Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
For the week so far live prices are $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $106/cwt.; $3-$4 lower in Nebraska at $104-$105 and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $103-$105. Dressed prices are $4-$7 lower in Nebraska at $162-$165 and $3-$4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $163-$165.
Total cattle slaughter the week ending Oct. 10 was 637,073 head, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was 26,074 head fewer (-4.02%) than the previous week and 11,205 head fewer (-1.73%) than the previous year. Total fed cattle slaughter of 502,345 head was 22,199 head fewer than the prior week (-4.23%) and 7,117 head fewer (-1.40%)than the same week last year.
The average dressed steer weight for that week of 928 lbs. was 4 lbs. more than the previous week and 27 lbs. more than the prior year. The average dressed heifer weight of 846 lbs. was 3 lbs. more than the previous week and 18 lbs. more than a year earlier.
Cattle futures continued to erode amid light trade on Thursday as grain prices hold their ground and cash fed cattle prices soften. As well, there was likely skittishness over the monthly Cattle on Feed report due to be published Friday afternoon.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 70¢ lower, 30¢ to $1.30 lower
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 82¢ lower, from 57¢ lower in spot Oct to $1.05 lower.
On a positive note, wholesale beef values edged higher. Choice boxed beef up 39¢ at 208.86. Select up 17¢ at 191.08.
As well, U.S. net 2020 beef export sales of 21,700 metric tons (mt) for the week ending Oct. 15 were 62% more than the previous week and 13% more than the prior four-week average, according to the weekly U.S. Export Sales report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Increases were primarily for South Korea, China, Japan, Mexico, and Hong Kong.
Corn futures closed 1¢ to 2¢ higher through Sep ’21 and then fractionally lower to 3¢ lower.
Net export sales of 2020-21 corn for the week ending Oct. 15 was 1.83 million metric tons, up noticeably from the previous week and 21% more than the prior four-week average.
Soybean futures closed mostly unchanged to fractionally mixed.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher on Thursday, supported by increased optimism surrounding economic stimulus talks and FDA approval of a drug for treating coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 152 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 17 points higher and the NASDAQ was up 21 points.
The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) rose for the sixth consecutive month in October to its highest level since January, before the onset of the pandemic. The RMI is based on a monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.
The overall index for October climbed above growth neutral (50.0) to 53.2 from 46.9 in September. The farmland price index advanced above growth neutral to 50.6 in October; only the third time in the last 82 months.
“Recent improvements in agriculture commodity prices, federal farm support, and the Federal Reserve’s record low interest rates have underpinned the Rural Mainstreet Economy. Still, 35.5%, of bank CEOs reported their local economies were experiencing recessionary economic conditions,” says Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.
Bankers were asked in the latest survey to identify the industry in their area most harmed by the pandemic. More than eight of 10 (80.6%) named restaurants/bars as experiencing the greatest negative impacts. Others areas identified by bankers as economically impacted were: farmers (3%), medical care (3.4%), retailers (6.3%) and hourly workers (6.7%).
“Our worst problem right now is that so much anti-COVID-19 vaccine information has been spread for political reasons that about half the people I talk to say they won’t take the vaccine when it is available. That will hurt our hopes for an economic recovery looking forward,” says Lonnie Clark, president of the State Bank of Chandler, in Chandler, MN.
“It will take many months of above growth neutral readings to get back to pre-COVID-19 employment levels for the region,” Goss says.