ to $34.91. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 87 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 5 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 39 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME closed narrowly mixed through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports in April were the largest in 10 months at 111,580 metric tons (mt), according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Export value was 5% more year over year at $898.7 million, which was also the highest level since last June.

Through the first four months of 2024, beef export value increased 5% year-over-year to $3.38 billion, despite a 3% decline in volume (423,445 mt).

“Mexico continued to shine on the beef side, along with the Caribbean, Central America and the Middle East,” according to Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “These markets are benefiting from foodservice demand and currency advantages compared to the main Asian markets. The headwinds in Asia remain formidable, but the tourism boom in Japan has helped solidify demand and exports have stabilized this year, despite the continued weakness in the yen and strong competition from Australia. Robust retail and e-commerce demand has helped U.S. chilled beef continue to dominate in Korea and Taiwan.”

April beef export value equated to $416.87 per head of fed slaughter, down 6% from a year ago, but the January-April average was still up 5% to $410.25.

April exports of U.S. pork reached the highest volume and value since May 2021. Pork exports totaled 277,910 metric tons (mt) in April, up 14% from a year ago and the fifth largest on record. Export value climbed 18% to $778.8 million, the third highest on record.

By | June 9th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—June 7, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was moderate on moderate demand in Kansas through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $1 lower at $185/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill.

Last week, FOB live prices were $186 in the Texas Panhandle, $190 in Nebraska and $188-$192 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $301 in Nebraska and $300-$301 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.42 higher Thursday afternoon at $316.21/cwt. Select was 7¢ lower at $300.83/cwt.

Cattle futures were lower again Thursday heading into the close, pressured by the weaker outlook for cash prices this week and surge in Corn futures. Live Cattle futures were 90¢ lower. Feeder Cattle were an average of $2.00 lower, except for 17¢ higher in spot Jun.

Corn and Soybean futures bounced higher Thursday on likely short covering.

Heading into the close, through Jly ‘25, Corn futures were 9¢ to 14¢ higher. Soybean futures were mostly 13¢ to 22¢ higher. Kansas City Wheat futures were mostly fractionally higher.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 78 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 1 point lower. The NASDAQ was down 14 points.

Heading toward the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were $1.31 to $1.47 higher through the front six contracts.

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

Cattle Current Daily—June 6, 2024

Cattle futures were lower heading into the close Wednesday with pressure including lower wholesale beef values and a lack of cash direction for the week. Live Cattle futures were an average of 43¢ lower. Feeder Cattle were an average of $1.04 lower.

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 $186/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $190 in Nebraska and $188-$192 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $301 in Nebraska and $300-$301 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.09 lower Wednesday afternoon at $314.79/cwt. Select was $3.57 lower at $300.90/cwt.

Grain futures continued to unwind Wednesday. Heading into the close, through Jly ’25 contracts, Corn futures were 2¢ to 3¢ lower. Kansas City Wheat futures were 8¢ to 12¢ lower. Soybean futures were 3¢ to 6¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday led by tech stocks. Support also came on weaker employment data, boosting hopes for interest rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 96 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 62 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 330 points.

Heading toward the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 59¢ to $1.01 higher through the front six contracts.

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Next year is likely to begin with a smaller beef cow herd, whether or not producers begin retaining heifers for expansion, says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.

“The question of when heifer retention begins is important in two respects,” Peel says, in his weekly market comments. “First, heifer retention will further squeeze feeder supplies and push feeder cattle prices higher. That is likely to happen later this year. Secondly, the longer it takes to start heifer retention, the longer the industry will continue to see reduced cattle inventories, smaller beef production, and high average cattle and beef price levels.”

There is no clear indication of heifer retention occurring currently. Previously, initial indications could be seen in USDA’s mid-year Cattle report. However, they recently did away with the report.

Grazing conditions across much of the country support expansion, but Peel points out numerous factors contribute to producer decisions.

“Despite improved current forage conditions, the threat of rebuilding La Niña conditions later in the year is likely tempering some production plans,” Peel says. “Moreover, while higher calf prices provide incentives to increase calf production, it’s not clear that producers are yet reacting to long term profitability prospects (to retain heifers) as much as short-term revenue from selling more calves now.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—June 5, 2024

Cattle futures tried for gains early in Tuesday’s trading session but were mainly marginally lower toward the close.

Live Cattle futures were narrowly mixed, from an average of 15¢ lower in three contracts to an average of 16¢ higher. Feeder Cattle were an average of 28¢ lower, except for 12¢ higher in the back contract.

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 $186/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $190 in Nebraska and $188-$192 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $301 in Nebraska and $300-$301 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.28 higher Tuesday afternoon at $316.88/cwt. Select was 77¢ higher at $304.47/cwt.

Grain futures continued lower again Tuesday on crop progress. Toward the close, Corn futures were 1¢ lower. Kansas City Wheat futures 11¢ to 12¢ lower. Soybean futures 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices gained Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 141 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 7 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 28 points.

Heading toward the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were $1.13 to $1.32 lower through the front six contracts.

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U.S. agricultural producer sentiment improved in May, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The overall index rose 9 points from April to 108. The Current Conditions Index rose 6 points and the Index of Future Expectations climbed 11 points to 117.

Barometer analysts say rising crop prices helped buoy sentiment, as Eastern Corn Belt cash corn prices had increased 6% to 7% by mid-May, compared to the previous Ag Economy Barometer survey. Soybean prices had risen by 2% to 3%.

“The boost in the Index of Future Expectations reflects farmers’ expectation that conditions will improve, although it’s clear 2024’s financial challenges are still a concern,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

 This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from May 13-17, 2024.

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

Cattle Current Daily—06-04-24

Cattle futures firmed Monday with stronger wholesale beef prices after early pressure from last week’s wobbly cash fed cattle prices.

Heading into the close, Live Cattle futures were an average of 19¢ higher, except for 62¢ lower in away Aug. Feeder Cattle futures were narrowly mixed from an average of 13¢ lower in the front four contracts to an average of 39¢ higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly 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 $186/cwt., $2 lower in Nebraska at $190 and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $188-$192. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $3 lower at $301 and $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $300-$301.

The five-area weighted average direct FOB live steer price last week was $1.18 lower at $188.91. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $2.68 lower at $300.81.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.40 higher Monday afternoon at $315.60/cwt. Select was $1.99 higher at $303.70/cwt.

Grain futures continued lower Monday as crop progress brightens.

Heading into the close, through Jly ‘25, Corn futures were mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower. Kansas City Wheat futures 6¢ to 9¢ lower. Soybean futures were 15¢ to 20¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Monday and well off of session lows with pressure from indications of weakness in the manufacturing sector causing concerns about domestic economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 115 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 93 points.

Heading toward the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were $2.44 to $2.88 lower through the front six contracts, pressured by news that OPEC+ plans to phase out voluntary production cuts.

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The five-area weighted average direct FOB live steer price last week was $1.18 lower at $188.91/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $2.68 lower at $300.81.

“It would appear the summer lull in finished cattle prices may hit the market earlier than normal and stay with the market longer than is typical,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist with the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “If this occurs then it will pull on feeder cattle and calf prices. If the market is able to trade steady, then it would be tremendous support for the rest of the market. The one positive to support finished cattle prices is the declining number of cattle in feedlots. As this number continues tightening, competition should improve.”

As beef packers slow production in an effort to support wholesale beef values, Griffith also notes the contribution of byproducts.

“The hide and offal value has been between $11 and $12/cwt. This value essentially adds these same dollars to the live animal,” Griffith explains. “In other words, if there was no value in the hide and offal, packers would have to pay $11 to $12/cwt. less for a finished animal.”

Griffith adds weekly average hide and offal values have been $1.57/cwt. less year over year for the first five months of 2024.

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

Cattle Current Daily—June 3, 2024

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $1 lower in the Southern Plains at $186/cwt., $2 lower in Nebraska at $190 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $190-$192. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $3 lower at $301. Prices in the western Corn Belt the previous week were $302-$304.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 84¢ lower Friday afternoon at $313.20/cwt. Select was 81¢ lower at $301.71/cwt. Choice was $2.75 higher week to week on Friday. Select was 1¢ lower.

Estimated total cattle slaughter for the holiday-shortened week of 540,000 head was 67,000 head fewer than the previous week and 28,000 head fewer than the same week a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 13.1 million head was 624,000 fewer (-4.5%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 11.1 billion pounds was 218.4 million pounds less (-1.9%).

Cattle futures continued lower Friday with pressure including steady to lower cash fed cattle prices.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.16 lower. They were an average of $2.70 lower week to week on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.04 lower, from 87¢ lower at the back to $2.67 lower at the front. Week to week, they were an average of $2.57 lower, from $1.15 lower toward the back to $3.82 lower at the front.

Grain futures continued to erode on Friday.

Corn futures closed 3¢ to 4¢ lower. Through the front six contracts, they were an average of 20¢ lower week to week.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally mixed.

Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Friday. Much of the support seemed tied to the latest Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index —a closely watched inflation gauge — coming in near expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 574 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 42 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 2 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 54¢ to 92¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Assuming no price risk management, cattle feeding returns are projected to be negative from June to the end of this year, according to the most recent Historical and Projected Kansas Feedlot Net Returns (KFNR) from Kansas State University.

For June through December, projected net returns for steers range from -$47.99 per head in July to -$259.78 in September with feedlot cost of gain ranging between $109.91/cwt (June) to $116.34 (Dec.).

Similarly, projected net returns for fed heifers during the same period range from -$2.74 per head in July to -$176.38 in Sept. with feedlot cost of gain ranging from $119.20/cwt. (June) to $127.79 (Dec.).

Based on the KFNR, analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) say, “The number of days on feed for a steer was reported at 206 days in April, which is up 25 days from 181 days in January. A year ago in April, the number of days on feed for a steer was 190. The number of days on feed for heifers increased from 178 days in January to 191 days in May, compared to 170 to 186 days during the same period last year.”

LMIC analysts add the increased number of days on feed and a decrease in average daily gain since the start of the year have resulted in more pounds of feed per pound of gain.

“Year-to-date through April, the pounds of feed per pound of gain for steers has averaged 6.8 compared to 6.4 last year while heifers have averaged 7.2 versus 6.8 last year, LMIC analysts explain,” in the latest Livestock Monitor. “Although pounds of feed per pound of gain have increased this year, feed costs have averaged $125 and $133/cwt. respectively, for steers and heifers, a decline of 15% and 16% compared to last year.”

For ADG perspective, LMIC analysts say it is less year over year and less than the five-year average through the first four months of this year. For steers, they explain steer ADG declined to 3.14 lbs. in April from 3.41 lbs. in January. For heifers, ADG declined from 3.03 lbs. in January to 2.89 pounds in April.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 31, 2024

Cattle futures continued lower Thursday with follow-through pressure including negative outside markets, oversold conditions and perhaps some month-end profit taking.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of 75¢ lower. Feeder Cattle were an average of 78¢ lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from light on light demand to mostly inactive on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there some early FOB live trades in the Southern Plains at $186/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $187 in the Southern Plains, $192 in Nebraska and $190-$192 in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices were $304 in Nebraska and $302-$304 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 42¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $314.04/cwt. Select was 4¢ lower at $302.52/cwt.

Grain futures closed lower again Thursday as traders pondered the improved planting and weather outlook.

Heading into the close Tuesday, through Jly ‘25, Kansas City Wheat futures were 6¢ to 10¢ lower.  Corn futures were 6¢ to 8¢ lower. Soybean futures mostly 5¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices continued to chop lower Thursday with continued concerns about sticky inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 330 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 31 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 183 points.

Heading toward the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were $1.10 to $1.33 lower through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports for this year were forecast at $9.1 billion in USDA’s latest quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade. That was $200 million more than the previous quarter’s estimate. The increase was based on slightly more volume and firm demand.

Overall U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year (FY) 2024 were projected at $170.5 billion, unchanged from the February forecast with higher exports of livestock, dairy and ethanol mostly offsetting reductions in grains and feeds, oilseeds, and horticultural products.

For broader perspective, global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to rise by 3.2% in calendar year (CY) 2024, which was slightly higher than the previous forecast.

“Global economic growth continues to increase but at a slow rate, in part, due to a stagnation of global trade growth in 2023 and early 2024,” say USDA analysts. “Despite the slow progress, this steady growth marks a continued sign of resilience following the economic turmoil from 2020 through 2022. Nevertheless, several potential barriers to sustained economic growth persist including the war in Ukraine, intensifying conflicts in the Middle East, China’s economic uncertainty, and shifting weather patterns.”

U.S. GDP was forecast 0.6% higher than the previous estimate at 2.7%.

“This growth is buoyed by robust consumer spending notwithstanding factors leading to more subdued growth, such as declines in business inventories, Federal Government purchases, business investment, and investment in residential property,” say USDA analysts.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 30, 2024

Cattle futures closed lower Wednesday with pressure including negative outside markets, oversold conditions and perhaps some month-end profit taking.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.65 lower. Feeder Cattle were an average of $3.15 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 some early FOB live trades in Nebraska at $190/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $187 in the Southern Plains, $192 in Nebraska and $190-$192 in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices were $304 in Nebraska and $302-$304 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.50 higher Wednesday afternoon at $313.62/cwt. Select was 95¢ lower at $302.48/cwt.

Grain futures closed lower Wednesday as it appeared traders took back some weather premium.

Heading into the close Tuesday, through Jly ‘25, Kansas City Wheat futures were 6¢ to 10¢ lower.  Corn futures were 5¢ to 7¢ lower. Soybean futures were 5¢ to 18¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday. Pressure included concerns about a second day of increase in the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 411 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 39 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 99 points.

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Rural communities continue struggling for economic growth, according to Creighton University’s latest Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI). It sagged below growth neutral in May for the ninth consecutive month, declining 1.6 points from April to 44.2.

Higher interest rates, weaker agriculture commodity prices and higher grain storage costs contributed to the decline, according Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

The RMI is based on a survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.

Among other measures, the region’s farmland price index slumped to 47.9 from April’s 56.5.

“For the first time in more than four years, Creighton’s survey is detecting weakening farmland price growth,” Goss says. “Only 4.2% of bankers reported that farmland prices expanded from previous levels.”

Similarly, the farm equipment sales index for May dropped to 34.0 from 47.7 in April. 

“This is the 11th time in the past 12 months that the index has fallen below growth neutral,” Goss says. “Higher borrowing costs, tighter credit conditions and weaker grain prices are having a negative impact on the purchases of farm equipment.”

The latest survey also asked about banks’ interest rates on farm operating loans and farmland loans. On average, bankers reported an average interest rate of 8.6% on farm operating loans and 7.4% on farmland loans. 

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 29, 2024

Cattle futures started and ended the session higher Tuesday, supported by last week’s stronger cash prices and the neutral monthly Cattle on Feed report, Live Cattle futures were an average of 83¢ higher. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $3.52 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly 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 higher in the Southern Plains at $187/cwt., $2 higher in Nebraska at $192 and steady to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $190-$192.

Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $4-$6 higher at $304 and $2-$4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $302-$304 in a light test.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was $1.55 higher at $190.09. The average dressed delivered steer price was $4.10 higher at $303.49.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.67 higher Tuesday afternoon at $312.12/cwt. Select was $1.71 higher at $303.43/cwt.

Heading into the close Tuesday, through Jly ‘25, Kansas City Wheat futures were 5¢ to 12¢ higher. Corn futures were mostly 2¢ lower and Soybean futures were 2¢ to 8¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Tuesday, led by tech stocks but pressured by the broader market as treasury yields rose. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 216 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 1 point higher. The NASDAQ was up 99 points.

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Sluggish feedlot marketings continues adding to fed cattle weights.

“The latest weekly data shows steer carcass weights at 923 pounds, up 32 pounds compared to one year ago, and heifer carcass weights of 848 pounds, up 28 pounds from one year ago,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. “Increased carcass weights are partially offsetting reduced cattle slaughter and keeping beef production higher than otherwise. For the first 19 weeks of the year, beef production is down 2.1% year over year. Earlier forecasts called for 2024 beef production to be down nearly 5%, but those forecasts have been revised due to the heavy carcass weights.”

Although marketings for feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity were 10.1% more year over year in April, according to the latest Cattle on Feed report, Peel explains daily average marketings were about the same year over year when adjusted for the two extra marketing days in 2024.

“April marketings were 15.8% of the April 1 on-feed inventory, the highest monthly rate since August 2023,” Peel says. “Nevertheless, the average marketing rate over the past 12 months remains historically low. Marketings in the first four months of this year are down 0.6% year over year.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 27 and 28, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to mostly 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 $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $187/cwt., mainly $2 higher in Nebraska at $192 (some up to $193.50) and mostly $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $192 (some up to $193).

Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $4-$6 higher at mostly $304 (some up to $305). Dressed delivered prices in the western Corn Belt the previous week were mainly $300 (some up to $306).

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 61¢ higher Friday afternoon at $310.45/cwt. Select was $1.64 higher at $301.72/cwt.

Estimated cattle slaughter last week of 607,000 head was 9,000 more than the previous week but 18,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimate total cattle slaughter of 12.6 million head was 594,00 head fewer than (-4.5%) than the same period a year earlier. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 10.6 billion pounds was 213.9 million pounds less (-2.0%).

Cattle futures edged mostly lower Friday ahead of the long holiday weekend and the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 13¢ lower, except for an average of 11¢ higher in the front two contracts. Week to week on Friday, they were an average of $1.76 higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 72¢ lower, except for 40¢ higher in newly minted away-May. They were an average of $1.46 higher week to week on Friday.

Turning to row crops, Grain futures closed higher Friday with traders maintaining a weather premium.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 8¢ to 10¢ higher through May ’25 and then mostly 4¢ to 6¢ higher. Corn futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ higher. Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 8¢ higher through Jly ’25 and then mostly 1¢ lower to 1¢ higher.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 4 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 36 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 184 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 52¢ to 85¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Depending on which estimates were consulted ahead of time, Friday’s Cattle on Feed report will likely be viewed as neutral, coming in pretty much in line with estimates.

Feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity placed 1.7 million head in April, which was 102,000 head fewer (-5.8%) than the previous year.

In terms of placement weights, 33% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less, 50% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 17% weighing 900 lbs. or more.

Marketings in April of 1.9 million head were 172,000 head more (+10.1%) year over year.

The on-feed inventory May 1 of 11.6 million head was 100,000 head fewer (-0.9%) than the same time last year.

By | May 26th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—May 24, 2024

Cattle futures started stronger Thursday, buoyed by higher cash fed cattle prices in the South, but faded to a lower close on likely positioning ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed report and the holiday weekend.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of 56¢ lower. Feeder Cattle were an average of $1.07 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was active on good demand in Kansas through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $1 higher at $187/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade was slow on light to moderate demand. Although too few to trend so far this week, there are some early FOB live sales in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt at $192.

Last week, FOB live prices were $186/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $190 in Nebraska and $190 in the western Corn Belt with a few up to $191. Dressed delivered prices were $298 in Nebraska and mostly $300 in the western Corn Belt with a few up to $306.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.33 lower Thursday afternoon at $309.84/cwt. Select was 47¢ higher at $300.08/cwt.

U.S. beef export sales continue to show promise. The week ending May 16, net U.S. beef export sales for 2024 of 21,500 metric tons were 42% more than the previous week and 32% more than the prior four-week average, according to USDA’s Export Sales report. Increases were primarily for China, South Korea, Mexico, Japan and Taiwan.

As for row crops, grain futures added back some weather premium. Heading into the close, Kansas City Wheat futures were 10¢ to 15¢ higher through May ’25 and Corn futures were 1¢ to 3¢ higher through Jly ‘25. However, Soybean futures were 3¢ to 7¢ lower through Jly ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday with pressure including inflation pessimism.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 605 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 39 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 65 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 55¢ to 68¢ lower  through the front six contracts.

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Emphasizing the quality and consistency of U.S. red meat is the key to expanding the international customer base, according to speakers at the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Spring Conference in Kansas City.

Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO noted that first-quarter average beef export value of $455 per head of fed slaughter was 9% higher year over year.

“This tells me that the global consumer is willing to pay because they understand the value of U.S. beef,” Halstrom said. “We’re different. We’re higher value, higher perception. U.S. beef is not a commodity product, like a lot of our competitors. This is a key takeaway.”

Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax, echoed these sentiments in explaining how U.S. beef competes for the consumer dollar, both in the U.S. and internationally.

“The biggest change in the beef industry has been quality,” Blach said. “And we can never lose sight of that – our niche is grain-fed, high-quality beef that really nobody else can produce around the globe. Those of you who are producers in the room, you have also invested in genetics and you have gotten paid dividends for those decisions.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 23, 2024

Cattle futures continued higher Wednesday, supported by recently stronger cash fed cattle and wholesale beef prices. The next two trading sessions appear to be wild cards as traders position ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report and the three-day weekend.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.07 higher. Feeder Cattle were an average of $2.29 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in Nebraska to slow on light demand in Kansas through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were some early FOB live trades in the Kansas at $187/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $186/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $190 in Nebraska and $190 in the western Corn Belt with a few up to $191. Dressed delivered prices were $298 in Nebraska and mostly $300 in the western Corn Belt with a few up to $306.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 85¢ lower Wednesday after noon at $312.17/cwt. Select was $1.26 lower at $299.61/cwt.

Turning to row crops, Corn futures were 1¢ to 3¢ higher through May ‘25. Kansas City Wheat futures 1¢ to 5¢ lower through May ’25. Soybean futures were 4¢ to 11¢ higher through May ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday. Primary pressure appeared to be minutes from the last Fed meeting reaffirming the notion that current inflation will rein back eventual rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 201 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 14 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 31 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 78¢ to $1.08 lower through the front six contracts.

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Based on feeder and stocker sales reported to the Agricultural Marketing Service, volume is about 6% less year over year for the first 19 weeks of 2024, according to Josh Maples, Extension livestock economist at Mississippi State University.

“There have been roughly 330,000 fewer feeder and stocker cattle sold at auction so far in 2024 than in the same time period of 2023,” Maples says, in the latest Cattle Market Notes Weekly. “Compared to the 5-year average (2018-2022), receipts in 2024 were down 3% (163,000 head) year to date. This dataset includes auction, direct, and video/internet sales that are reported to USDA. It does not capture all feeder and stocker cattle transactions … Thus, it’s not perfect, but comparisons over time can be informative when considering current market dynamics to previous years.” 

Maples notes the percentage of heifer sales so far this year is 43%, mirroring the same period last year.

“Information gleaned from auction receipt totals this fall will be relatively more valuable this year to understand changes in the 2024 calf crop,” Maples says. “Traditionally, the first estimate of the 2024 calf crop would be released in the mid-year USDA Cattle Inventory report. However, USDA-NASS recently announced the mid-year report would be discontinued for budget reasons. They will not be releasing 2024 calf crop estimates until the January 2025 report is released.” 

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 22, 2024

Cattle futures closed higher Tuesday, supported by steady to stronger wholesale beef values.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.01 higher. Feeder Cattle were an average of $1.62 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill in the Southern Plains to slow on light demand in the western Corn Belt through Tuesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were some early FOB live trades in the western Corn Belt at $192/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $186/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $190 in Nebraska and $190 in the western Corn Belt with a few up to $191. Dressed delivered prices were $298 in Nebraska and mostly $300 in the western Corn Belt with a few up to $306.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 32¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $313.02/cwt. Select was $1.52 higher at $300.87/cwt.

Heading into the close, Corn futures were 1¢ to 2¢ lower through Jly ’25 on planting pressure. Soybean futures were 10¢ to 12¢ lower through Jly ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Tuesday but to the upside.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 66 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 13 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 37 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 78¢ to $1.08 lower through the front six contracts.

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Heading into the monthly Cattle on Feed report, analysts expect, on average, April feedlot placements to be about 5% less year over year, April marketings to be about 10% more and the May 1 on-feed number to be approximately 1% less.

“There is a clear understanding of the coming long-term reductions in numbers and beef supplies. This week’s Cattle on Feed report will be interesting in how placements confirm this perspective,” says Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets. “Has the persistent dry weather and poor pasture led to more placements and less heifer holding, thereby delaying the shortfalls but exacerbating their future magnitude?”

While many cast their gaze on placements, marketings may be more telling this time. Even though there were a couple of extra days of production in April compared to last year, packers have been dialing back production to boost wholesale beef values.

Based on federally inspected (FI) fed cattle slaughter data, Koontz does not expect to see a strong April marketing number in this week’s Cattle on Feed report.

“Last month’s Cattle on Feed revealed a large number of cattle on-feed over 150 days, and there will be some reduction but not strong,” Koontz believes. “And FI steer and heifer carcass weights continue to impress. Weights have essentially held steady the last eight to nine weeks. Steers hover above 920 pounds and heifer weights are about 850 pounds. This is another 40 pounds of beef per animal given the normal seasonal decline in weights that should be observed. This is a substantial increase in beef tonnage.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 21, 2024

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed Monday, as traders appeared to take stock after last week’s strong gains.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of 17¢ higher, from 30¢ lower in near Aug.

Feeder Cattle were an average of 57¢ lower, except for 10¢ higher in the back contract. Pressure included stronger Corn futures prices.

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $2-$3 higher in the Southern Plains at $186/cwt., $3-$4 higher in Nebraska at $190 and $3-$5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $190 with a few up to $191. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $298-$300 and mostly $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $300 with some up to $306.

The weighted weekly average five-area direct FOB live steer price was $2.60 higher at $188.54. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $4.11 higher at $299.39.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 75¢ lower Monday afternoon at $312.70/cwt. Select was $1.95 higher at $299.35/cwt.

Kansas City Wheat futures rallied Monday, up 24¢ to 34¢ through Dec ’25 heading into the close on concerns about crop damage in the Ukraine and Russia, and leading Corn. Corn futures were 6¢ to 8¢ higher through Jly ‘25. Soybean futures were 9¢ to 18¢ higher through Aug ’25. 

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Major U.S. financial indices closed Mixed Monday with tech stocks leading the positive side.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 196 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 4 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 108 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 18¢ to 42¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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“Conditions at the beginning of the 2024 forage growing season suggest that producers may be able to plan grazing and hay production with less restriction compared to recent years,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. “However, in many cases, pastures and ranges still need time to recover from extended drought conditions.” He points out there is currently less drought in the U.S. than at any time in the past four years.

Nationally, 49% of the nation’s pasture and range was rated as Good (40%) or Excellent (9%) the week ending May 19, according to the latest weekly Crop Progress report. That was 12% more than a year earlier. On the other end of the scale, 20% of the nation’s pasture and range was rated as Poor (13%) or Very Poor (7%), which was 9% less than a year earlier. The only key cattle states with 35% or more rated as Poor or Very Poor were New Mexico (59%) and Texas (38%).

“There is reason to be cautiously optimistic for better cattle production conditions in 2024,” Peel says. “However, the forecasted redevelopment of La Niña conditions this summer is worrisome. The seasonal forecast from the Climate Prediction Center is for above average temperatures and below average precipitation for the next three months in much of major beef cattle country. Proceed with caution.” 

As for row crops, corn planting made up some ground last week but continued to lag with 70% in the ground which was 6% less than the same time last year and 1% less than the five-year average. 40% was emerged versus 46% a year earlier and 39% for average.

Similarly, soybean planting was 9% less than a year earlier at 52% but was 3% ahead of the average. 26% of soybeans were emerged, compared to 31% a year earlier and 21% for average.

As for winter wheat, 69% was headed, compared to 58% a year earlier and 57% for average. 49% was rated as Good (42%) or Excellent (7%), compared to 31% a year earlier. 18% was rated as Poor (13%) or Very Poor (5%) compared to 40% a year earlier.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 20, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on very light demand in the Texas Panhandle to active on good demand elsewhere, through Friday afternoon according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices were $2-$3 higher in Kansas at $186/cwt., $3-$4 higher in Nebraska at $190 and $3-$5 higher in the western Corn Belt $190 with a few up to $191. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $298-$300. Last week, dressed delivered prices in the western Corn Belt were mostly $295.

Although too few to trend, there were some FOB live sales in the Texas Panhandle at $186, where prices the previous week were $184.

Fed cattle prices were supported by slower packer production helping to boost wholesale beef prices. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.30 higher Friday afternoon at $313.45/cwt., the highest level since March. Select was 89¢ higher at $297.40/cwt. Week to week on Friday, Choice was $18.88 higher and Select was $13.23 higher.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 598,000 head was 24,000 head fewer than the previous week and 42,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 11.9 million head was 570,000 head fewer than the (-4.5%) than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 10.1 billion pounds was 220.6 million pounds less (-2.1%).

Cattle futures continued higher Friday, amid stronger boxed beef values and higher cash fed cattle prices.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.21 higher, from 67¢ higher at the back to $2.02 higher at the front. Week to week on Friday, they were an average of $3.92 higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.03 higher. They were an average of $7.87 higher week to week on Friday.

Turning to row crops, Corn futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ lower. Week to week on Friday, Corn futures closed an average of 14’9¢ lower through the front six contracts.

On Friday, KC HRW Wheat futures closed 9¢ to 11¢ lower through May ’25 and then 4¢ to 6¢ lower. Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 11¢ higher through May ’25 and then mostly fractionally lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly higher Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 134 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 12 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 82¢ to 85¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Increased U.S. beef imports — mostly lean trim for grinding — continue enabling added value to decreasing domestic production.

Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee provides illustration in his weekly market comments.

“The retail price of a chuck roast in April was $7.52 per pound, compared to $5.28 per pound for ground chuck. The $2.24 per pound difference in chuck roast and ground chuck demonstrates the importance of lean beef imports to support ground beef demand domestically, because a whole muscle cut clearly has a higher value as is compared to placing it in the grind mix. The same can be said for a round roast which had an average retail value of $6.86 per pound,” Griffith explains. “It is extremely important to note these price differences, because folks in the cattle industry are attempting to market cattle and beef products to their highest value and the ability to import lean grinding beef allows packers to market items such as the chuck and round as roasts instead of placing them in the grind mix.”

First-quarter U.S. beef imports of 1.2 billion pounds were 25% more year over year and 44% more than the five-year average, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) in the May Livestock Dairy and Poultry Outlook. U.S. beef imports this year are forecast at 4.2 billion pounds. That would be a 12% increase year over year and the first time beef imports exceed 4 billion pounds, according to ERS.

“The U.S. beef trade balance is expected to show a widening deficit (imports higher than exports) in 2024 and 2025,” say ERS analysts. “With domestic beef production expected to fall about 6% in 2025, annual exports are forecast at 2.5 billion pounds, representing an 11% decrease year over year … The combination of fewer supplies available to export, higher beef prices in the United States, and increased competition from Oceania will continue to create challenges for the expansion of U.S. beef exports.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 17, 2024

Cattle futures extended further Thursday, buoyed by another day of higher wholesale beef prices, bullish outside markets and a positive reading of export demand.

Net U.S. beef export sales for 2024 the week ending May 9 of 15,100 metric tons were 23% more than the previous week, but 11% less than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for Japan, China, Taiwan, Mexico and South Korea.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.38 higher Thursday afternoon at $310.15/cwt. Select was $2.20 higher at $296.51/cwt.

Heading into the close and before settlement…

Live Cattle futures were an average of 64¢ higher. Feeder Cattle were an average of $1.40 higher, receiving added support from softer Corn futures.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from limited on light demand to a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were some early FOB live trades in the western Corn Belt at $186-$190/cwt. and a few dressed delivered sales at $298-$300.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $183-$185 in Kansas, $186-$187 in Nebraska and mostly $187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $295-$296 in Nebraska and mostly $295 in the western Corn Belt.

Grain futures softened again Thursday.

Heading into the close, Corn futures were 4¢ to 5¢ lower through Sep ’25. Kansas City Wheat futures mostly 1¢ lower through Sep ’25. Soybean were mostly 1¢ to 5¢ lower through Sep ‘25.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 38 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 11 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 44 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 72¢ to 76¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) increased this year’s expected annual average feeder steer price (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) by $1, compared to the previous month’s forecast, to $255.46/cwt., in the May Livestock Dairy and Poultry Outlook. Prices increased in the second quarter by $5 to $255 and by $2 in the third quarter to $263. The average fourth-quarter price was reduced $3 to $264. Price increases in the second and third quarters assume adequate forage supplies and declines in forecast corn season average prices. The 2025 feeder average steer price forecast is $259.00.

On the other side of the fence, as reported in Cattle Current Monday, ERS reduced the forecast average five-area direct fed steer price for this year, in the May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Based on recent data and an anticipated faster pace of marketing in the second half of the year, prices were reduced $1 in the second quarter to $184/cwt., $2 in the third quarter to $182 and $3 in the fourth quarter to $187 for annual average price of $183.51, which was $1.49 less than the previous month’s estimate. Next year’s average price was forecast at $188 on expected tighter cattle and beef supplies.

Estimated beef production for this year of 26.6 billion pounds was 140 million pounds more than the previous month’s forecast. Forecast beef production next year of 25.1 billion pounds would be 1.5 billion pounds less (-5.5%) than this year.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 16, 2024

Cattle futures extended gains, supported by recently resurgent wholesale beef prices.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of 26¢ higher. Feeder Cattle were an average of 47¢ higher.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.38 higher Wednesday afternoon at $306.77/cwt. Select was 49¢ higher at $294.31/cwt.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $183-$185 in Kansas, $186-$187 in Nebraska and mostly $187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $295-$296 in Nebraska and mostly $295 in the western Corn Belt.

Turning to row crops, Grain futures were lower again on likely profit taking and producer selling.

Corn futures were 3¢ to 4¢ lower through Sep ’25. Kansas City Wheat futures mostly 7¢ lower through May ‘25. Soybean were mostly 1¢ to 4¢ lower through May ‘25. 

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Major U.S. financial indices jumped higher Wednesday on encouraging inflation news.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3% in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.4% in March, 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 349 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 61 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 231 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 48¢ to 84¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Domestic U.S. beef demand continued to be extraordinarily resilient in the face of continued high retail prices.

“The USDA all-fresh beef retail price was at $7.89 per pound in March. A new all-time high for that month,” according to Rabobank analysts, in their April North American agribusiness review.  “The stronger price trend pushed first-quarter 2024 consumer beef demand to its second-highest level in the last 30 years.”

The Choice beef retail price in March was $8.12 per pound, which was 48 cents higher (+6.3%) year over year. During the same period, the composite broiler retail price was about 2 cents higher at $2.43 (+0.1%) and retail pork value was up about 4 cents (+0.1%) at $4.79.

More specifically, ground beef prices were 6.1% higher year over year at $5.13 per pound. Choice, boneless chuck roast was 9.4% higher at $6.73 and the Choice sirloin steak price was up 12.2% at $11.54.

Conversely, boneless chicken breast was 5.1% less at about $4.11 per pound. Boneless ham (not canned) was 1.8% less at $5.57 and bacon was fractionally lower at $6.61. Pork chop prices (all) were 2.2% higher at about $4.26.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 15, 2024

Cattle futures rallied Tuesday, supported by slower packer production which is helping lift wholesale beef prices.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $2.29 higher and Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $4.20 higher.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.44 higher Tuesday afternoon at $304.39/cwt. Select was $6.64 higher at $293.82/cwt.

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, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $183-$185 in Kansas, $186-$187 in Nebraska and mostly $187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $295-$296 in Nebraska and mostly $295 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.44 higher Tuesday afternoon at $304.39/cwt. Select was $6.64 higher at $293.82/cwt.

Turning to row crops, heading into the close, front-month Grain futures were softer on likely profit taking and producer selling.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday as investors awaited key inflation reports this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 126 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 25 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 122 points.

