Negotiated cash fed cattle trade and demand were moderate in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon. Live prices were steady with last week at $110/cwt., according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were also a few live trades at $110 in Nebraska and a few at $106 in the western Corn Belt but too few to trend in either region. Last week, live prices were at $110 in Nebraska and at $108-$110 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were at $172.
Cattle feeders offered 930 head in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction—all from Texas. They sold 543 head for a weighted average price of $110.25 for delivery at both 1-9 days and 1-17 days. That price was steady with country trade in the region last week and so far this week.
Cattle futures closed lower Wednesday, pressured by higher grain prices and the steady rather than higher cash prices so far this week. Perhaps there was also some positioning ahead of Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 80¢ lower, from 42¢ to $1.15 lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.60 lower, from 35¢ lower in spot Nov to $2.42 lower.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.12 higher Wednesday afternoon at $235.84/cwt. Select was 34¢ lower at $213.62.
Corn futures closed 3¢ to 5¢ higher through Sep ’21 and then mostly 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ higher through Sep ‘22 and then mostly 3¢ higher.
U.S. financial indices closed lower Wednesday, pressured by the growing renewal of pandemic restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 344 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 41 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 97 points.
“With the higher grain prices and forage prices, we will see persistent pressure on feeder cattle and calf prices into 2021,” says Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University, in the latest issue of In the Cattle Markets. “One dollar higher corn costs translate into about $6-$7/cwt. lower feeder cattle prices. This cattle price impact is being exacerbated by dry conditions in the western U.S. and hay prices that are creeping higher. The impact on calf prices will be greater.”
Koontz points out Corn futures (2020-21 crop) are about $1 higher than in August and Soybean futures are about $2 higher, including deferred contracts. He adds that prices for both appear to be at a premium to what underlying fundamentals suggest.
“Stock-to-use ratios imply more reasonably mid-to-high-$3 corn and mid-to-high-$9 soybeans. That is unless the long-term demand picture is also changing. And there is some evidence that is the case,” Koontz says. “Corn export demand has been strong but that for soybeans is considerably more so. Consumption of corn is also picking up from ethanol production. The crop market fundamentals are looking more like they did in the years prior to the trade war. Soybean demand may pull considerable acres to that crop and buoy both soybean and corn prices.”
Along with export strength and iffy production in other parts of the world, some folks suggest speculation about a domestic drought next growing season is adding support.