Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to moderate demand in the Southern Plains and Nebraska through Wednesday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Live trade in the Southern Plains was $1 lower at $108/cwt. Dressed trades were $1 lower in Nebraska at $169. Elsewhere, trade was limited on light demand.
Cattle feeders offered 774 head in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction. Of those, 671 head (four lots) from the Southern Plains sold: 304 head for a weighted average price of $108/cwt. for delivery at 1-9 days; 367 head at $108.25 for delivery at 1-17 days. That was $1 lower than country trade in the region last week.
Similarly, Choice steers and heifers sold 50¢ to $1.00 lower at the fat auction in Tama, IA. There were 171 head of Choice 2-4 steers weighing an average of 1,423 lbs. selling for an average price of $107.40. That was a touch softer than the top of last week’s negotiated range.
Slaughter steers and heifers sold mainly $2-$3 lower at Sioux Falls Regional in South Dakota. There were 330 head of Choice 2-3 steers weighing an average of 1,472 lbs. bringing an average price of $104.71/cwt.
Cattle futures tottered back lower on Wednesday with pressure including the softer cash price outlook and stagnant wholesale beef values.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 47¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 43¢ lower (2¢ to 90¢ lower), except for 25¢ higher in spot Oct.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.30 lower Wednesday afternoon at $211.14/cwt. Select was 81¢ lower at $199.27.
Exports to China continue adding heft to grain markets. Yesterday, for instance, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported sales of another 420,000 metric tons of corn and 264,000 metric tons of soybeans to China for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year that began Sept. 1.
Corn futures closed 2¢ to 5¢ higher through the front three contracts and then mostly 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 3¢ to 12¢ higher through Aug ’21 and then mostly fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower again Wednesday, pressured by the lack of a deal for another round of COVID economic stimulus and despite positive corporate quarterly earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 165 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 23 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 95 points.
Nationwide, other hay prices increased more than those for alfalfa in July and August, climbing $9 to $137 per ton, compared to $128 in June. Other hay price is 6% above a year ago, while the national alfalfa hay price in August was 4% less than a year earlier at $172 per ton, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC).
“Typically, alfalfa prices are higher than other hay prices, however, the reverse of that trend has been evident in certain states,” say LMIC analysts, in the latest Livestock Monitor. “Colorado other hay prices are over $200 per ton this year and in the last two months went for $5 per ton more than alfalfa in the state. Arizona other hay prices outpaced alfalfa by $15 per ton in July and in August. Montana and Nevada each reported $10 premiums for other hay, and Washington $20. Washington is one of the few states that regularly has other hay commanding a higher value than alfalfa.”
Besides demand from the horse industry, the folks at LMIC explain high quality grasses produced in the Northwest, such as timothy and orchard grass, are in demand internationally.
“As large exporters of grasses to the rest of the world, the export market can have incredible influence on those values,” say LMIC analysts. “According to USDA FAS, other hay exports year to date are up 2%, with China nearly doubling its purchases from last year. Japan, the largest destination for U.S. other hay is up 7%.”