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The percentage of heifers in the fed cattle mix must drop below the long-run average of just over 37% — likely 35-36% — in order for the next herd expansion to begin, says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.

“There is no indication that is happening yet,” Peel says in his weekly market comments. He explains heifer slaughter, as a percentage of fed cattle slaughter was 40% last year, as high as it has ever been. Although fractionally lower year over year, it was 40.5% in the first quarter this year.

“In most cases, the total increase in the cow herd from trough to peak is 2.2 to 2.9 million head, an increase of 5.8% to 9.4%,” Peel explains, reflecting on cattle cycles since 1975. “The corresponding increase in replacement heifers ranged from 1.1 to just over 1.2 million head in three of the four cycles. The most recent cycle, from 2014-2019, was different in that the increase in beef replacement heifers started prior to herd expansion and ended prior to the peak in herd inventory. This is likely an indication that there was pent up desire to expand that was delayed due to drought in 2011-2013.”

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

Cattle Current Daily-May 14, 2024

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed Monday as traders appeared to wait for further cash direction.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were narrowly mixed, from an average of 46¢ lower to an average of 22¢ higher.

Feeder Cattle closed were an average of 37¢ higher, except for 67¢ lower in the back contract.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade 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 steady in the Texas Panhandle at $184/cwt., unevenly steady to $1 higher in Kansas at $183-$185, steady in Nebraska at $186-187 and steady to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at mostly $187. Dressed delivered prices were $1 higher in Nebraska at $295-$296 and mainly steady in the western Corn Belt at mostly $295.

The five-area weighted average direct FOB live steer price last week was 20¢ higher at$185.94. The weighted average dressed delivered steer prices was 63¢ higher at $295.28.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.38 higher Monday afternoon at $298.95/cwt. Select was $3.01 higher at $287.18/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures closed higher Monday, with follow-through support from Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates and planting delays.

Corn futures were mostly fractionally higher to 5¢ higher through Jly ’25.

Kansas City Wheat futures 16¢ to 25¢ higher through Jly ‘25.

Soybean were mostly 4¢ to 8¢ higher through 2025. 

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 81 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 1 point lower. The NASDAQ was up 47 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 78¢ to $1.01 lower through the front six contracts.

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Hay stocks on farms May 1 of 21 million tons were 6.7 million tons more than the previous year (+47%), according to the latest USDA Crop Production report.

“To be fair, hay stocks on May 1, 2023, were as low as they had been since 2013. But a year-over-year increase of this magnitude is noteworthy and confirms that hay supply has continued to increase after a very challenging year in 2022,” says Kenny Burdine, Extension livestock economist at the University of Kentucky, in the latest issue of Cattle Market Notes Weekly.

Burdine explains the widespread drought in 2022 tightened hay supplies across most of the nation.

“Producers responded by harvesting more hay acres in 2023, resulting in a 6.3% increase in all hay production,” Burdine says. He adds hay production increased as beef cow numbers decreased, which impacted total hay needs.

Regionally, Burdine notes hay stocks were significantly higher year-over-year in the Southern Plains, fairly static in the Southeast and significantly lower in the upper Midwest.

 

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 13, 2024

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

For the week, FOB live prices were steady in the Texas Panhandle at $184/cwt., unevenly steady to $1 higher in Kansas at $183-$185, steady in Nebraska at $186-187 and steady to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $187. Dressed delivered prices were $1 higher in Nebraska at $295-$296 and steady in the western Corn Belt at $295.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 622,000 head was the same as a week earlier but 22,000 head less than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 11.4 million head was 527,000 head less (-4.4%) than the same time last year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 9.6 billion pounds was 208.8 million pounds less (-2.1%) less than a year earlier.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 82¢ lower Friday afternoon at $294.57/cwt. Select was $1.59 lower at $284.17/cwt. Week to week on Friday, Choice was 37¢ higher but Select was $3.48 lower.

Cattle futures were mixed Friday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ higher. Week to week on Friday, they were an average of 83¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 11¢ lower to an average of 21¢ higher with the front months pressured by Corn futures. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $3.19 lower week to week on Friday.Grain and Soybean futures closed higher Friday, supported by the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below), which were less bearish than expected.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 12¢ to 21¢ higher.

Corn futures closed mostly 9¢ to 13¢ higher through May ’25, and then mostly 4¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 10¢ higher through Sep ’24, and then mostly 3¢ to 4¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 125 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 8 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 5 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 78¢ to $1.01 lower through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) lowered the forecast average five-area direct fed steer price for this year, in the May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates(WASDE). Based on recent data and an anticipated faster pace of marketing in the second half of the year, prices were reduced $1 in the second quarter to $184/cwt., $2 in the third quarter to $182 and $3 in the fourth quarter to $187 for annual average price of $183.51, which was $1.49 less than the previous month’s estimate. Next year’s average price was forecast at $188 on expected tighter cattle and beef supplies.

Estimated beef production for this year of 26.6 billion pounds was 140 million pounds more than the previous month’s forecast. Forecast beef production next year of 25.1 billion pounds would be 1.5 billion pounds less (-5.5%) than this year.

Other WASDE highlights…

Corn

The 2024/25 U.S. corn outlook is for larger supplies, greater domestic use and exports, and higher ending stocks. The corn crop is projected at 14.9 billion bushels, down 3% from last year’s record as a decline in area is partially offset by an increase in yield. The yield projection of 181.0 bushels per acre is based on a weather-adjusted trend assuming normal planting progress and summer growing season weather, estimated using the 1988-2023 time period. Total corn supplies are forecast at 16.9 billion bushels, the highest since 2017/18.

The season-average farm price is projected at $4.40 per bushel, down 25¢ from 2023/24.

SoybeansThe 2024/25 outlook for U.S. soybeans is for higher supplies, crush, exports, and ending stocks compared with 2023/24. The soybean crop is projected at 4.45 billion bushels, up 285 million on higher area and trend yield. With higher beginning stocks and production, soybean supplies are forecast at 4.8 billion bushels, up 8% from 2023/24.

The 2024/25 U.S. season-average soybean price is forecast at $11.20 per bushel compared with $12.55 per bushel in 2023/24. The soybean meal price is forecast at $330 per short ton, down $50. The soybean oil price is forecast at 42¢ per pound, down 6¢ from 2023/24.

Wheat

The outlook for 2024/25 U.S. wheat is for larger supplies, modestly higher domestic use, increased exports, and higher stocks. Supplies are projected up 6% from 2023/24 on larger carry-in stocks and production. Projected 2024/25 ending stocks are 11% above last year at 766 million bushels, the highest level in four years.

The projected 2024/25 season-average farm price (SAFP) is $6.00 per bushel, down $1.10 from last year’s SAFP on higher stocks and lower projected U.S. corn prices.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 10, 2024

Cattle futures were lower again Thursday, on weaker boxed beef cutout values and the lack of cash direction.

Live Cattle futures were an average of 63¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $1.19 lower.

Front month Cattle futures were trending mixed early in today’s session.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from at a standstill in the Texas Panhandle to mostly inactive on light demand elsewhere through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Southern Plains $186-$187 in Nebraska and $185-$187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $294-$295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.28 lower Thursday afternoon at $295.39/cwt. Select was $2.49 lower at $285.76/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales the week ending May 2 of 12,300 metric tons for 2024 were down 45% from the previous week and 29% from the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, and Canada.

Grain futures were lower Wednesday with likely producer selling and perhaps positioning ahead of Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower through Jly ‘25. Kansas City Wheat futures mostly 3¢ higher. Soybean were 9¢ to 20¢ lower through Aug ‘25.  

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Major U.S. financial indices crawled higher Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 331 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 26 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 43 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 23¢ to 37¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Cull cow prices continue higher year over year — helped along by the ground beef market — will increase with herd expansion, says James Mitchell, Extension livestock economist at the University of Arkansas, in the latest issue of Cattle Market Notes Weekly.

“After several years of liquidation, the available supply of beef cows becomes tight, and cull cow prices increase,” Mitchell explains. “The next few years should support cull cow prices when the expansion phase of the next cattle cycle begins and fewer cull cows find their way to sale barns.”

So far this year, Mitchell says cull cow prices are averaging $1.03 per pound more (+53%) year over year. He adds that, based on research, cull cows represent 15-30% of gross revenue for producers.

“We can use several marketing and management strategies to improve the value of cull cows further,” Mitchell says. “Improving body condition score and cow health can mean more total pounds and better cull cow quality, which both impact the total value of cull cows. Price seasonality is another important consideration, with the lowest prices occurring in the fall when most producers sell cull cows.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 9, 2024

Cattle futures were lower Wednesday on wobbly boxed beef values and the lack of weekly cash fed cattle direction.

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.18 lower. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $1.60 lower.

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Southern Plains $186-$187 in Nebraska and $185-$187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $294-$295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.82 lower Wednesday afternoon at $296.67/cwt. Select was $4.09 lower at $288.25/cwt.

Grain futures were lower Wednesday with likely producer selling and perhaps positioning ahead of Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Heading into the close, Corn futures were 5¢ to 8¢ lower through May ‘25. Kansas City Wheat futures were mostly 10¢ to 15¢ lower through Jly ’25. Soybean were mostly 12¢ to 21¢ lower through Mar ‘25. 

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 172 points higher. The S&P 500 closed fractionally lower. The NASDAQ was down 29 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 31¢ to 89¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Agricultural producer sentiment declined sharply in April, based on the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. If fell 15 points from March to 99, the lowest since June 2022.

Worries about current financial situation on farms and ranches, and anticipated financial challenges in the coming year, drove the decline. The Current Condition Index dropped by 18 points to 83, while the Future Expectations Index fell by 14 points to 106.

“Farmers’ sentiment took a significant hit in April, reflecting broader concerns about financial performance and farmland values,” explains James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

The Farm Financial Performance Index declined to 76 in April, which was 7 points less than the previous month and 21 points less than last fall’s peak of 97. The decline reflects producers’ increasing concerns about the upcoming year’s financial outlook, according to Ag Barometer analysts, with fewer respondents expecting better or equal performance than last year.

The April Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from April 8-12, 2024.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 8, 2024

Cattle futures bounced back Tuesday, supported by resurgent wholesale beef values.

Toward the close and ahead of settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.06 higher. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $1.60 higher.

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, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Southern Plains $186-$187 in Nebraska and $185-$187 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $294-$295.

Wholesale beef prices continued to firm, offering hopes that the seasonal rally has begun.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 27¢ lower Tuesday afternoon at $298.49/cwt. Select was $2.59 higher at $292.34/cwt.

Grain futures softened Tuesday amid likely producer selling. Heading into the close, Corn futures were narrowly mixed from fractionally lower to 3¢ lower in the front three contracts and then fractionally higher to 1¢ higher through Dec ‘25. Kansas City Wheat futures were 7¢ to 15¢ lower through May ‘25. However, Soybean were mostly 3¢ to 7¢ higher through Jly ‘25.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 31 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 6 points higher, but the NASDAQ was down 16 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 10¢ to 13¢ lower   through the front six contracts.

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Increased slaughter levels and heavier dressed weights are boosting domestic beef production, but so is trade, says David Anderson, livestock economist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

“Beef imports in the first quarter of the year totaled 1.2 billion pounds, 25% more than last year.  Exports were 6% less, or 46 million pounds, lower than last year,” Anderson explains, in the most recent issue of In the Cattle Markets.  “Combining the increase in imports and decrease in exports means that about an additional 285 million pounds of beef were added to total beef supplies in the first quarter. That’s about 0.86 pounds of beef, per capita.”

Increased beef production has likely contributed to wholesale beef price struggles, according to Anderson.

“Only the Choice chuck and round are above a year ago. The rib and loin are below a year ago, and their weakness might suggest other problems beyond just larger supplies, especially getting close to Memorial Day,” Anderson explains. “On the positive side, this increase in beef production will be temporary. Reduced placements will begin to move the number of cattle on feed lower. If weights continue to be larger than a year ago the total number of cattle processed will decline further.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 7, 2024

Heading into the close and before settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of 27¢ higher through the front five contracts, buoyed by last week’s stronger cash trade and then unchanged to an average of 61¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $1.28 lower with pressure from nearby Corn contracts.

Heading into the close Monday Grain and Soybean futures continued higher as traders appeared to bet on planting progress delays in the weekly Crop Progress report (see below).

Corn futures were mostly 7¢ to 10¢ higher through near Sep.

Kansas City Wheat futures were mostly 18¢ to 20¢ higher through Jly ’25.

Soybean were 21¢ to 32¢ higher through near Sep.

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $184/cwt., $2 higher in Nebraska at $186-$187 and $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $185-$187. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $1 higher in Nebraska at $294-$295 and mostly $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at mainly $295.

The weekly weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price was $1.59 higher at $185.74. The average dressed delivered steer price was 26¢ higher at $294.65.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.56 higher Monday afternoon at $298.76/cwt. Select was $2.10 higher at $289.75/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices extended gains Monday, with follow-trough support from Fridays jobs report, which was weaker than expected, elevating hopes the Fed can cut interest rates sooner than later.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 176 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 52 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 192 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 54¢ to 58¢ higher  through the front six contracts.

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Pasture and range is starting the season off in significantly improved condition than last year, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report for the week ending May 5.

Nationwide, 46% of pasture and range was rated as Good (38%) and Excellent (8%), compared to 33% a year earlier. 25% was rated Poor (15%) and Very Poor (10%) compared to 37% the same week last year.

However, corn planting lost some ground last week with 36% in the ground compared to 42% at the same time last year and 39% for the five-year average. 12% was emerged versus 10% a year earlier and 9% for average.

As for soybeans, 25% were planted, which was 5% less than the same week last year but 4% more than average. 9% of soybeans were emerged, compared to 7% a year earlier and 4% for average.

Winter wheat condition held about steady week to week and was significantly improved year over year. 50% was rated as Good (44%) or Excellent (6%), compared to 29% a year earlier. 16% were rated as Poor (11%) or Very Poor (5%) compared to 44% a year earlier. 43% of the crop was headed, compared to 34% the previous year and 32% for average.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 6, 2024

Cattle futures mostly edged higher Friday, extending gains from the previous session and supported by higher cash fed cattle prices.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 43¢ higher., except for 12¢ lower in the spot month. They were an average of $2.39 lower week to week on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 32¢ lower in the front three contracts to an average of 13¢ higher. They were an average of $5.38 lower week to week on Friday.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade in the Southern Plains ranged from slow on light demand in the Texas Panhandle to moderate on moderate demand in Kansas through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Elsewhere, trade was slow on light demand.

For the week, FOB live prices were $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $184/cwt., $2 higher in Nebraska at $186-$187 and $1-$3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $187. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $1 higher in Nebraska at $295 and $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.30 higher Friday afternoon at $294.20/cwt. Select was 33¢ lower at $287.65/cwt. However, week to week on Friday, Choice was $2.94 lower and Select was $1.07 lower.

Total estimated cattle slaughter of 619,000 head last week was 6,000 more than the previous week but 2,000 head less than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 10.8 million head was 509,700 head fewer (-4.5%). Year-to-date estimated beef production of 9.0 billion pounds was 214.1 million pounds less (-2.3%).

Turning to row crops, Grain and Soybean futures continued higher Friday as traders added weather premiums.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 11¢ to 13¢ higher through May ’25. and then mostly 6¢ to 7¢ higher.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 9¢ to 14¢ higher through Aug ’25 and then mostly 7¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices surged higher Friday, buoyed by a weaker jobs report than expected, which boosted hopes about reining back inflation.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 3.9%, according to the Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Average hourly earnings in April for all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 7¢ (+0.2%) to $34.75. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.9%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 450 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 63 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 315 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME closed 35¢ to 84¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Although 10% less year over year, March U.S. beef exports were the most of 2024, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). March exports totaled 102,218 metric tons (mt). Export value was $889.9 million, down 0.3% from a year ago but the highest in nine months.

March beef export value equated to $454.62 per head of fed slaughter, the highest since mid-2022.

Beef exports for the first quarter (Jan. through Mar.) totaled 311,865 mt, down 4% from the first quarter of last year. Export value increased 6% to $2.48 billion.

“Beef demand in the Caribbean was outstanding in March, and we continued to see a strong rebound in the Middle East as well as some positive signs in Korea and Japan, where the foodservice recovery is making progress,” says Dan Halstrom USMEF president and CEO. “It’s a challenging situation in terms of supply availability, but the value U.S. beef commands internationally is very encouraging – as evidenced by March export value climbing to more than $450 per head.”

U.S. pork exports of 260,430 mt in March were 0.1% more than a year earlier. Pork export value was 2% higher year over year at $740.8 million.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 3, 2024

Cattle futures rallied back Thursday, fueled by confirmation that no traces of Bovine Influenza A virus (BIAV) were found in ground beef samples by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

“Samples were collected at retail outlets in the states in which dairy cattle herds have tested positive for H5N1 influenza virus. The samples were analyzed by APHIS using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to indicate whether any viral particles were present. No virus particles were found to be present,” according to the APHIS statement.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.37 higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.26 higher.

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

For the week, FOB live prices are $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $187/cwt. and $1-$3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $187. Dressed delivered prices are steady to $1 higher at $294-$295.

FOB live prices in the Southern Plains last week were $182.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 64¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $292.90/cwt. Select was 9¢ lower at $287.98/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales the week ending Apr. 25 of 22,500 metric tons for 2024 were a marketing-year high — up 48% from the previous week and up 38% from the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Mexico.

Turning to row crops, Grain and Soybean futures surged higher Thursday with weather premiums tied to planting delays.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 11¢ to 12¢ higher.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 9¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 22¢ to 34¢ higher through Jan ’25 and then 14¢ to 19¢ higher. Weekly U.S. export sales provided added support. Net sales of 414,000 metric tons for 2023-24 were up 96% from the previous week and were 45% more than the prior four-week average.

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

Cattle Current Daily—May 2, 2024

Cattle futures tried to overcome the Bovine Influenza A virus headlines but couldn’t, taking another step lower Wednesday.

