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.
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.
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.”