Negotiated cash fed cattle prices looked more promising through Friday afternoon, but remained mainly steady to lower than the previous week, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
There were a few live trades in Nebraska at $106/cwt., but too few to trend. On Thursday, the market was established at $103, which was $2 less than the previous week. Dressed trade the prior week was at $162-$166.
In the western Corn Belt, live sales for the week were at $101-$103, which was steady to $4 lower than the previous week. Dressed prices the pervious week were at $162-$165.
Live trade in the Southern Plains was steady week to week at $106.
The average five-area direct steer price through Thursday was $104.16/cwt. on a live basis, which was 14¢ more than the previous week, but $7.75 less than the same week last year. The average dressed steer price of $159.70 was $4.27 less than the prior week and $17.89 less than the previous year.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 78¢ higher Friday afternoon at $208.10/cwt. Select was 1¢ higher at $191.24.
Total estimated cattle slaughter for the week of 638,000 head was 5,000 head fewer than the previous week and 21,000 head fewer (-3.2%) than the same time last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 26.7 million head is 1.1 million head fewer (-3.8%) than a year earlier. Beef production of 537.3 million lbs. for the week was 4.1 million lbs. less than the previous week and 4.7 million lbs. less than a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 22.2 billion pounds is 256.7 million lbs. less (-1.1%) than a year earlier.
Cattle futures continued higher Friday, especially Feeder Cattle with support from seasonal expectations for higher cash fed cattle prices and wholesale beef values.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 32¢ higher, from 2¢ higher to 70¢ higher, except for 30¢ lower in expiring spot Oct.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.08 higher, from $1.67 higher to $2.77 higher.
Corn futures closed unchanged to 3¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 5¢ to 8¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower Friday, ending a volatile and bearish week. Pressure on the day included record high domestic coronavirus cases for the week, renewed pandemic restrictions in Europe and positioning ahead of next week’s elections.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 157 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 40 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 274 points.
Even before the pandemic, the 49 rural U.S. counties dependent on meatpacking faced a comparatively high prevalence of poverty, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).
“Just over 500,000 people work in the meatpacking industry in the United States. Many plants are in cities such as Sioux Falls, SD, where meatpacking is just one of many major employers. However, several other plants are in much smaller municipalities such as Dakota City, NE, and Worthington, MN, where meatpacking is the primary employer in the county,” according to ERS analysts, in The Meatpacking Industry in Rural America During the COVID-19 Pandemic. “There are 56 counties in the United States—49 in rural (non-metro) counties and seven in urban (metro) counties—where meatpacking is estimated to account for more than 20% of all county employment. While these counties make up 2.5% of all rural counties and 0.6% of urban counties, they represent 19.0% and 2.9%, respectively, of all meatpacking employment in the United States.”
By ERS definition, high-poverty counties have poverty rates of 20% or higher, using the 2014–18 five-year estimates of the American Community Survey. By that measure, 34.7% of meatpacking-dependent counties were defined as high-poverty counties, compared with 26.2% in all other rural counties.
Then came COVID-19.
Starting in the middle of April, the two-week moving average of new coronavirus cases in meatpacking-dependent counties were significantly higher than in other rural counties, according to ERS.
“Meatpacking-dependent counties are currently maintaining around 1.25 times the two-week moving average number of new daily cases per 100,000 compared to other rural counties for a third straight month,” explain ERS analysts.