Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was limited on light to moderate demand in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt through Wednesday afternoon. Although too few transactions to trend, there were some early live sales in both regions at $107/cwt. and some in the beef at $167. That’s $2 higher than prices in the regions last week.
Similarly, slaughter steers and heifers sold $2-$3 higher at the fat auction in Sioux Falls, SD, where 245 head of Choice 2-3 steers weighing an average of 1,479 lbs. brought an average price of $104.60.
Cattle feeders offered 901 head in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction on Wednesday. Of those, 358 sold for delivery at 1-17 days for a weighted average price of $106/cwt., which was $1 higher than last week’s country trade.
However, Cattle futures closed lower, especially Feeder Cattle, in the wake of USDA’s quarterly Grain Stocks report.
Old crop corn stocks in all positions on Sept. 1 totaled 2.00 billion bu., according to the report. That’s 10% less than the same time last year and significantly lower than the trade expected.
Corn futures closed 10¢ to 14¢ higher through Sep ’21 and then mostly 7 to 8¢ higher.
Similarly, old crop soybeans stored in all positions were 42% less than a year earlier at 523 million bu., significantly less than the trade expected.
Soybean futures closed 21¢ to 30¢ higher through Sep ’21 and then mostly 11¢ to 19¢ higher.
All wheat stored in all positions of 2.16 billion bu., was 8% less than a year earlier, also less than expected.
Hard Red Kansas City Winter Wheat futures closed 26¢ to 33¢ higher through May ’22.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 33¢ lower, except for an average of 21¢ higher in the back three contracts.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.33 lower, giving back most of what was gained in the previous session.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 58¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $217.74/cwt. Select was 55¢ higher at $207.54.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday with hopes that lawmakers can reach agreement on another round of economic stimulus, as well as more promising news regarding candidate COVID-19 vaccines and treatments
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 329 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 27 points higher. The NASDAQ closed 82 points higher.
John R. Tunheim, Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court in Minnesota ordered dismissal of the consolidated antitrust lawsuit brought against the nation’s four largest beef packers in 2019.
The suit alleged conspiracy to fix and suppress fed cattle prices between 2005 and 2019 by means including, according to the order: 1) periodically restraining or reducing slaughter numbers to reduce demand for fed cattle; 2) curtailing purchases of cash cattle during these periods; 3) coordinating procurement practices with respect to the cash cattle they did purchase; 4) importing foreign cattle to depress demand for cheaper domestic cattle; and 5) closing or idling slaughter plants while refraining from expanding their remaining slaughtering capacity.
Plaintiffs included R-CALF and the Farmers Union, as well as individuals, businesses and consumers.
Bottom line, according to the order, “Because Plaintiffs have not pleaded their direct evidence with sufficient detail and because they have not pleaded parallel conduct sufficient to support an inference of a price-fixing conspiracy, the Court will grant Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss. The Court will also grant Plaintiffs leave to amend their Complaints.”