Heading into the close, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.64 lower (67¢ to $2.30 lower). 

Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $3.55 lower.

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $182/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184-$185 in Nebraska and $184-$186 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $294-$295.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 83¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $293.54/cwt. Select was $1.88 lower at $288.07/cwt.

Heading into the close, Corn futures were 1¢ to 3¢ higher through Jly ‘25. Soybean were mostly 5¢ higher through Jly ‘25.  Kansas City Wheat futures were mostly 6¢ to 10¢ lower through Jly ‘25.

By | May 1st, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 30, 2024

Cattle futures softened Monday, taking a break from last week’s gains and amid likely profit taking and month-end positioning.

Heading into the close, Live Cattle futures were an average of 67¢ lower (32¢ to $1.35 lower), except for 77¢ higher in spot Apr. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of 42¢ lower.

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

For the week, FOB live prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt., mostly $1-$2 higher in Nebraska at $184-$185 and steady to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $184-$186. Dressed delivered prices were $2 higher at $294-$295 in Nebraska and $294 in the western Corn Belt.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was $1.48 higher at $182.67. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $2.04 higher at $294.39.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 39¢ higher Monday afternoon at $297.53/cwt. Select was $1.49 higher at $290.21/cwt.

Heading into the close, Corn futures were fractionally lower through Mar ‘25. Soybean were 1¢ to 4¢ higher through Nov. ‘24. 

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, supported by tech stocks and corporate earnings once again.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 146 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 16 point higher. The NASDAQ was up 55 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 28¢ to 48¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Assuming no further complications from Bovine Influenza A virus (BIAV) in dairy cattle, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock Marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says cattle markets should move forward based on fundamentals.

“Calf prices normally reach a seasonal peak at the end of the first quarter, so steer calf prices may not recover fully to the March highs,” Peel explains in his weekly market comments. “However, the strong general uptrend in cattle markets likely means calf prices may move more sideways for a period before moving higher in the later part of the year. Concern about summer grazing conditions could temper stocker demand in the next month or so.”

Peel notes heavyweight feeder cattle prices have bounced more than calf prices since BIAV applied pressure, buoyed by recovery in Feeder futures and seasonal tendencies for higher prices from now through the middle of the year.

“Despite the unexpected shocks that have impacted feeder markets, feeder prices are proving to be very resilient,” Peel says. “Feedlot demand is strong as feedlots chase limited feeder cattle supplies, spurred on by declining feedlot cost of gain.  For all feeder cattle, both calves and big feeders, the highest prices of the year are expected in the fourth quarter.”

 

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 29, 2024

Cattle futures closed higher Friday, helped along by stronger cash fed cattle prices to end the week, as well as weekly gains in Choice wholesale beef values.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 56¢ higher. They were an average of $3.82 higher week to week on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.07 higher. They were an average of $6.60 higher week to week.

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

For the week, FOB live prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt., mostly $1-$2 higher in Nebraska at $184-$185 and steady to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $184-$186. Dressed delivered prices were $2 higher at $294-$295 in Nebraska and $294 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 22¢ higher Friday afternoon at $297.14/cwt. Select was 94¢ lower at $288.72/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 613,000 head was 7,000 head fewer than the previous week and 14,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 10.2 million head was 505,000 head fewer (-4.7%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date beef production of 8.5 billion pounds was 229.6 million pounds less (-2.6%).

Turning to row crops, KC HRW Wheat futures closed 11¢ to 14¢ higher. Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ lower. Soybean futures closed mixed, fractionally lower to 3¢ lower through Jan ’25 and then fractionally higher to 3¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday, supported by tech stocks and positive corporate earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 153 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 51 point higher. The NASDAQ was up 316 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME closed 28¢ to 48¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued its final rule for Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) Friday. For interstate movement, the rule requires official ear tags for certain classes of cattle and bison be readable both visually and electronically. The final rule applies to all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or older, all dairy cattle, cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo or recreation events, and cattle or bison of any age used for shows or exhibitions.

“USDA’s final traceability rule updates the existing requirement for animal identification that has been in place since 2013, switching from solely visual tags to tags that are both electronically and visually readable for certain classes of cattle moving interstate,” explains Mark Eisele, a Wyoming rancher and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “Many producers are already familiar with using these visual tags and under the new rule, they will instead use electronic tags. NCBA has worked hard to secure $15 million in funding for producers to reduce the cost of implementing this change. We also remain committed to safeguarding producers’ private data and continuing to reduce the cost of ear tags for farmers and ranchers. Our industry faces a tremendous threat from the risk of a future foreign animal disease on American soil. To avoid devastating financial losses during a potential outbreak and to help producers quickly return to commerce, we need an efficient animal disease traceability system.”

APHIS is currently providing electronic ID tags at no cost to producers. Producers should contact their State Veterinarian to obtain the free tags. The rule will not take effect for six months to provide time for producers to prepare.

“Rapid traceability in a disease outbreak will not only limit how long farms are quarantined, keep more animals from getting sick, and help ranchers and farmers get back to selling their products more quickly – but will help keep our markets open,” says Michael Watson, APHIS Administrator. 

One of the most significant benefits of the rule for farmers and ranchers will be the enhanced ability of the United States to limit impacts of animal disease outbreaks to certain regions, which is the key to maintaining our foreign markets, according to APHIS. By being able to readily prove disease-free status in non-affected regions of the nation, the U.S. will be able to request foreign trading partners recognize disease-free regions or zones instead of cutting off trade for the entire country. Traceability of animals is necessary to establish these disease-free zones and facilitate reestablishment of foreign and domestic market access with minimum delay in the wake of an animal disease event.

The final rule affects 11% of the U.S. cattle herd, according to NCBA.

More information is available at the APHIS ADT page.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 25, 2024

Heading into Wednesday’s close, Cattle futures were sharply lower, pressured by news that viral fragments of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) were found in pasteurized milk during the ongoing investigation into Bovine Influenza A virus found in dairy cattle. Although there is no reason to doubt the safety of pasteurized milk, the headlines made traders skittish.

Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $2.32 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand were moderate in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were steady at $182/cwt.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill.

Last week, FOB live prices were mainly $183 in Nebraska and $184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292-$293.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.66 lower Wednesday afternoon at $295.74/cwt. Select was $2.34 lower at $290.42/cwt.

Heading into the close, wheat was higher again based on weather concerns.

Kansas City Wheat futures were 14¢ to 17¢ higher through Jly ‘25.

Corn futures were mostly 1¢ to 5¢ lower through Mar ‘25.

Soybean futures were mostly fractionally mixed through Jly ‘25.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 42 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 1 point higher. The NASDAQ was up 16 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 17¢ to 50¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Total pounds of beef in freezers Feb. 29 were 6% less than the previous month and 12% less than a year earlier, according to the latest USDA Cold Storage report.

Frozen pork supplies were down 1% from the previous month and down 12% from last year.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were 4% less month to month and 13% less year over year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were down 1% from the previous month and down 5% from a year ago.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 24, 2024

Cattle futures were mixed with Live Cattle taking a breather and awaiting weekly cash direction while last Friday’s Cattle on Feed report continued helping lift Feeder Cattle.

Feeder Cattle futures were an average of 69¢ higher. Live Cattle futures mixed, from an average of 63¢ lower in the front five contracts to an average of an average of 84¢ higher.

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, FOB live prices were $182/cwt., in the Southern Plains, mostly $183 in Nebraska and $184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292-$293.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.47 higher Tuesday afternoon at $297.40/cwt. Select was 89¢ higher at $292.76/cwt.

Heading into the close Tuesday, Wheat futures were the grain the complex higher again, based on weather concerns and apparent short covering.

Kansas City Wheat futures were 11¢ to 13¢ higher through Jly ‘25.

Corn futures were mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher through Jly ‘25.

Soybean futures were 1¢ to 5¢ higher through Nov ‘24.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher again Tuesday, fueled by strong quarterly corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 263 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 59 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 245 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were $1.01 to $1.44 higher through the front six contracts.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 23, 2024

Cattle futures surged higher Monday, supported by Friday’s friendly Cattle on Feed report, which indicated fewer March placements than expected.

At the close and before final settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $2.56 higher and Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $3.71 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 steady in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt., mostly $1 lower in Nebraska at mainly $183 and $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $184. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $1 lower in Nebraska at $292-$293 and $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $292 in a light test.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was $1.17 lower at $182.67/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was 74¢ lower at $292.35.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 26¢ higher Monday afternoon at $295.93/cwt. Select was $1.04 higher at $291.87/cwt.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Monday, supported by tech stocks and easing tension in the Middle East.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 253 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 43 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 169 points.

Heading into the close West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME were 12¢ to 32¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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The latest Cattle on Feed report might be pointing toward moderating beef heifer liquidation.

“Heifers made up 38.5% of total feedlot inventories (April 1), down from 39.7% in January,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. “While the heifer percentage in feedlots remains above the average of the past 10 years, the decline from January to April is an encouraging sign that heifer feeding is perhaps slowing. During rapid herd expansion in 2015-2017, the heifer percentage of feedlot inventories dropped below 34% and averaged below 33% for 10 consecutive quarters. Heifer feeding is expected to decrease significantly more in the coming months.”

Reflecting on Friday’s report in his weekly market comments, Peel also explains stubbornly high feedlot inventories stem more from the slower pace of marketings than placements.

In fact, Peel says monthly average feedlot placements (12-month moving average) in March were the least since April 2017. Total placements during the last six months are 2.3% less than the same period last year.

At the same time, the pace of marketing has declined faster than placements as dwindling numbers of cattle are being fed for longer periods.

“Feedlots have an incentive to keep inventories as close to capacity as possible. One way is to slow down the turnover rate, effectively making fewer cattle turn into larger inventories,” Peel explains. “The result is more days on feed and heavier carcass weights. Steer carcass weights have averaged 25 pounds heavier year over year for the past four weeks, with heifer carcasses over 21 pounds heavier. There are limits to how much feedlots can slow marketings, but feedlots are expected to push carcass weights as far as possible in the coming months. Feedlot inventories are expected to decline in the next few months despite feedlot actions to delay the inevitable.” 

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

Cattle Current Daily—04-22-24

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed Friday with uncertainty about the Cattle on Feed report, which ultimately proved to be likely supportive (see below).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 12¢ higher, except for unchanged to an average of 5¢ lower in three contracts. They were an average of $4.20 higher week to week on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 57¢ lower. They were an average of $6.82 higher week to week on Friday.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was moderate on moderate demand in the Southern Plains and Nebraska through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Trade in the western Corn Belt was slow on light to moderate demand.

FOB live prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $182/cwt., mostly $1 lower in Nebraska at $183 and $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $184. Dressed delivered prices were $1 lower at $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 13¢ lower Friday afternoon at $295.67/cwt. Select was $1.56 higher at $290.83/cwt.

Last week, estimated total cattle slaughter of 620,000 head was 17,000 head more than the previous week but 5,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Estimated year-to-date total cattle slaughter of 9.5 million head was 486,000 head fewer (-4.7%). Estimated year-to-date beef production of 8 billion pounds was 233.9 million pounds less (-2.8%). For broader context, estimated total year-to-date red meat production is 1.3% less.

Turning to row crops, Grain and Soybean futures rallied Friday with likely short covering.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ higher, with added support from the Environmental Protection Agency’s emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 gasoline — gasoline blended with 15% ethanol — to be sold during the summer driving season. 

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 6¢ to 7¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 16¢ higher through Jan ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Friday with pressure from tech stocks and geo-political concerns about the Mideast conflict.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 211 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 43 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 319 points.

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Markets will likely view Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report as neutral to supportive with fewer feedlot placements than expected.

For feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity, March placements of 1.7 million head were 246,000 head fewer than the same time last year, which was 12.3% less and about 4% fewer than expectations ahead of the report.

In terms of placement weights, 34% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less, 53% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 13% weighing 900 lbs. or more.

Marketings in March of 1.7 million head were 271,000 head fewer (-13.7%) than last year. That was about 2% less than estimates ahead of the report.

Cattle on feed April 1 of 11.8 million head were 174,000 head more (+1.5%) than a year earlier, which was in line with expectations.

Heifers on feed April 1 0f 4.6 million head were 39% of the mix and 1% more than the same time last year.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 19, 2024

Cattle futures gained Thursday with likely positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report. Export sales also provided support.

Net U.S. beef export sales for the week ending April 11 were 17,700 metric tons for 2024, according to the weekly U.S. Export Sales report. That was 30% more than the previous week and 27% more than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan and Mexico.

At the close and before final settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.46 higher. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $1.65 higher.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $182/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184 in Nebraska and $185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $293.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.01 lower Thursday afternoon at $295.80/cwt. Select was $1.61 lower at $289.27/cwt.

Turning to row crops before the close, Corn futures mostly 4¢ lower. Kansas City Wheat futures were 4¢ to 5¢ higher through Jly ’25. Soybean futures were 10¢ to 16¢ lower through Jly ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices drifted to a narrowly mixed close Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 22 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 11 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 81 points.

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An estimated 42% of cattle were in areas affected by abnormal dryness or drought the week ending April 16, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. That was 15% less than the same week last year. That was with 38.6% of the U.S. experiencing abnormal dryness or drought, compared to 46.5% a year earlier.

“Over the next five days (April 19-23), more heavy precipitation is expected in the Plains and Midwest,” according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor Summary. “Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota could see upwards of 2.5 inches of precipitation. Northeast Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and western Arkansas could see 1.5 to 2 inches of precipitation. Areas of higher elevation in the Rockies of Colorado and Wyoming are also expected to see between 1-2 inches.

“The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s six to 10-day outlook (Valid April 22) favors above-normal precipitation for southern parts of the U.S., particularly along the eastern Gulf Coast from Texas and Louisiana into parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Florida is also favoring above-normal precipitation.”

Looking further ahead, there is an 85% chance the current El Niño transitions to neutral by April to June, according to the Climate Prediction Center. There is a 60% chance of La Niña developing by June-August and an 85% chance of La Niña conditions in the northern hemisphere by this fall and early winter.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 18, 2024

Cattle futures drifted Wednesday as traders awaited cash direction. Likely, there was added hesitancy ahead of Friday monthly Cattle on Feed report. Estimates see placements being 8% less year over year and marketings down 12% for an April 1 inventory about 2% higher.

At the close and before final settlement, Live Cattle futures mixed, from an average of 28¢ lower in the front four contracts to an average of 27¢ higher. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of 24¢ lower, except for 15¢ higher in spot Apr.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $182/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184 in Nebraska and $185 in the western Corn Belt.

Dressed delivered prices were $3-$4 lower in Nebraska at $293 and $4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $293.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.24 lower Wednesday afternoon at $296.78/cwt. Select was $1.76 lower at $290.88/cwt.

Turning to row crops toward the close, Corn futures were mostly 2¢ lower through Dec ‘25. Kansas City Wheat futures were mostly 8¢ to 13¢ lower through Jly ’25. Soybean futures were 1¢ to 4¢ higher through Jan ’25. 

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 45 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 29 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 181 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) was 5¢ to 20¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) raised the expected second-quarter feeder steer price by $3 to $250/cwt. in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. The increase was based on recent price data and stronger first-quarter placements leaving fewer calves available for placement in the second quarter.

Compared to the previous month, price expectations (basis 750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) were little changed for the rest of this year: $261 in the third quarter and $267 in the fourth quarter for an annual average price of $254.46.

As mentioned in Cattle Current last week, ERS increased projected five-area direct average fed steer prices for the remainder of this year in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Compared to the previous month, based on recent data and expected strength in demand, forecast prices increased $2 in the second quarter to $185/cwt., $2 in the third quarter to $184 and $4 in the fourth quarter to $190. The annual average price increased $2 to $185.

That was with beef production estimated 130 million pounds more at 26.5 billion pounds. Forecast production was raised on heavier weights and increased slaughter.

“Despite concerns in the futures market, cash prices remain strong, and prices may have peaked sooner than normal, but fundamentals remain for slaughter to increase in the second quarter,” ERS analysts say.

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

Cattle News Daily—Apr. 17, 2024

Cattle futures continued higher Tuesday for the second consecutive session, perhaps establishing a bottom.

At the close and before final settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.59 higher. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $2.38 higher.

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, FOB live prices were $182/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $184 in Nebraska and $185 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $293.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.86 lower Tuesday afternoon at $298.02/cwt. Select was $1.30 higher at $292.64/cwt.

Turning to row crops, heading into the close, Corn and Soybean futures were lower again with likely pressure from positive weather and the early planting pace. According to USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report, 6% of corn was in the ground, which was 1% more than the five-year average; and 3% of soybeans were planted, which was 2% more than average.

Corn futures were mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower through Dec ‘25. Soybean futures were 8¢ to 13¢ lower through Jly ’25. However, Kansas City Wheat futures were mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher through Jly ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Tuesday as investors wrestle with sticky inflation and the prospects of a longer period before the Fed can reduce interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 63 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 10 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 19 points.

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

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Although Choice boxed beef cutout values are a touch higher than this time last year, David Anderson, Extension livestock economist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service says some see weakness compared to higher year-over-year calf and fed cattle prices.

“Several factors are at work in cutout value,” Anderson says in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). “In some ways, the market is in the winter-to-spring transition period, moving from winter-time roasts and other end cuts to steaks for grilling season. Primal cut values for chucks and rounds have been declining while the primal loin has been increasing. The rib and wholesale ribeye values have not increased seasonally heading into grilling season. Lean beef for ground beef has soared in value while 50% lean has remained depressed.”

Anderson notes counter-seasonally heavier carcass weights fostered by positive weather, cheaper feed and longer feeding periods.

“Beef grading Choice has increased by more than one percentage point, to over 74%, about the same as last year, while Prime is 1.5 percentage points higher than a year ago, at 11.5%,” Anderson says. “When combined with larger beef production, the grading percentages mean that we have more Prime and Choice beef than this time last year. Increased Choice supplies and fewer Select supplies are helping to pressure the Choice-Select spread to under $5 per cwt.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 16, 2024

Cattle futures bounced back some Monday with likely short covering.

