Negotiated cash fed cattle trade on Friday ranged from a standstill to mostly inactive on light demand, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
For the week, prices were $1 lower on a live basis in the Southern Plains at $108/cwt.; steady to $1 lower in Nebraska at $107-$108/cwt.; steady to $3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $105-$107. Dressed prices were $1 lower in Nebraska at $169 and $1-$3 lower in the western Corn Belt at $167-$168.
The five-area direct weighted average steer price through Thursday was $107.61/cwt., which was 2¢ more than the previous week, but $3.35 less than the same week last year. The average steer price in the beef of $168.40 was 89¢ less than the prior week and $8.86 less than the same time last year.
Cattle futures took another step lower on Friday, pressured by lower cash prices, weaker wholesale beef values and increasing demand uncertainty.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 93¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.25 lower (82¢ lower at the front to $2.77 lower).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 45¢ lower Friday afternoon at $210.03/cwt. Select was $2.98 lower at $193.52.
Corn futures closed mixed, from 1¢ lower to 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 6¢ to 12¢ lower through May ’21 and then mostly 1¢ to 5¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed mixed Friday. Pressure included resurgent COVID cases. Support included stronger retail sales than expected in September.
U.S. retail sales were up 1.9% more than the previous month and 8.2% more year over year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales by non-store retailers were up 23.8% year over year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 112 points higher. The S&P 500 closed fractionally higher. The NASDAQ was up 42 points.
A recent Cargill study found consumer recognition of the challenges and expectations farmers face grew amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as processing and transportation bottlenecks, especially in the protein industry, stretched the global food supply.
More specifically, the latest Feed4Thought survey conducted by Cargill found nearly one-third of consumers in the U.S., Brazil, Vietnam and Norway have a renewed appreciation for animal agriculture.
“Farmers and ranchers have faced tremendous pressures caused by COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. And those pressures came on top of the multitude of challenges farmers already faced as they worked to feed the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” says David Webster, president of Cargill Animal Nutrition & Health. “When consumers experienced bare shelves at grocery stores, they were reminded of the critical role livestock and aquaculture farmers play in global food security.”
In the study, 71% of consumers express concern about the pandemic’s disruption of the food system; two in three consumers acknowledge increased pressure on animal farmers to supply safe, affordable protein since COVID-19’s onset.
These new challenges have not, however, deterred consumers’ faith in farmers: an overwhelming majority of consumers (84%) indicated they were generally confident in farmers to meet demand and feed growing populations. More than half of consumers indicate they feel positively toward/appreciative of farmers, with one-third saying that their perceptions have improved as compared to pre-pandemic. This high confidence and increased appreciation toward farmers suggest that COVID-19 may be acting as a catalyst in strengthening the relationship between consumers and farmers.