Cattle futures found some stability following the previous session’s massive selloff but still eased mostly lower as early support faded.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 52¢ lower, except for $1.80 higher in spot Oct and an average of 49¢ higher in the back two contracts.
Live Cattle futures closed mixed, from an average of 29¢ lower in four contracts to an average of 51¢ higher (12¢ to $1.75 higher).
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from slow on light demand to a standstill through Tuesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Established FOB live prices in the western Corn Belt are $183-$185/cwt., which is $2-$3 lower than last week.
Last week, FOB live prices were $184-$185/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $186-$187 in Nebraska. Dressed delivered prices were $294.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.44 higher Tuesday afternoon at 305.98/cwt. Select was $2.98 higher at $284.00/cwt.
Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 6¢ lower with harvest pressure.
Soybean futures closed 5¢ to 9¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then 1¢ to 3¢ higher.
KC HRW Wheat closed 7¢ to 9¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Tuesday, helped along by stronger quarterly earnings than expected from the likes of Coca-Cola and Spotify.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 204 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 30 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 120 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 97¢ to $1.75 lower through the front six contracts.
Along with the continued high percentage of heifers on feed, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University notes the continued pace of beef cow slaughter.
“Monthly slaughter data through September shows that total female (cow + heifer) slaughter has averaged 51.8% of total cattle slaughter for the past twelve months,” Peel explains, in his weekly market comments. “This is the highest 12-month average female slaughter percentage since August 1986 … Year-to-date beef cow slaughter is down 12.9% from last year but will still result in a net culling rate over 11.5%, indicating continued liquidation. The beef cow herd will be smaller in January 2024, and it increasingly looks like the best that could happen in 2024 is to stabilize the herd with significant growth delayed until 2025 or beyond.”
In sum, Peel explains smaller beef cow inventories are ahead, along with more dramatic reductions in cattle slaughter and beef production – and higher cattle prices – when herd rebuilding takes flight.
“This process looks to continue into 2026 at least,” Peel says. “The latest Cattle on Feed report may be taken as bearish for cattle markets in the short term, but it is certainly bullish for cattle markets in the coming years.”