At the close and before final settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.86 higher. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $3.51 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 $2 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $182/cwt., $1-$2 lower in Kansas at $182, $3 lower in Nebraska at $184 and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $185.

Dressed delivered prices were $3-$4 lower in Nebraska at $293 and $4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $293.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live steer price last week was $1.89 lower at $183.84. The average dressed delivered steer price was $3.78 lower at $293.09.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 31¢ higher Monday afternoon at $300.88/cwt. Select was $4.20 lower at $291.34/cwt.

Turning to row crops, heading into the close, Grain and Soybean futures gave back gains from the previous session with likely producer selling.

Corn futures were 3¢ to 4¢ lower through May ‘25. Kansas City Wheat futures were 4¢ to 5¢ lower through May ’25. Soybean futures were 8¢ to 15¢ lower through Jan ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Monday after support early in the session, as Treasury yields surged higher.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services in March were up 0.7% month to month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That was significantly more than expected, adding to inflation bearishness. Retail sales were 4.0% more than the previous year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 248 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 61 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 290 points.

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

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Since the start of February, fed steer carcass weights increased counter-seasonally to 924 lbs., about 25 lbs. heavier year over year, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. He adds that fed heifer carcass weights are 19 lbs. heavier than a year ago.

“Fed carcass weights are impacted both by long-term trends and current market conditions,” Peel explains in his weekly market comments. “Carcass weights have trended heavier for over 60 years with steer carcass weights increasing by an average of 4.0 lbs. per year, up over 240 lbs. from 660 lbs. in the 1960s to over 900 lbs. in recent years. Heifer carcass weights have increased by an average of 4.5 lbs. per year over the same period.”

Besides the trend over time, Peel says carcass weights are being boosted by moderating feed costs and the incentive to feed cattle longer as way to maintain feedlot inventories.

“Kansas feedlot data shows that steers are currently averaging 190 days on feed, up 9 days from one year ago and about 40 days longer than a decade ago,” Peel says. “Increasing carcass weights are the result of more days on feed combined with changing cattle genetics and use of feeding technology, such as implants, ionophores and beta agonists.”

On the plus side, more days on feed adds Quality Grade. However, longer feeding periods also decrease Yield Grade. Although steady the past four years, Peel points out the percentage of Prime and Choice cattle increased from about 68% in 2010 to current levels near 85%. During the same period, he says the percentage of Yield Grade 4 and 5 cattle has generally increased, from less than 9% to an average of nearly 20%.

“The average increase in Yield Grade 4 and 5 cattle has been especially pronounced in the last year,” Peel says. “Thus far in 2024, the percentage of Yield Grade 4 and 5 cattle has averaged 23.7%.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 15, 2024

Cattle futures sank lower Friday with pressure including the bounce higher in grain futures, more cases of Bovine Influenza A Virus in dairy cattle and struggling outside markets.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.39 lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.27 lower.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.39 and Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.25 lower.

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $182/cwt., $1-$2 lower in Kansas at $182, $3 lower in Nebraska at $184 and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $185.

Dressed delivered prices were $3-$4 lower in Nebraska at $293 and $4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $293.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.20 higher Friday afternoon at $300.57/cwt. Select was 39¢ higher at $295.54/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 603,000 head was 10,000 head fewer than the previous week and 8,000 head fewer than the same week a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 8.9 million head was 482,000 head fewer (-5.1%) year over year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 7.5 billion pounds was 251.6 million pounds less (-3.3%).

Grain and Soybean futures rallied Friday as funds appeared to exit positions amid risk-off sentiment in equity markets.

Corn futures closed 5¢ to 6¢ higher through Jly ’25 and then mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 5¢ to 8¢ higher through May ’25 and then mostly 3¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 14¢ higher through Jan ’25 and then 6¢ to 9¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply lower Friday with pressure from inflation concerns and wobbly corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 475 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 75 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 267 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed  59¢ to 64¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Counter-seasonally heavier carcass weights are moderating less cattle slaughter, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC).

LMIC analysts note in the latest Livestock Monitor that dressed steer and heifer carcass weights have risen the past eight weeks.

“Normally fed cattle dressed weights fall, reliably, from January to June and then move up July to November. Some years the seasonal pattern is less pronounced than others, but rarely is the opposite trend seen in cattle dressed weights,” LMCI analysts explain. “At least some of the reason dressed weights are heavier is that marketings have been lower, and the number of cattle on feed over 150 days is higher. Daily marketings in March are estimated to be in the low 80,000s head per day, a small number given that cattle on feed is above a year ago. Cattle on feed more than 150 days reached 2.7 million head in February, resembling numbers seen during the pandemic and post-pandemic supply chain problems.”

Through the first quarter, LMIC analysts say cattle harvest was down an estimated 5%, but average cattle carcass weights were up 2%, meaning that beef production was down 3.5%.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 12, 2024

Cattle futures were higher into the close and before settlement on Thursday, despite steady to lower early cash fed cattle prices and recently weaker wholesale beef values.

Live Cattle futures were an average of 56¢ higher. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of 95¢ higher.

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.

Compared to last week, FOB live prices were $1-$2 lower in Kansas at $182/cwt. and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $185 where dressed delivered prices were $4 lower at mostly $293.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184 in the Texas Panhandle and $187 in Nebraska where dressed delivered prices were $296-$297.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 14¢ higher at $298.37/cwt. Select was 87¢ lower at $295.15.

Turning to row crops, Grain and Soybean futures were trending lower at the close Thursday with pressure from the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below).

Corn futures 3¢ to 5¢ lower through Mar ‘25. Kansas City Wheat futures were 8¢ to 11¢ lower through May ‘25. Soybean futures were 4¢ to 5¢ lower through next March.  

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Thursday with most of the support coming from tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 38 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 271 points.

Late afternoon, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) were little changed but lower through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service increased projected five-area direct average fed steer prices for the remainder of this year in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Compared to the previous month, based on recent data and expected strength in demand, forecast prices increased $2 in the second quarter to $185/cwt., $2 in the third quarter to $184 and $4 in the fourth quarter to $190. The annual average price increased $2 to $185.

That was with beef production estimated 130 million pounds more at 26.5 billion pounds. Forecast production was raised on heavier weights and increased slaughter.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 11, 2024

Cattle futures lost more ground Wednesday with pressures including heavy carcass weights and announced import restrictions by some states on cattle from states with confirmed cases of Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV).

At the close and before final settlement, Live Cattle futures were an average of $1.57 lower. Feeder Cattle futures were an average of $2.72 lower.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $183-$184 in Kansas and $187 in the north. Dressed delivered prices were $296-$297 in Nebraska and $297 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.86 lower at $298.23/cwt. Select was $3.88 lower at $296.02.

Turning to row crops, heading toward Wednesday’s close, Kansas City Wheat futures were 8¢ to 17¢ higher through Dec ’25 which helped drag Corn futures mostly 2¢ to 4¢ higher through near Dec.

However, Soybean futures were 5¢ to 9¢ lower ahead of Thursday’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.  

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday, pressured by another reading of sticky inflation.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.4% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Before seasonal adjustment, the all items index increased 3.5% over the last 12 months, which was more than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 422 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 49 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 136 points.

Late afternoon, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) were little changed but higher through the front six contracts.

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

Cattle Current Daily—04-10-24

Cattle futures gained some Tuesday with a likely technical bounce.

At the close and before final settlement, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.26 higher, while Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.94 higher.

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $184/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $183-$184 in Kansas and $187 in the north. Dressed delivered prices were $296-$297 in Nebraska and $297 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 2¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $302.09/cwt. Select was 37¢ lower at $299.90.

Turning to row crops, positive weather outlooks in the U.S. and South America helped pressure grains Tuesday. Heading toward the close,

Corn futures were down 4¢ to 6¢ through Dec. ’25, Kansas City Wheat futures were mostly 6¢ to 13¢ lower through Dec ’25 and Soybean futures were mostly 6¢ lower through the front of the Board.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 9 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 7 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 52 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) were 61¢ to $1.15 lower through the front six contracts.

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Funds exiting long positions pulled the rug from under Cattle futures when Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was confirmed in dairy cattle and linked to a human case soon after. However, Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University says some price adjustment should already have been expected.

Incidentally, because there is a difference, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners now refers to the virus as Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV).

“Beef packer margins are as poor as they have been for over a year. The first quarter typically has the poorest margins and that is where things are,” Koontz explains, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center. “Pressure to lower fed cattle prices remains to be expected. Cash cattle feeding margins are also relatively even compared to the strength observed in all of 2023. Under such conditions pressure on feeder cattle prices are anticipated. Given these underlying conditions, a rapid return to observed high price levels for fed cattle and calves is unlikely.”

Further, Koontz noted the inventory of cattle on feed for more than 150 days, as calculated from USDA reports, is among the most since the pandemic.

“Therefore, packer leverage in bargaining will remain strong into the second quarter, and the impetus for other heavy placements will be mitigated,” Koontz says. “It is rather possible that the spring market rally has occurred and is over.”

By | April 9th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 9, 2024

Higher wholesale beef values helped Live Cattle futures firm on Monday.

Live Cattle closed an average of 67¢ higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 50¢ lower, except for $1.45 higher in spot Apr.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade 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 $2 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $184/cwt., $1-$2 lower in Kansas at $183-$184, $2-$3 lower in Nebraska at $187 and $1-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $187. Dressed delivered prices were $3-$5 lower in Nebraska at $296-$297 and $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $297.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was $2.50 lower at $185.73. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $2.62 lower at $296.87.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.90 higher Monday afternoon at $302.07/cwt. Select was $5.57 higher at $300.27/cwt.

Turning to row crops, Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher. KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 5¢ higher.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 11 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 1 point lower. The NASDAQ was up 5 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 34¢ to 42¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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As reported in the last issue of Cattle Current, U.S. beef exports continued to firm in February, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Although volume was down, value for the month was 10% higher at 830.4 million.

Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University lent perspective in his weekly market comments Monday. He explained beef exports continue to face headwinds as beef production decreases and beef prices increase in the U.S. market.

“A generally strong U.S. dollar adds additional headwinds, making U.S. beef imports more expensive to international customers,” Peel says. “At the same time, decreasing domestic beef supplies in the U.S., coupled with higher prices, attracts additional beef imports, with the strong dollar adding additional incentive for beef imports.” He explains beef imported to the U.S. typically is lean processing beef to supplement decreasing supplies of non-fed beef in the U.S.

Peel notes decreasing domestic lean beef supplies and strong ground beef prices are pushing both to record price levels.

Moreover, while fed steer and heifer beef production is declining, Peel notes the current large percentage of yield grade 4 and 5 cattle in feedlots means that the supply of fatty (50% lean) trimmings is high relative to lean beef supplies.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 8, 2024

Cattle futures plumbed lower Friday with continued concerns about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in dairy cattle.

Live Cattle closed an average of $3.08 lower ($2.70 to $3.80 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.96 lower ($3.92 to $5.85 lower).

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $184/cwt., $1-$2 lower in Kansas at $183-$184, $2-$3 lower in Nebraska at $187 and $1-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $187. Dressed delivered prices were $3-$5 lower in Nebraska at $296-$297 and $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $297.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 2¢ higher Friday afternoon at $297.17/cwt. Select was $1.35 lower at $294.70/cwt.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 609,000 head was 23,000 more than the previous week and 4,000 head more than the same week a year earlier. Total estimated year-to-date cattle slaughter of 8.3 million head was 473,000 fewer (-5.4%) year over year. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 7.0 billion pounds was 264.6 million pounds less (-3.7%).

Corn futures closed mostly unchanged to fractionally mixed.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 3¢ to 6¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 5¢ higher through Nov ’24 and then mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices gained Friday on the bullish employment situation.

Total non-farm employment grew by 303,000 in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was significantly more than expected. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls was 12¢ higher in March at $34.69.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 307 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 57 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 199 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed  16¢ to 32¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports continue to gain firmer footing, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports reached 103,883 metric tons (mt) in February, down 1% from a year ago, but export value increased 10% to $830.4 million. January-February exports were down 1% to 203,647 mt, while export value increased 9% to $1.59 billion.

February beef export value equated to $412.79 per head of fed slaughter, up 5% from a year ago. The January-February average was $385.78 per head, which was 7% higher.

“Tight beef supplies are definitely a challenge for exporters, and that situation isn’t going to change anytime soon,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “But on a positive note, we are seeing more opportunities for underutilized beef cuts, including the round, shoulder clod and variety meat, in the global marketplace. Demand is strong throughout the Western Hemisphere and the foodservice and hospitality sectors are finally gaining some momentum in key Asian markets such as Korea, where the post-COVID recovery has been slower than anticipated.”

February beef exports to the Caribbean were the largest on record, while demand from Mexico and Central and South America continued to trend higher.

In the other side of the fence, February pork exports increased 14% from a year ago to 250,930 mt, while value jumped 15% to $685.1 million. Through the first two months of 2024, exports increased 10% in both volume (502,354 mt) and value ($1.37 billion).

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

Cattle Current Daily-04-05-24

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light demand in the North through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. For the week, FOB live prices are $2-$3 lower at $187/cwt. Dressed delivered prices are $3-$5 lower in Nebraska at $296-$297 and $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $297.

Trade was at a standstill in the Southern Plains. FOB live prices last week were $186 in the Texas Panhandle and $185-$186 in Kansas.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.15 lower at $297.15/cwt. Select was 87¢ lower at $296.05/cwt.

Cattle futures edged higher Thursday, but were down sharply lower at mid-session on Friday as concerns about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza continue to weigh.

Live Cattle closed an average of 89¢ higher (25¢ to $1.25 higher).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.46 higher (75¢ to $2.02 higher).

Grain futures closed higher with apparent short covering.

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

KC HRW Wheat futures closed fractionally higher to 1¢ higher, except for 3¢ lower in spot May.

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

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Major U.S. financial indices sank Thursday, ahead of Friday’s national employment summary, and amid surging oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 530 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 64 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 228 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.05 to $1.19 higher through the front six contracts.

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Net U.S. beef export sales for the week ending Mar. 28 of 18,700 metric tons for 2024 were 48% more than the previous week and 53% more than the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, Canada, Taiwan and Mexico.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 4. 2024

Cattle futures closed lower Wednesday with pressure including softer early cash fed cattle prices, weakening wholesale beef values and continued uncertainty tied to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cows linked to a rare case in humans.

Live Cattle closed an average of 74¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.05.

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

There were some early live delivered trades in Nebraska at $189/cwt. FOB live sales there last week were $189-$190). There were also some early FOB live sales the western Corn Belt at $187, which was $1-$3 lower. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $4-$6 lower at $296. Dressed delivered prices in the western Corn Belt last week were $299-$300 in a very light test.

Elsewhere, trade was mostly inactive on light demand. Last week, FOB live prices were $186/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle and $185-$186 in Kansas.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.86 lower Wednesday afternoon at $301.30/cwt. Select was $2.07 lower at $296.92/cwt.

Grains and Soybean futures closed higher Wednesday with apparent short covering.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 5¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 10¢ to 17¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 6¢ to 8¢ higher.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 43 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 37 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed  28¢ to 62¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. agricultural producer sentiment increased in March, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The index increased 3 points month-to-month to 114. Although the Index of Current Conditions declined 2 points to 101, the Index of Future Expectations climbed 5 points to 120.

“Producers’ expectations for interest rate changes have shifted, which could help explain why producers look for financial conditions to improve,” says James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

This month, 48% of respondents said they expect a decline in the U.S. prime interest rate over the next year, which was 13% more than in December. High input costs continue to be producers primary concern.

The March barometer also revealed that many producers are concerned about potential government policy changes affecting their operations following this year’s elections. For instance, 43% of respondents anticipate more restrictive regulations for agriculture; 39% expect taxes impacting agriculture to rise.

The March barometer survey was conducted from March 11-15.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 3, 2024

Cattle futures firmed and clawed back a little ground without much conviction on Tuesday after being hammered by panic selling in the previous session, tied to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cows linked to a rare case in humans.

Live Cattle closed an average of $1.02 higher (50¢ to $1.70 higher).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.43 higher ($1.35 to $3.07 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 $186/cwt. in the Texas Panhandle, $185-$186 in Kansas, $189-$190 in Nebraska and $188-$190 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $299-$302 in Nebraska and $299-$300 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.58 lower Tuesday afternoon at $304.16/cwt. Select was $2.80 lower at $298.99/cwt.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 9¢ lower through Sep ’25 and then fractionally lower to 2¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 9¢ to 13¢ lower through May ’25. and then 6¢ to 7¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 4¢ to 11¢ lower through Jan ’25.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Tuesday amid rising treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 396 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 37 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 156 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.03 to $1.44 higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef and pork exports contribute significant value to the value of domestic corn and soybeans, according to an independent study conducted by The Juday Group and released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Nationally, U.S. pork and beef exports contributed an estimated total economic impact of 14.6% per bushel to the value of corn and 13.9% per bushel to soybeans in 2023, according to the study.

More specifically, beef and pork exports contributed an estimated 87¢ of bushel value at an average price of $5.95 per bushel. They accounted for 512.7 million bushels of U.S. corn usage, which equated to a market value of $3.05 billion (at an average 2023 corn price of $5.95 per bushel).

Pork exports accounted for 96.8 million bushels of U.S. soybean usage, which equated to a market value of $1.36 billion (at an average price of $14.07 per bushel). They contributed an estimated $1.95 per bushel, at an average price of $14.07 per bushel.

The quality of U.S. corn and soybeans as feed inputs is a key differentiator for U.S. red meat in international markets, says USMEF Chair Randy Spronk, a pork and grain producer from Edgerton, Minn. “Our production practices and the quality of our feed inputs is an important part of the story that USMEF promotes to international customers. How we raise our soybeans, how we raise our corn, how we process our feed and the efficiencies we strive for ‒ those are sustainable practices that help differentiate us from other beef and pork exporters.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 2, 2024

Cattle futures, already weakened by last week’s lower cash fed cattle trade and Choice wholesale beef values, crumbled Monday with another round of panic selling tied to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cows linked to a rare case in humans (see below).

