Negotiated cash fed cattle trade got underway in the Southern Plains Wednesday, with early live sales $3-$5 lower than last week at $115-$117/cwt.
Similarly, slaughter steers and heifers sold $2-$4 lower at Sioux Falls Regional in South Dakota: $117.95/cwt. for Ch 2-3 steers.
Of the 376 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle exchange Auction, 280 head sold for a weighted average price of $117/cwt. for delivery at 1-9 days.
Stronger Lean Hog futures helped lift Live Cattle futures Wednesday, while Feeder Cattle futures continued to be pressured by higher grain prices.
Except for 2¢ lower in the back contract, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 19¢ higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ lower (7¢ to 60¢ lower).
Wholesale beef values were weak to lower on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 55¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $219.57/cwt. Select was 93¢ lower at $208.04.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ higher through Jul ’20, and then mostly 2¢ to 3¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 4¢ higher through Mar ’20 and then mostly fractionally mixed.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday, on reports that President Trump will delay imposing higher tariffs on Chinese auto imports. Until that chatter began, markets were pressured by weaker economic data, which included a 0.2% decline in April U.S. retail sales, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 115 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 16 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 87 points.
“High prices rationed hay disappearance between Dec. 1 to May 1 to the lowest level since 2013-14 at 64 million tons. However, that still was not enough to prevent a year-over-year drop in the year-ending hay inventory,” say analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), in the most recent Livestock Monitor.
There were 14.91 million tons of hay on farms May 1, according to the most recent USDA Crop Production report. That was 442,000 fewer (-2.88%) than a year earlier, the second lowest inventory on record, according to LMIC.
There were 79.06 million tons of hay on farms Dec. 1 last winter, which was 5.37 million fewer tons (-6.36%) than the year before.
“Several states are experiencing the cumulative effects of two consecutive years of tighter inventories, with a handful reaching the lowest levels in the past decade,” LMIC analysts say. “Using the 10-year yield average of 2.4 tons per acre, the total U.S. supply this marketing year (May 2019 – April 2020) is expected to increase 3% to 4%. All hay prices, even with that increase, are still expected to be above a year ago.”
All told, year-to-year hay stocks May 1 declined by more than 25% in 17 states.
“Texas and Oklahoma inventories are down more than 50% from two years ago,” explain LMIC analysts. “Surrounding states such as Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri are also in tight inventory situations. Hay stocks are down more than 50% from 2017 in those states as well.”
LMIC is currently forecasting other hay national prices to be 5% higher this marketing year.