Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in the Southern Plains through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Elsewhere, trade was mostly inactive on light demand.
Live prices last week were 50¢ to $1.50 higher in the Texas Panhandle at $119.00-$119.50/cwt., steady to $1 higher in Kansas at $119-$120, $2 higher in Nebraska at $120, and $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $118-$120. Live prices in Colorado two weeks ago were at $119-$120.
Dressed prices were $1-$4 higher in Nebraska last week at $191. Prices were at $187-$190 in the western Corn Belt the prior week.
Through Thursday, the five-area direct average steer price was $1.35 higher than the previous week at $119.70/cwt., on a live basis. The average five-area direct dressed steer price was $2.01 higher at $190.48.
Feeder Cattle futures mostly gained back on Friday what was lost in the previous session, helped by continued pressure on grain markets.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 52¢ higher, except for an average of 30¢ lower in the back two contracts.
Live Cattle futures mostly extended losses, amid stagnant cash trade and softer Lean Hog futures.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ lower, except for an average of 12¢ higher in the back three contracts.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 16¢ higher Friday afternoon at $316.94/cwt. Select was $2.72 lower at $293.19.
Estimated total cattle slaughter for the week was 2,000 head more than the prior week at 640,000 head. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 12.2 million head is 658,000 more than the pandemic-ravaged harvest the same week last year. Estimated beef production for the week of 527.6 million lbs. was 300,000 lbs. more than the previous week. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 10.2 billion lbs. is 660.8 million lbs. more than the same time last year.
Forecast rain in Brazil and the U.S. Corn Belt, reopening barge traffic on the Mississippi River and chatter about private analysts projecting significantly more corn acres all added pressure to Corn futures Friday.
Corn futures closed mostly 13¢ to 15¢ lower, after 20¢ to 34¢ lower in the front three contracts.
Soybean futures closed mostly 2¢ to 6¢ higher, except for 8¢ lower in spot May.
Major U.S. financial indices continued higher Friday, following the steep selloff earlier in the week. That was despite ongoing inflation worries and flat national retail sales.
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April were $619.9 billion, virtually unchanged from the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 369 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 61 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 304 points.
Tight corn supplies, coupled with strong international demand, pushed corn prices to their highest level in more than a decade. In turn, higher corn prices are altering the price prospects of other products.
“The key for folks to understand is that corn prices roll through everything else,” said David Anderson, Extension livestock economist at Texas A&M University (TAMU). “High grain prices mean meat will eventually cost more because input costs are up. And corn overlaps with other important crops like wheat and soybeans because prices influence what is planted on the available crop acres.” He explained the ripple effect in a consumer-focused interview last week.
In the same interview, Mark Welch, TAMU Extension grain economist, said the corn market is highly speculative currently, due to current supply and demand, coupled with uncertainty about domestic and foreign production this growing season.
Besides higher corn prices currently trying to buy more acres, Welch pointed out U.S. corn planting started early than usual this season, which typically means planted acres will be more than projected in USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report.
“If we see more acres planted, the weather improves in South America and domestic corn-producing states, then we could see things settle down. If corn stocks get lower, there are problems with corn crops and things get tighter, then we could see all-time high record corn prices,” Welch said.