Live Cattle closed an average of $4.91 lower (45¢ lower at the back to $6.10 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $6.91 lower.

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Texas Panhandle at $186/cwt., $2-$3 lower in Kansas at $185-$186, steady to $1lower in Nebraska at $189-$190 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn belt at $188-190. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $3 lower in Nebraska at 299-$302 and $2-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $299-300.

The five-area weighted average FOB live steer price last week was $1.33 lower at $188.23/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered steer price was $2.64 lower at $299.49.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 98¢ lower Monday afternoon at $305.74/cwt. Select was $1.64 lower at $301.79/cwt.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 6¢ lower through Sep ’25 and then mostly fractionally lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 5¢ to 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mostly lower Monday amid rising treasury yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 240 points lower. The S&P 5 closed 10 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 17 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 13¢ to 54¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported the first human case of novel avian influenza A(H5N1) in Texas.

“The patient became ill following contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected with avian influenza. The patient’s primary symptom was conjunctivitis,” according to the DSHS Health Alert. “This is the second case of avian influenza A(H5N1) identified in a person in the United States and is believed to be associated with the recent detections of avian influenza A(H5N1) in dairy cows announced by the Texas Animal Health Commission. DSHS along with local, regional, state, and federal partners, is investigating this ongoing situation. Avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses have only rarely been transmitted from person to person. As such, the risk to the general public is believed to be low; however, people with close contact with affected animals suspected of having avian influenza A(H5N1) have a higher risk of infection.”

Analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) provide some market perspective regarding last week’s confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle, before yesterday’s announced link to a human infection.

“Public perception is of primary concern at the moment,” LMIC analysts say in the latest Livestock Monitor. “So far, no trading partners have backed away from U.S. dairy products as a whole but consumers may have a different view. This story has already been picked up by major U.S. media outlets and circulated. Public perception will also hinge on how the disease spreads within dairy herds and if virus mutations reach a level of public concern. At the moment it does not appear to be transferable from cow to cow. However, it is entering migratory bird season, which increases the chances of wild birds interacting with domesticated animals. Points of transmission can be any shared spaces. Think: water tanks, feed bunks, rafters, etc.”

As for production implications, LMIC analysts explain losses are expected to be significant and short lived for infected cattle.

“There are implications for both down (public perception) and upside (lower production) price risk, but it is still early in the situation to make a definitive call,” say LMIC analysts.

By | April 1st, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Apr. 1, 2024

Futures and equity markets were closed on Friday, in observance of Good Friday.

Although Cattle futures firmed at the end of weekly trade, they ended sharply lower week to week, due in part to the previous Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report. As mentioned in Cattle Current, feedlot placements in February were 9.7% more year over year and 3.4% more than expected.

Futures also suffered from panic selling earlier in the week that stemmed from confirmation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in dairy cows (see below).

Week to week on Thursday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $4.22 lower ($3.37 to $5.07 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices softened, too. For the week, FOB live prices were $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $186/cwt., steady to $1 lower in Nebraska at $189-$190 and $1-$2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $188-$190. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $3 lower in Nebraska at $299-$302. Dressed delivered prices in the western Corn Belt the previous week were $302.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.00 lower week to week on Friday at $306.72/cwt. Select was $1.96 higher at $303.43. Friday’s Choice-Select spread of $3.29 was the lowest in about two years.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 586,000 head was 12,000 head fewer than the previous week and 59,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 7.7 million head was 473,000 head fewer (-5.8%). Estimated year-to-date beef production of 6.5 billion pounds was 284.5 million pounds less (-4.2%).

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Calves and feeder cattle sold mixed last week amid struggling futures prices and as this year’s grass cattle orders begin to end.

With that said, the only weekly Friday auction I had to report was for Ft. Pierre Livestock Auction in South Dakota where prices were strongly higher compared to two weeks earlier. Steers weighing 700-749 lbs. sold $10-$12 higher and then $3-$6 higher at 750-849 lbs. Heifers weighing 600-699 lbs. sold $8-$12 higher and then $3 higher at 700-799 lbs. There were 4,318 head on offer.

Week to week on Thursday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $7.70 lower ($3.12 to $9.57 lower). Added pressure came from a bounce in Corn futures tied to USDA’s Prospective Plantings report.

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Animal health officials continue to investigate an illness among dairy cows that is causing decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms.

Last Monday, USDA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (FDC) confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cows exhibiting these symptoms. Confirmed cases include two dairy herds in Kansas and two dairy herds in Texas. Later in the week, HPAI was also confirmed in a Michigan dairy herd that recently received cows from Texas. Presumptive positive test results have also been received for additional herds in New Mexico, Idaho, and Texas.

USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed that the strain of the virus found in Michigan is very similar to the strain confirmed in Texas and Kansas, which appears to have been introduced by wild birds. Initial testing found no changes to the virus that would make it more transmissible to humans. While cases among humans in direct contact with infected animals are possible, this indicates that the current risk to the public remains low.

“There continues to be no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply because products are pasteurized before entering the market, or that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health,” according to a statement issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) on Friday. “Dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals into processing for human consumption; milk from impacted animals is being diverted or destroyed so that it does not enter the human food supply. In addition, pasteurization has continually proven to inactivate bacteria and viruses, like influenza, in milk. Pasteurization is required for any milk entering interstate commerce for human consumption.”

Spread of symptoms among the Michigan herd also indicates that HPAI transmission between cattle cannot be ruled out, according to the agencies. USDA and partners have advised veterinarians and producers to practice good biosecurity, test animals before necessary movements, minimize animal movements, and isolate sick cattle from the herd. Among the dairies whose herds are exhibiting symptoms, the affected animals have recovered after isolation with little to no associated mortality reported.

“Milk loss resulting from symptomatic cattle to date is too limited to have a major impact on supply and there should be no impact on the price of milk or other dairy products,” according to the APHIS statement.

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

Cattle Current Daily—March 29, 2024

Cattle futures gained Thursday, recovering more of the early-week losses as traders positioned for the end of the week and quarter, and ahead of a long weekend.

Live Cattle closed an average of $1.49 higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 89¢ higher, except for 30¢ lower in expiring Mar.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was moderate on moderate demand in the Texas Panhandle through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $2 lower at $186/cwt.

A day earlier FOB live prices were $3 lower in Kansas at $185.

Elsewhere, trade was slow on light demand with too few transactions to trend.

Last week, FOB live prices were $190 in Nebraska and $190-$191 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $302.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 22¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $308.36/cwt. Select was $2.74 higher at $301.17/cwt.

Net U.S. beef export sales of 12,700 metric tons (mt) for 2024 were 15% more than the previous week and 4% more than the prior four-week average, according to USDA’s weekly U.S. Export Sales report for the week ending Mar. 21. Increases were primarily for South Korea, Japan, China, Mexico and Taiwan.

Turning to row crops, Corn futures climbed higher, up mostly 10¢ to 15¢, fueled by USDA’s Prospective Plantings report (see below).

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

Soybean futures closed mixed: 1¢ lower to 3¢ higher through Jan ’25 and then mostly 8¢ to 10¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed little changed Thursday as investors wrapped up the trading week and quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 47 points higher. The S&P 5 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 20 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.17 to $1.89 higher through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Prospective Plantings report surprised some with estimated corn acres this year projected at 90 million acres, about 2 million acres less than expectations. That would be 4.6 million acres less than last year (-4.9%).

Corn stocks Mar. 1 were estimated to be 8.4 billion bu., which was 950.1 million bushels more than a year earlier (+12.9%), according to the latest Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 5.1 billion bushels were stored on farms, up 24% from a year earlier. Projected off-farm stocks of 3.3 billion bushels were down 1% from a year ago.

Markets likely viewed the soybean outlook as neutral.

Soybean acres were projected at 86.5 million acres, which would be 2.9 million acres more than last year (+3.5%).

Soybean stocks were estimated at 1.8 billion bushels, up 158.4 million bushels (+9.4%) from a year earlier. Soybean stocks stored on farms were estimated at 933 million bushels, up 24% from a year ago. Off-farm stocks of 912 million bushels were 3% less than last March.

All wheat acres were projected at 47.5 million acres, which was 2.1 million acres less than last year (-4.2%) for comparable states. The projected 2024 winter wheat planted area of 34.1 million acres was 7% less than last year and 1% less than the previous estimate for comparable states.

Wheat stocks were estimated at 1.1 billion bushels, which was 146.2 million bushels more than a year earlier (+15.5%). On-farm stocks were estimated at 272 million bushels, up 20% from last March. Off-farm stocks of 816 million bushels were 14% more than a year ago.

All hay acres were projected to be 1.3 million acres less (-2.4%) than last year.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 28, 2024

Cattle futures firmed Wednesday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 91¢ higher (32¢ to $1.42 higher).

Live Cattle closed an average of 27¢ higher, except for 15¢ lower in the back contract.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade on Wednesday ranged from a standstill to slow on light demand in Kansas where FOB live prices were $3 lower at $185/cwt. in a light test, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Last week, FOB live prices were $188/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $190 in Nebraska and $190-$191 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $302.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.51 lower Wednesday afternoon at $308.58/cwt. Select was $1.83 lower at $298.43/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures mostly meandered lower as traders geared up for Thursday’s Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks report from USDA.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 5¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 1¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 6¢ to 7¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday with little economic news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 377 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 44 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 83 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 16¢ to 27¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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As mentioned in Cattle Current last week, cattle prices are expected to strengthen this year and next, according to the recently released annual agricultural market baseline outlook from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri (FAPRI). The outlook provides projections through 2033.

More specifically, FAPRI projects the five-area direct fed steer price at $178.57/cwt. this year, $184.59 next year and peaking in 2026 at $185.38. Prices then decline to $154.76 in 2033.

As for calves, basis 600-650-pound steers selling at Oklahoma City, prices are projected at $270.70/cwt. this year, $284.74 next year and peaking in 2026 at $286.19. Prices then decline to $224.71 in 2033.

Net return per beef cows are projected to be $387.30 this year, $469.07 next year and $479.92 in 2026 and $426.31 in 2027. From there, returns decline to $218.71 in 2031 and the declining further to $182.06 in 2033.

By | March 27th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 27. 2024

Cattle futures sank Tuesday amid uncertainty spun by negative and potentially negative news.

Closest to home, Monday’s announced confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in dairy cattle from herds in Kansas and Texas likely drew the attention of funds and algorithms. The infections appear to be tied to wild birds. There is no threat to the milk or food supply, according to USDA.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) issued a statement also emphasizing HPAI has not been detected in beef cattle. However, NCBA encourages producers to implement enhanced biosecurity measures on their farms and ranches to help protect their herds.”

For broader context, according to NCBA, “Detections of avian influenza in birds are common in the United States. While it is uncommon for HPAI to affect mammals, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has been tracking some limited detections of HPAI in mammalian wildlife for many years in the United States.”

So, the fundamental consequences of the HPAI finding depend on consumers.

Live Cattle closed an average of $3.22 lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.48 lower ($1.72 to $5.37 lower).

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 20¢ higher Tuesday afternoon at $311.09/cwt. Select was $1.70 lower  at $300.26/cwt.

There was no AMS cash fed cattle report available at press time.

Last week, FOB live prices were $188/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $190 in Nebraska and $190-$191 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $302.

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Grain and Soybean futures closed lower Tuesday with pressure from apparent farmer selling, month-end and quarter-end positioning as well as positioning ahead of Thursday’s Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks report from USDA.

There was also likely some knee-jerk selling related to the closure of Baltimore Harbor after a cargo ship struck and caused the collapse of Francis Scott Key Bridge. Maryland Governor, Wes Moore, declared a state of emergency and vessel traffic into and out of the harbor was suspended indefinitely. It’s not that Baltimore Harbor is a huge point of arrival or departure for agricultural commodities. The concern is how the closure of a busy port for other goods could impact other supply chains which could ultimately impact agricultural commodities.

Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 7¢ to 12¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 10¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices eased lower Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 31 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 14 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 68 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 25¢ to 34¢ lower through the front six contracts.

By | March 26th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 26, 2024

Cattle futures closed lower Monday, with pressure including Friday’s bearish monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Live Cattle closed an average of $1.09 lower (67¢ to $1.52 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.60 lower (50¢ to $2.37 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 $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $188/cwt., $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $190 (a few up to $191) and $2-$3 higher in the western Corn belt at $190-$191 (a few up to $191.50). Dressed delivered prices were $2-$7 higher in Nebraska at $302 and $4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $302.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was $2.09 higher at $189.56/cwt. The dressed delivered steer price was $4.07 higher at $302.13.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 17¢ higher Monday afternoon at $310.89/cwt. Select was 49¢ higher at $301.96/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly unchanged to fractionally lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 10¢ to 16¢ higher through Jly ’25, and then mostly 8¢ to 9¢ higher, supported by edible oils.

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Major U.S. financial indices softened Monday, with investors appearing to take a breath after last week’s strong gains, while looking toward month-end and quarter-end positioning this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 162 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 15 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 44 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.02 to $1.32 higher through the front six contracts.

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More days on feed, increased feeder cattle imports from Mexico and pulling cattle forward are among the factors underpinning persistently high feedlot inventories despite declining cattle numbers overall, according to Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.

“One of the primary reasons that feedlot inventories have remained as high thus far is due to the continued placement and feeding of heifers,” Peel says. “At some point, increased heifer retention will lead to more pronounced decreases in feedlot inventories, perhaps to levels similar to the 2014 low. It’s not clear when that will happen as herd rebuilding appears to be progressing slowly and drought continues to be a threat to the size of the beef cow herd.”

As mentioned in yesterday’s Cattle Current, cattle on feed March 1 (feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity) was 1.3% more than a year earlier at 11.8 million head, according to the latest Cattle on Feed report. Placements in February were 9.7% more than the previous year and the most for the month since the data series began in 1996.

“Average monthly feedlot inventories continued to climb until the September 2022 peak of 11.8 million head,” Peel explains. “The 12-month moving average of monthly feedlot inventories declined from October 2022 through October 2023 before increasing to the current level of 11.6 million head in March 2024, down 1.8% from the peak.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 25, 2024

Cattle futures closed lower Friday, with likely positioning ahead of what turned out to be a bearish monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below).

Live Cattle closed an average of $1.63 lower (87¢ to $2.00 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.24 lower (92¢ to $4.30 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 $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $188/cwt., $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $190 (a few up to $191) and $2-$3 higher in the western Corn belt at $190-$191 (a few up to $191.50). Dressed delivered prices were $2-$7 higher in Nebraska at $302 and $4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $302.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.01 lower Friday afternoon at $310.72/cwt. Select was $2.26 lower at $301.47/cwt. Week to week, Choice was $1.18 lower and Select was 93¢ lower.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 598,000 head was 3,000 head less than the previous week but 30,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 7.1 million head was 410,000 head fewer (-5.4%) than the same time a year earlier. Estimated beef production of 6.0 billion pounds was 250.7 million pounds less (-4.0%).

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 8¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 16¢ to 20¢ lower, with likely profit taking.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mainly lower Friday with likely profit taking from the week’s strong gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 305 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 7 points lower. The NASDAQ was up 26 points.

Week to week, the Dow gained 1,761 points. The S&P 500 was up 177 points and the tech-heavy NASDAQ was up 455 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 44¢ to 54¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Traders will likely view Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report as bearish with more feedlot placements than expected.

Feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity placed 1.9 million head in February which was 9.7% more (+160,000 head) year over year and 3.4% more than expectations ahead of the report. Placements were the highest for the month since the series began in 1996.

In terms of placement weights, 36% weighed 699 lbs. or less, 53% weighed 700-899 lbs. and 11% weighed 900 lbs. or more.

Marketings in February of 1.8 million head were 3.4% more (+59,000 head), which was in line with expectations.

Cattle on feed March 1 of 11.8 million head were 1.3% more (+153,000 head) than a year earlier, also in line with pre-report expectations.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 22. 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was moderate on moderate to good demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FOB live prices were $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $188/cwt., $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $190 (a few up to $191) and $2-$3 higher in the western Corn belt at $190-$191. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$7 higher in Nebraska at $302 and $4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $302.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 29¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $313.73/cwt. Select was $1.02 higher at $303.73/cwt.

Despite the higher cash trade, Cattle futures edged lower Thursday, with some likely positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Live Cattle closed an average of 43¢ lower., except for 57¢ higher in spot Apr.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 88¢ lower (30¢ to $1.07 lower), except for 62¢ higher in spot Mar.

Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher, helped along by weekly export numbers.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher, also helped by weekly exports.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday, with continued investor optimism about interest rate cuts this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 269 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 16 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 32 points higher.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 1¢ to 20¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Meat remains a favored mainstay among virtually all U.S. consumers, according to the 19th annual Power of Meat report released this week by the Meat Institute and FMI—The Food Industry Association. According to the report, 80% of Americans describe themselves as meat eaters and 98% of households purchase meat. Those numbers are steady year over year.

Economic conditions continue to impact Americans’ shopping and meal choices, with 43% of Americans cutting back on restaurant meals. Of meat eaters who are buying restaurant meals less often, 75% try to recreate restaurant-type meals at home.

At the grocery store, 73% of Americans are making one or more changes to meat purchases to save money – with the most common strategy being to adjust the quantity of meat purchased. Among meat purchasers changing quantities to save money, 30% buy smaller packages to save money immediately, and 42% buy larger bulk packs to save money over time. On the other hand, more than nine in 10 shoppers say they would spend extra on occasion, with holidays, special celebrations and entertaining the top reasons.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 21, 2024

Cattle futures closed slightly lower Wednesday, basically in a holding pattern ahead of weekly cash fed cattle trade and Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Live Cattle closed an average of 37¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 36¢ lower.

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 early FOB live sales in Kansas at $186/cwt.

