Cash fed cattle trade continued Thursday with live sales in Nebraska $3-$4 lower than last week at $117/cwt. A day earlier, live trade in the Southern Plains was $3-$5 lower than last week at $115-$117.
Even so, oversold conditions helped Live Cattle futures close an average of $1.17 higher, except for 7¢ higher in the back contract
Despite early pressure and higher grain prices, firming Live Cattle helped Feeder Cattle futures close an average of $1.03 higher (7¢ to 60¢ higher), except for $1.70 lower in spot May.
Wholesale beef values were steady on moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 1¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $219.56/cwt. Select was 16¢ lower at $207.88.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 9¢ higher through Jul ’20, and then mostly 1¢ higher. That’s an average of 25¢ higher week to week through the front three contracts; an average of 21¢ higher through the front six.
Soybean futures closed 4¢ higher through May ’20 and then mostly 1¢ to 3¢ higher. That’s an average of 36¢ higher through the front six contracts since Monday.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher again Thursday, buoyed by banks and quarterly earnings from Walmart that beat expectations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 214 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 25 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 75 points.
“Based on recent price data and the number of fed cattle that will likely be available for marketing this year, the forecasts for second and third-quarter 2019 fed steers were lowered $3 and $2 to $121/cwt. and $113, respectively,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook released Thursday.
Both cattle numbers and carcass weights are increasing.
Average steer dressed weight was 3 lbs. heavier than a year earlier at 852 lbs. for the week ending May 4, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. Average dressed heifer weight was 9 lbs. heavier at 795 lbs. Fed steer and heifer slaughter of 541,532 head was 17,743 head more than the same week a year earlier. Total cattle slaughter of 672,540 head was 20,203 head more. Beef production of 535.9 million lbs. was 16.3 million lbs. more.
“Based on recent price data and expectations of feedlots being less likely to bid up the price, the second-quarter 2019 feeder steer price was lowered by $2 to $145/cwt.,” say ERS analysts. “The fourth-quarter 2019 price was raised $1 to $147 based on expected fall demand. As a result, this month’s annual price forecast for 2019 was $145.50, close to last month’s forecast.”
For year-to-year perspective, 2018 feeder steers pries were $143.05 in the second quarter, $150.46 in the third and $147.90 in the fourth.
USDA’s initial projections for 2020 estimate an annual average feeder steer price of $150/cwt.