Last week, FOB live prices were $186/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $187-$188 in Nebraska and $187-$189 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $295-$300 in Nebraska and $298 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 22¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $313.44/cwt. Select was 47¢ lower at $302.71/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ higher.

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

Soybean futures closed 12¢ to 14¢ higher, tied in part of new-crop export announcements.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, with investor optimism tied to the Fed staying on course with interest rates and planned rate cuts as the year unfolds.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 401 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 46 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 202 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.02 to $1.79 lower through the front six contracts.

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Wholesale beef values remain firm with Choice at the highest price levels since last fall. Slower beef production and declining supplies are part of the equation, as is consumer beef demand.

“Choice boxed beef prices remain well over year-ago prices to the tune of $25/cwt., but remain well below the 2023 peak price of $343,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “It is difficult to predict how high wholesale beef prices will go, given the overall price environment consumers are attempting to wade through with the elevated interest expense and higher overall prices of goods and services.”

On a related note, analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) note 90% lean beef was record high last week at $317/cwt., skyrocketing from $245 last December.

“The rally seen this winter is unparalleled by the previous cattle cycle. Fresh 90% lean beef prices have increased by a large magnitude and at a fast pace for this time of year, up 25% from the start of the year,” LMIC analysts explain in the latest Livestock Monitor. “In 2013 the same 10 week spread saw a 6% rise, in 2014 a 15% rise, and in 2015 a 2% decline. In 2014 fresh 90% lean beef prices continued to climb all year and eventually reached $278 in September, a 40% rise from the start of that year. Given that 2024 has increased so quickly, 90% lean prices may not be able to continue climbing at this pace. Put into context, a 40% increase from the start of 2024 would equal a 90% fresh lean price of just over $355 per cwt.”

Total U.S. cow slaughter is down 13% from last year through the first eight weeks of the year, according to LMIC. Beef cow slaughter is down 12%, while dairy cow slaughter is down 15%.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 20, 2024

Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed as traders appeared to wait for the week’s cash direction and looking toward Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Live Cattle narrowly mixed, from an average of 38¢ lower in the front four contracts to an average of 21¢ higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 25¢ lower in the front three contracts to an average of 70¢ higher (10¢ to $1.07 higher).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in all major cattle feeding regions through Tuesday afternoon.

Last week, FOB live prices were $186/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $187-$188 in Nebraska and $187-$189 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $295-$300 in Nebraska and $298 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 11¢ lower Tuesday afternoon at $313.22/cwt. Select was 13¢ higher at $303.18/cwt.

Grain futures firmed Tuesday.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher.

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

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ higher., except for fractionally higher to 2¢ lower in the front five contracts.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 320 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 29 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 63 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 35¢ to 75¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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As key commodity prices tumble, farm income this year will be the lowest since 2020, following record-high levels in 2022, according to the recent annual agricultural market baseline outlook from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri (FAPRI).

Even so, FAPRI director Pat Westhoff notes, “Despite a $30 billion drop in net farm income from 2022 to 2023, and another large projected decline in 2024, net farm income remains above annual levels from 2015 to 2020.”

“Our projections indicate that after near-record prices for several crops in the 2022-23 market year, we can expect a retreat,” says Bob Maltsbarger, FAPRI research economist. “In 2023, we saw crops overcome challenging growing conditions and achieve significant production levels that caused a decline in prices. Another year of trend-line yields, and shifting of planted acreage for key crops, could continue the downward trend of prices.”

The FAPRI outlook provides projections for agricultural and biofuel markets and serves as a point of reference for evaluating alternative scenarios for food and agricultural policy. It offers a summary of 10-year “baseline” projections for several economic indicators, including farm income, farm program spending and domestic commodity markets.

“FAPRI’s spring baseline, and subsequent updates, offer an understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing agricultural markets,” Westhoff says. “As producers and policymakers evaluate volatile market conditions, the analyses and projections we’ve shared can aid in risk mitigation.”

Among other FAPRI outlook findings…

  • Lower prices for farm inputs, such as fertilizer, partially offset lower prices but don’t offer enough relief to avoid declines in farmers’ net returns.
  • Livestock producers can expect reduced feed costs due to lower corn and soybean prices, offsetting price and demand challenges faced in this sector.

            Cattle prices have been strengthened by drought and other factors and an upward trend is projected for 2024 and 2025.

  • Demand-driven price declines for hogs, poultry and milk are expected to continue in 2023 and 2024.
  • For consumers, food price inflation slowed in 2023, and FAPRI’s report suggests that this trend could continue in 2024. The consumer price index for food is anticipated increase 2.1% in 2024, with the lion’s share of the increase coming from food away from home.
By | March 19th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 19, 2024

Strong cash fed cattle prices and higher wholesale beef values helped Cattle futures extend gains Monday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.38 higher (70¢ higher at the back to $1.80 higher toward the front).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.40 higher ($1.92 to $3.12 higher).

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.43 higher Monday afternoon at $313.33/cwt. Select was 65¢ higher at $303.05/cwt.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from a standstill to 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 $186/cwt., $2.00 higher in Nebraska at $187-$188 and $2-$3 higher in the western Corn belt at $187-$189. Dressed delivered prices were steady to $3 higher in Nebraska at $295-$300 and $6 higher in the western Corn Belt at $298.

The weighted average five-area direct FOB live steer price last week was $2.35 higher at $187.47/cwt. The weighted average dressed delivered price was $4.67 higher at $298.06.

Corn futures closed unchanged to fractionally mixed.

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

Soybean futures closed 7¢ to 10¢ lower.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 75 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 32 points higher. The NASDAQ was down 130 points higher.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.16 to $1.68 higher through the front six contracts.

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Imports of Mexican cattle to the United States have averaged more than 1 million head annually for the last four decades — mostly feeder cattle — says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University. He explains feeder steers comprised 80.7% of imports over the last eight years; 19% spayed feeder heifers.

“In 2023, imports of cattle from Mexico increased 43% year over year,” Peel says. “However, the large percentage increase was in comparison to the very low level in 2022. Imports of Mexican cattle in 2022 were the lowest since 2008.”

Spun differently, Peel says imports of Mexican cattle have averaged 3.2% of the U.S. calf crop for the past 25 years, ranging from 1.9% to 4.3%.

“Many of the Mexican cattle imports enter stocker programs in the U.S. prior to feedlot finishing, although some are placed in feedlots directly upon arrival in the U.S.,” Peel says. “ … Flows of Mexican cattle into the U.S. market vary from year to year because of numerous factors in both countries, including relative cattle numbers and cattle prices, beef market conditions, drought and currency exchange rates.”

On the other end of the trade, Peel notes Mexico is one of the major beef export destinations for U.S. beef. He adds that the U.S. has exported an average of 43,000 head of cattle to Mexico — mainly breeding stock — over the past 25 years. The U.S. exported more than 103,000 head of cattle to Mexico last year, the most since 2002.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 18, 2024

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $186/cwt., $2.00 higher in Nebraska at $187-$188 and $3 higher in the western Corn belt at $188-$189. Dressed delivered prices were mostly $6 higher at $298.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.12 higher Friday afternoon at $311.90/cwt. Select was 71¢ higher at $302.40/cwt.

Total estimated cattle slaughter of 601,000 head last week was 18,000 head more than the previous week but 27,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 6.5 million head was 381,000 head fewer (-5.5%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 5.5 billion pounds was 244.1 million pounds less (-4.3%).

Strong cash fed cattle prices and supportive wholesale beef values helped Cattle futures close mostly higher Friday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 92¢ higher (27¢ to $1.80 higher), except for an average of 46¢ lower in the back two contracts.

Corn futures closed 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 5¢ to 8¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Friday with the week’s bearishness surrounding sticky inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 190 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 33 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 155 points lower.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed mixed, from 22¢ lower to 14¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Current retail beef prices and their premium to competing proteins underscore beef demand strength.

The Choice beef retail price was $8.08 per pounds in February, about the same as the previous month but 49¢ per pounds more (6.5%) year over year, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center, in the latest Livestock Monitor.

“The all-fresh retail beef price was $7.83 per pound, a marginal increase from last month and an 8.3% increase ($0.60 per pound) increase over last year,” say LMIC analysts. “Ground beef was $5.13 per pound, up 7.4% from last year. Chucks and rounds posted increases of 10.2% and 7.6%, respectively, over last year to $7.51 and $6.71 per pound. Steaks posted a record high of $11.72 per pound, up 13.9% ($1.43 per pound) from last year.”

On the other side of the fence, retail pork prices were down slightly.

“The February retail pork price was $4.76 per pound, down less than 1% from the previous month and the previous year,” according to LMIC analysts. “Over the last 12 months, the retail pork price has ranged from $4.68 to $5.04 per pound with an average of about $4.80 per pound.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 15, 2024

Cattle futures closed sharply lower Thursday in an outside day with apparent technical pressure.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.18 lower ($1.85 to $2.97 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.89 lower ($2.80 to $4.67 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in the western Corn Belt through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were $2-$3 higher at $188.00. Dressed delivered prices were steady at $292.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill with too few transactions to trend. Last week, FOB live prices were $185 in the Southern Plains and $185-$186 in Nebraska where dressed delivered prices were $292-$300.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 96¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $310.78/cwt. Select was 65¢ higher at $301.69/cwt.

Corn futures closed 4¢ to 7¢ lower through Jly ’25 and then mostly 2¢ lower, with pressure from wheat.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 9¢ to 12¢ lower, pressured by more bullish domestic weather, poor exports and China’s recent cancellation of purchases from the U.S. and other countries.

Soybean futures closed mixed, from 1¢ lower to 1¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Thursday with a hotter inflation reading than expected. The Producers Price Index for final demand rose 0.6% in February, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 137 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 14 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 49 points lower.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.14 to $1.54 higher through the front six contracts.

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Compared to the previous month, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) increased the forecast feeder steer price (750-800 lbs., Oklahoma City) by $5 for the remainder of year in the March Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.

Based on lower projected corn prices and higher expected fed cattle prices, ERS increased the feeder steer price to $239/cwt. in the first quarter, $247 in the second quarter, $261 in the third quarter and $267 in the fourth quarter for an annual average price of $253.50.

As mentioned recently in Cattle Current, compared to the previous month, ERS increased the forecast weighted average five-area direct fed steer price for the remainder of this year, in the March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Compared to the previous month, ERS increased projected prices $3 in the first quarter to $179/cwt., $3 in the second quarter to $183, $2 in the third quarter to $182 and $2 in the fourth quarter to $186. ERS increased the forecast annual average price $3 to $183. Prices were forecast higher on recent prices and firm demand for fed cattle.

“Packers are anticipated to pay more for fed cattle as the year progresses, when market-ready supplies tighten further,” ERS analysts say.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 14, 2014

Cattle futures closed higher Wednesday with prospects of higher cash trade again this week.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.42 higher ($1.17 to $2.10 higher) amid heavy volume.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.84 higher ($1.30 higher at the front to $2.17 higher at the back).

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $185-$186/cwt. Dressed delivered prices were $292-$300 in Nebraska and $292 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 77¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $309.82/cwt. Select was $1.44 higher at $301.04/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 4¢ to 9¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Wednesday, led by tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 37 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 9 points lower. The NASDAQ was 87 points lower.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.69 to $2.16 higher through the front six contracts.

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Concentration in the cattle feeding sector continues to increase with fewer feedlots overall while the largest feedlots account for more annual sales, according to the recently published 2022 Census of Agriculture.

“Only 22,613 farms had cattle on feed in inventory at the start of 2022, down from 25,776 farms in 2017,” says Matthew Diersen, risk and business management specialist at South Dakota State University in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets. “Farms with 1 to 19 head on feed stayed constant in number, likely retained ownership for local consumption instead of a budding enterprise. The number of farms in the other small inventory levels, 20 to 999 head, all had significant declines, similar to or driving the overall decline in farms with cattle on feed.

On the other end of the spectrum, Diersen says feedlots with the largest inventory levels (1,000-2,499 head and 2,500 head or more) were relatively constant with more cattle on feed than in 2017.

Diersen points out the Census also provides a breakdown of custom fed cattle by state.

“While the U.S. saw fewer feedlots with custom feeding — 853 in 2022 versus 1,070 in 2017 — the aggregate number sold was higher at 10.1 million head in 2022,” Diersen says. “Kansas feedlots had the most head custom fed, followed by Nebraska, then Texas. Iowa led states with 155 farms with custom feeding.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 13. 2024

Cattle futures gained Tuesday with support from higher-trending wholesale beef prices and last week’s stronger cash trade.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 64¢ higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 92¢ higher (57¢ to $1.32 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 $185-$186/cwt. Dressed delivered prices were $292-$300 in Nebraska and $292 in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.71 higher Tuesday afternoon at $310.79/cwt. Select was 72¢ higher at $299.60/cwt.

Corn futures closed unchanged to fractionally mixed.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly fractionally lower.

Soybean futures closed mostly 13¢ to 17¢ higher, supported by lower estimated production in Brazil and a hotter forecast in South America.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed sharply higher Tuesday, led by tech stocks and despite a slightly hotter inflation reading than traders expected.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.3% in January, 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 235 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 57 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 246 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 22¢ to 37¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Lean beef trimming prices are on a tear, driving cull cow prices higher.

In this weekly market comments, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says 90% lean beef trimmings (90s) were $317.36/cwt. the first week of March, which was record high for data since 1978.

“The supply of non-fed beef (cow + bull) is down 12.7% year over year thus far in 2024, the result of a 13.1% year-to-date decrease in cow slaughter,” Peel says. “Dairy cow slaughter is down 15.0% and beef cow slaughter is down 11.4% year over year, while bull slaughter so far in 2024 is down 9.4% from one year ago.” 

As domestic lean beef supplies decrease, and prices increase, Peel explains the market responds with increased U.S. beef imports — primarily lean beef trimmings — to moderate domestic prices.

“Accordingly, beef imports in 2023 increased 9.9% year over year. In the latest data for January, beef imports were up 38.1% year over year,” Peel says. “Beef imports are typically front-loaded in the new year as countries, especially Brazil, scramble to fill the unassigned ‘Other Country’ import quota. Monthly imports will moderate later in the year and total imports for 2024 are projected to increase 12-13% year over year.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 12, 2024

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 higher in the Southern Plains at $185/cwt., $1.50-$2.00 higher in Nebraska at $185-$186 and $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$8 higher in Nebraska at $292-$300 and $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $292.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.84 higher Monday afternoon at $308.88/cwt. Select was $1.45 higher at $298.88/cwt.

Cattle futures drifted mainly lower Monday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 27¢ lower, except for an average of 16¢ higher in the back two contracts.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 85¢ lower (12¢ to $1.37 lower), except for an average of 36¢ higher in the last two contracts.

Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 9¢ to 13¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly fractionally lower to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices settled narrowly mixed Monday as investors apparently waited for direction from Tuesday’s Consumer Price Index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 46 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 5 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 65 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 8¢ lower to 26¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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Nationwide last week, feeder steers and heifers sold $2-$4 higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Compared to a year earlier, the regional weighted average feeder steer price (600-700 lbs.) was 65.67/cwt. higher in the Southeast to $79.09 higher in the North Central region, according to USDA’s National Weekly Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary.

Total trade at auction, video-internet and via direct trade last week was 306,200 head compared to about 280,000 head the previous week and about 260,000 the same week last year. Year-to-date auction receipts are higher year over year.

“Feeder cattle supplies are the tightest they have been in a decade and are expected to tighten further this year,” says Josh Maples, Extension livestock economist at Mississippi State University, in the latest Cattle Market Notes Weekly. “Higher levels of cow-culling and lower retention of heifers as beef cow replacements in recent years have likely set the stage for a smaller calf crop in 2024.” He explains the estimated number of calves produced in 2023 was 33.6 million head, which was similar to the 2014 level and down more than 3 million head since 2018.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 11, 2024

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $185/cwt., $1.50-$2.00 higher in Nebraska at $185-$186 and $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186. Dressed delivered prices were $2-$8 higher in Nebraska at $292-$300 and $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $292.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 583,000 head was 16,000 head fewer than the previous week and 48,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated cattle slaughter of 5.9 million head was 349,000 head fewer (-5.5%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 4.9 billion pounds was 231.3 million pounds less (-4.5%).

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 43¢ higher Friday afternoon at $307.04/cwt. Select was $1.17 higher at $297.43/cwt.

Cattle futures closed lower Friday despite the week’s higher cash trade and the supportive outlook in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (see below).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 83¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.33 lower (62¢ to $2.20 lower).

Grain and Soybean futures closed higher with likely short covering despite neutral to bearish World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed 2¢ to 3¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 16¢ to 19¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Friday, led by tech stocks and with mixed economic data.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was more than expected. However, the unemployment rate increased to 3.9%.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased 5¢ to $34.57.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 68 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 33 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 188 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 61¢ to 92¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) increased the forecast weighted average five-area direct fed cattle price for the remainder of this year, in the March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Compared to the previous month, ERS increased projected prices $3 in the first quarter to $179/cwt., $3 in the second quarter to $183, $2 in the third quarter to $182 and $2 in the fourth quarter to $186. ERS increased the forecast annual average price $3 to $183. Prices were forecast higher on recent prices and firm demand for fed cattle.

Beef production was projected 140 million pounds more than the previous month at 26.3 billion pounds. If so, it would be 638 million pounds less (-2.4%) than last year. Forecast production was raised with higher expected slaughter for the remainder of the year offsetting lower expected production in the first quarter.

By | March 9th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 8, 2024

Cattle futures closed higher Thursday, buoyed by stronger cash fed cattle prices.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.11 higher.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 84¢ higher (42¢ to $1.12 higher), except for unchanged in spot Mar.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade in the Southern Plains through Thursday afternoon ranged from a standstill in the Texas Panhandle to slow on light to moderate demand in Kansas, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were some early FOB live sales in Kansas at $186/cwt. Prices in the Southern Plains last week were $183.

Trade in the North ranged from slow on light to moderate demand in Nebraska to moderate on moderate demand in the western Corn Belt. FOB live prices were $1.50 to $2.00 higher in Nebraska at $185-$186 and $2 higher in the western Corn belt at $185-$186. Dressed delivered prices in both regions were $290 last week.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.70 higher through Thursday afternoon at $306.61/cwt. Select was $1.17 higher at $296.26/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures closed higher Thursday with apparent technical support and perhaps positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Corn futures closed 7¢ to 9¢ higher through May ’25 and then mostly 4¢ to 6¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 10¢ to 18¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 11¢ to 18¢ higher through Jan ’25 and then 6¢ to 7¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed strongly higher Thursday, led by tech stocks and investor optimism about tamer inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 130 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 52 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 241 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 20¢ lower to 11¢ higher through the front six contracts.

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The number of farms in the United States has fallen below 2 million for the first time since before the Civil War, according to the recently released 2022 Census of Agriculture, which USDA conducts every five years.

In 2022, there were 1,900,487 farms in the country, a 7% decline from the level reported in the 2017 Census. A farm is defined as an establishment that produced and sold, or would have sold in normal conditions, at least $1,000 in agricultural production in a year.

Total U.S. land in farms declined 2.2% to 880 million acres in 2022. Declining acres, combined with the higher proportional decline in the number of farms, meant that the average farm size increased by 5% to 463 acres per farm.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 7, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive 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 $183/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183-$184.50 in Nebraska and $183-$184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $290.

Cattle futures weakened Wednesday, as traders appeared to be waiting for cash direction.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 46¢ lower (22¢ to $1.07 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 91¢ lower (70¢ to $1.30 lower).

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 12¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $304.91/cwt. Select was 22¢ higher at $295.09/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures were mixed Wednesday. Keep in mind the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates are scheduled for release this Friday.

Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 10¢ to 15¢ lower though Dec ’24 and then 6¢ to 7¢ lower, struggling for demand.

Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Wednesday, helped by inflation comments from Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell.

In his Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress, Powell explained, “We believe that our policy rate is likely at its peak for this tightening cycle. If the economy evolves broadly as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year. But the economic outlook is uncertain, and ongoing progress toward our 2% inflation objective is not assured.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 75 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 26 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 91 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 70¢ to $1.00 higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. agricultural producer sentiment rose in February despite producers’ ongoing concerns about their operations’ financial performance in the year ahead, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.

The February barometer reading of 111 was 5 points higher month to month, buoyed by a 7-point increase 1n the Futures Expectations index. The Current Conditions Index was unchanged.

“Weak crop prices continue to weigh heavily on financial expectations, with mid-February Eastern Corn Belt cash prices for corn and soybeans declining by 7% and 8%, respectively, compared to two months earlier,” explains James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.

More specifically, 34% of respondents cited higher input costs as their primary concern for their operation this year, followed by 28% who said it was lower crop and livestock prices.

Each February, the barometer survey asks producers about growth plans for their operation in the next five years. This year, 40% of respondents expressed no plans for growth, with 14% saying they plan to exit or retire. Just over 3 out of 10 respondents anticipate their farm’s annual growth rate to exceed 5%. Responses to this question, which have been consistent in recent years, point to further consolidation among farm operations.

The latest Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from February 12-16.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 6, 2024

Cattle futures moved ahead Tuesday, mostly erasing losses from the previous session.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 81¢ higher (52¢ to $1.32 higher).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.12 higher (75¢ to $1.50 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 $183/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183-$184.50 in Nebraska and $183-$184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.51 lower Tuesday afternoon at $304.79/cwt. Select was 30¢ lower at $294.87/cwt.

Grain and Soybean futures softened Tuesday with likely pressure from profit taking and producer selling.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ lower.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 6¢ to 11¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 6¢ lower.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 404 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 52 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 267 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) 59¢ to 79¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Tighter supplies continue boosting cull cow and cow beef prices.

“Southern Plains auction prices for 85-90% lean cows jumped from $85/cwt. to $105 over the last two weeks. National average cutter quality cows hovered around $100,” says David Anderson Extension livestock economist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets from the Livestock Marketing Information Center.

Besides cull cow prices tending to increase until May-June, as cow slaughter declines seasonally Anderson explains beef and dairy cow slaughter remains less year over year.

“Since the first of the year, cow beef production has been about 14% lower than the same period last year. Heavier weights are boosting pounds of production, partially offsetting fewer animals slaughtered,” Anderson says. “The boxed cow beef cutout hit $240/cwt. at the end of February, up from about $205 at the beginning of the year and $32 higher than the same week in 2023.”

Moreover, Anderson says the approaching grilling season should further support prices.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 5, 2024

Cattle futures took a breather Monday as traders appeared to await further cash direction.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 80¢ lower (32¢ to $1.77 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.47 lower (80¢ to $2.40 lower).

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $183/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $183-$184.50 in Nebraska and $183-$184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $290.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live steer price last week was 35¢ higher at $183.30/cwt. The average dressed delivered price was $1.25 lower at $290.36.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.02 higher Monday afternoon at $306.30/cwt. Select was 57¢ lower at $295.17/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 7¢ to 10¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ higher.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 97 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 6 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 67 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 35¢ to $1.23 lower through the front six contracts.

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Although the total cattle on feed inventory has been above year-ago levels since last fall, Kenny Burdine, Extension livestock economist at the University of Kentucky notes it has been decreasing since December is now close to the same year over year.

“The surprisingly high cattle on feed levels have largely been the result of high placement levels in September and October due to dry weather in some parts of the U.S. and high levels of live cattle imports,” Burdine explains, in the latest issue of Cattle Market Notes Weekly. “In addition to high placements levels last fall, increasing harvest weights in late 2023 also pointed to longer cattle feeding times.”

As mentioned recently in Cattle Current, although more than expected feedlot placements in January were 7% less than the same time a year earlier, according to USDA’s most recent Cattle on Feed Report.

“Cattle on feed numbers tend to decrease seasonally through spring and summer,” Burdine says. “That decrease is likely to be ever greater in 2024 as tighter feeder cattle supplies reach feedlots.”

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

Cattle Current Daily—Mar. 4, 2024

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to mostly 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 steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., steady to $1.50 higher in Nebraska at $183-$184.50 and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $183-$184. Dressed delivered prices were $2 lower in Nebraska at $290 and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.08 higher Friday afternoon at $305.28/cwt., the highest level since October. Choice was $4.67 higher week to week on Friday. Select was $1.56 higher at $295.74/cwt., up $9.43 week to week.

Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 599,000 head was 6,000 head more than the previous week but 27,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 5.4 million head was 298,000 head less (-5.3%) than the same period last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 4.5 billion pounds was 194.2 million pounds less (-4.2%).

Cattle futures rebounded Friday, supported by higher wholesale beef prices and strong fundamentals.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.90 higher ($1.30 to $3,10 higher), except for 30¢ higher in newly minted away-Aug. They were narrowly mixed week to week.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.35 higher ($2.77 to $4.27 higher). They were an average of $1.40 lower week to week. Besides higher Corn futures and technical correction, some of the mid-week pressure may have stemmed from concerns about the massive Texas wildfires pushing more cattle to market.

Corn futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ lower through Dec ’14 and then 1¢ to 2¢ lower. Week to week on Friday, Corn futures closed an average of 10’5¢ higher through the front six contracts.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed mostly 14¢ to 22¢ lower.

Soybean futures closed 8¢ to 14¢ higher through Aug ’24 and then mostly 6¢ to 7¢ higher.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 90 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 40 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 183 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed $1.23 to $1.71 higher through the front six contracts.

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U.S. beef exports for fiscal year 2024 were projected $700 million higher than the previous quarterly forecast, in February’s Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The increase was based on tight domestic supplies and rising unit values.

U.S. agricultural exports were projected $1.0 billion higher at $170.5 billion. Exports of livestock and dairy, as well as grains and feeds, led the increase, offsetting reductions in oilseeds and products.

China was forecast to remain the largest market for U.S. agricultural exports at $28.7 billion. The figure is $800 million less than the previous forecast, largely due to strong South American competition for soybeans and corn.

“Global economic activity continues to moderate in response to ongoing tight monetary policies and weak global trade growth,” according to ERS and FAS analysts. “However, most of the global economy remains resilient due to gradual disinflation and steady growth. As a result, the global economy is expected to avoid a significant economic slowdown in calendar year (CY) 2024.”

For CY 2024, global real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was forecast at 3.1%. Projected real GDP growth for the United States was forecast at 2.1% for CY 2024.

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

Cattle Current Daily—March 1, 2024

Cattle futures continued a downward correction Thursday.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 60¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 93¢ lower (37¢ to $1.85 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 steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $183/cwt., steady in Nebraska at $183 and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $183-$184. Dressed delivered prices are $2 lower in Nebraska at $290 and steady to $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $290.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.17 higher Thursday afternoon at $304.20/cwt. Select was $1.24 higher at $294.18/cwt.

Corn futures closed mostly fractionally higher to 2¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 2¢ to 7¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 5¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday, buoyed by tech stocks and a friendly inflation reading. The Consumer Price Expenditures Index was in line with expectations, increasing 0.4% month to month, excluding food and energy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 47 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 26 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 144 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 28¢ to 40¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Creighton University’s overall Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) sank below growth neutral for the sixth consecutive month in February. The index is based on a survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.

Specifically, the February index declined month to month from 48.1 to 46.2. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Higher interest rates, weaker agriculture commodity prices and a credit squeeze are having a significant and negative impact on Rural Mainstreet businesses and on Rural Mainstreet farmers,” says Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Almost three-fourths of bank CEOs named low farm commodity prices as the biggest risk for farms in 2024.

“Commodity prices that are $1.50 to $2.00 per bushel (corn) less than break-even are obviously not sustainable,” says Jeff Bonnett, CEO of Havana National Bank in Havana, Ill.

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

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 29, 2024

First today, a special prayer for all of those being affected by wildfires in the Texas Panhandle and in Oklahoma. So far, one of five active fires has burned more than 850,000 acres, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture. On Tuesday, the Texas governor issued a disaster declaration in 60 counties. If you’re wondering how to help, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association always does an amazing job tracking needs and opportunities.

Now, for your market update…

Cattle futures softened Wednesday with pressure including likely profit taking and month-end positioning.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.13 lower (80¢ to $1.60 lower).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.80 lower ($2.12 to $3.85 lower).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light demand in the Southern Plains, through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. FOB live prices were steady in the Texas Panhandle at $183/cwt. and steady to $1 higher in Kansas at $183.

Elsewhere, trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill with too few transactions to trend.

Last week, FOB live prices were $183 in Nebraska and $182-$183 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292 in Nebraska and $290-$292 in the western Corn Belt.

Slower beef packer production continued to support wholesale beef values. Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.29 higher Wednesday afternoon at $303.03/cwt. Select was $2.54 higher at $292.94/cwt.

Turning to row crops, Corn and Soybean futures received some support from chatter about bearish weather in South America.

Corn futures closed 1¢ to 5¢ higher, with most of the support in the front contracts.

Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 4¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 4¢ to 6¢ lower, except for 2¢ higher in spot Mar.

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Major U.S. financial indices edged lower Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 23 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 8 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 87 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 33¢ to 43¢ lower through the front six contracts.

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Global beef demand is likely to remain steady this year despite economic challenges and consumer shifts toward lower-priced proteins, according to the recent Rabobank Global Beef Quarterly.

“While there was some channel shifting and movement to lower-priced options for beef, overall demand held up relatively well in 2023, supporting consumption levels,” says Angus Gidley-Baird, Rabobank senior analyst, animal protein.

Across most markets, beef retail prices have risen since 2019, and the impact of inflation in 2022 and 2023 added to the cost of living, pressuring consumers’ budgets and changing spending patterns, according to the report. With consumers trending toward cheaper options in 2023, foodservice and retail companies began promoting value-based propositions more frequently, some of which outperformed.

Still, Rabobank expects GDP growth rates to slow and unemployment rates to rise in many countries this year. Rising unemployment suggests that upward pressure on wages should ease, and if inflation remains high, real wages should decline, putting more pressure on household income. Rabobank forecasts 2024 GDP growth in the U.S. at less than 1%.

“With limited or negative real wage growth expected in 2024, coupled with the higher cost environment, we believe global beef consumption will at best remain steady and possibly decline through 2024, with some notable regional variations,” according to Gidley-Baird.

On the other side of the scale, Rabobank maintains a neutral outlook for global beef production, with increases in Australia and Brazil offsetting declines in Europe and the US.

Trade flows are also shifting. For instance, according to the report,

due to its reasonable economic outlook and lower domestic supplies, the U.S. is likely to lead the beef price-setting market and to draw increased volumes from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico, according to the report.

“Value will become the predominant theme across most markets in order to retain consumers faced with balancing the tighter economic conditions,” Gidley-Baird says.

 

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

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 28, 2024

Cattle futures basically paddled in place Tuesday, awaiting the week’s cash direction.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower.

Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, from an average of 14¢ lower in three contracts to an average of 16¢ higher.

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

Last week, FOB live prices were $183 in the Texas Panhandle, $182-$183 in Kansas, $183 in Nebraska and $182-$184 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed delivered prices were $292 in Nebraska and $290-$292  in the western Corn Belt.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 5¢ lower Tuesday afternoon at $301.74/cwt. Select was $2.41 higher at $290.40/cwt.

Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 3¢ higher.

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

Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ higher through near Aug and then mostly unchanged to fractionally lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 96 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 8 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 59 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 81¢ to $1.29 higher through the front six contracts.

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Beef in cold storage continues to decline, according to USDA’s most recent Cold Storage report.

Total pounds of beef in freezers Jan. 31 were 1% less than the previous month and 11% less than the same time a year earlier.

Frozen pork supplies were up 10% from the prior month but down 10% from the previous year.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were 4% more than the previous month but 11% less than last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were 1% more than the previous month but 4% less than a year earlier. Chicken supplies were down and turkey supplies were up.

By | February 27th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 27, 2024

Overall, futures traders seemed to look past the bearish placement number in Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report, seeming instead to focus on strong fundamentals, including last week’s higher cash fed cattle trade. However, the bounce higher in Corn futures helped dampen Feeder Cattle futures.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 26¢ higher, except for unchanged in the back contract.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.07 lower, (50¢ to $1.52 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 $3 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $183/cwt., $2-$3 higher in Kansas at $182-$183, $2 higher in Nebraska at $183 and $2-$4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $182-$184. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $5 higher at $292 and $5-$7 higher in the western Corn Belt at $290-$292.

The five-area direct weighted average FOB live steer price last week was $2.60 higher at $182.95/cwt. The average dressed delivered steer price was $5 higher at $291.61.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.18 higher Monday afternoon at $301.79/cwt. Select was $1.68 higher at $287.99/cwt.

Grain futures bounced back Monday, still trying to carve a bottom.

Corn futures closed 6¢ to 8¢ higher through Jly ’25 and then 1¢ to 3¢ higher.

KC HRW Wheat futures closed 7¢ to 15¢ higher through Mar ’25 and then mostly 4¢ higher.

Soybean futures closed 1¢ to 3¢ higher through near Aug and then mostly fractionally lower to 2¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices ended little changed but to the downside on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 63 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 19 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 20 points.

West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 80¢ to $1.09 higher through the front six contracts.

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Beef demand was down slightly year over year in 2023, according to the demand index calculated by the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). Even so, in the latest Livestock Monitor, analysts say retail beef demand the last four years was the highest since 2000. Demand last year was still above index levels for 2000-19.

LMIC’s meat demand index is based on the Consumer Price Index level of 2000.

On the other side of the fence, LMIC analysts say retail pork demand had been gaining ground for several years after seeing a low point around 2012. However, it also faltered a touch last year.

By | February 26th, 2024|Daily Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Daily—Feb. 26, 2024

Cattle futures renewed gains Friday, supported by stronger cash fed cattle prices and perhaps positioning ahead of the Cattle on Feed report (see below).

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.31 higher ($1.00 higher at the back to $2.10 higher in spot Feb). They were an average of $1.19 higher week to week on Friday.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.16 higher, ($1.07 higher at the back to $3.07 higher toward the front. They were an average of $3.74 higher week to week.

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

For the week, FOB live prices were $3 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $183/cwt., $2-$3 higher in Kansas at $182-$183, $2 higher in Nebraska at $183 and $4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $184. Dressed delivered prices in Nebraska were $5 higher at $292. Dressed prices in the western Corn Belt the previous week were $285.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 82¢ higher Friday afternoon at $300.61/cwt. Select was 50¢ higher at $286.31/cwt. Week to week on Friday, Choice was $4.41 higher, while Select was 35¢ lower.

Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 593,000 head was 15,000 head fewer than the previous week and 21,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 4.8 million head was 272,000 head fewer (-5.4%) than the same week the previous year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 4 billion pounds was 177.4 million pounds less (-4.3%).

Grain and Soybean futures eroded further Friday with pressure including producer selling and anemic international demand.

Corn futures closed mostly 3¢ to 5¢ lower. They were an average of 12’4¢ lower through the front six contracts week to week.

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

Soybean futures closed 9¢ to 14¢ lower in the front three contracts and then mostly 2¢ to 4¢ lower.

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Major U.S. financial indices ended little changed on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 62 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 1 point higher. The NASDAQ was down 44 points.

CME WTI Crude Oil futures closed $1.45 to $2.12 lower through the front six contracts.

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Traders may view Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report as slightly bearish.

Although, 7.4% less than the previous year (-144,000 head), January feedlot placements (capacity of 1,000 head or more) were 4.4% more than the average of analyst estimates.

In terms of placement weights, 43% went on feed weighing 699 pounds or less, 47% weighing 700-899 pounds and 10% weighing 900 pounds or more.

Marketings in January of 1.8 million head were just 2,000 head fewer than the previous year and in line with estimates ahead of the report.

Cattle on feed Feb. 1 of 11.8 million head were 43,000 head more than the previous year, also in line with expectations.

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

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 pric