Cattle futures softened Thursday with a sense of retrenching as market fundamentals improve.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.30 lower (80¢ lower to $2.72 lower in spot Oct).
Rising Corn futures prices continued to pressure Feeder Cattle futures, which closed an average of $1.50 lower (82¢ to $2.02 lower), except for 17¢ higher in expiring Oct.
Corn futures closed 5¢ higher through near Jul and then mostly 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mixed, 2¢ to 5¢ lower through Sep ’22 and then mostly 2¢ to 3¢ higher.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
So far this week, live prices are $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $126/cwt., $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $126-$127 and $2-$3 higher in Nebraska at $127. Dressed trade is $4 higher at $200.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.26 higher Thursday afternoon at $284.89/cwt. Select was 95¢ higher at $262.64.
The average dressed steer weight of 922 lbs. (week ending Oct. 16) was 1 lb. heavier than the previous week but 7 lbs. lighter than the same week last year, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight of 840 lbs. was 1 lb. heavier week to week but 10 lbs. lighter year over year.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday, bolstered by continued strong quarterly corporate earnings reports.
Initial weekly unemployment insurance claims were 281,000 the week ending Oct. 23, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was 10,000 fewer than the previous week, the fewest since March 14 last year and fewer than expected.
On the other hand, domestic economic growth was slower than expected in the third quarter.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.0% in the third quarter of 2021, following an increase of 6.7% in the second quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Slower consumer spending led the deceleration, as government assistance payments decreased. Also, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases resulted in new restrictions and delays in the reopening of establishments in some parts of the country.
The Down Jones Industrial Average closed 239 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 44 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 212 points.
Globally, companies invested more than $30 billion in sustainability initiatives in 2020, and publicly traded companies and banks are quickly moving to capitalize, according to Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, Ph.D., during the 16th annual Feeding Quality Forum in Fort Collins, Colo.
“These investments outperformed traditional stocks. There will be an influx of dollars that enters this sustainability space quickly, and it’s going to be top-down driven,” says Stackhouse-Lawson. But, consumers also believe they can influence change with their investment choices.
“Seventy-five percent of millennials believe that their investments can influence climate change, and 84% of them believe their investments can help lift people out of poverty,” Stackhouse-Lawson explains. “The Gen Z group is coming up now, and they care too.” She points out nearly all the major food processing companies are making net zero commitments to decrease their carbon emissions and footprint in the next couple of decades.
“What I want you guys to know is that when a company commits to net zero, it 100% includes their entire value chain all the way down to the kernel of corn,” she said. “And even the fertilizer that’s going to go on that kernel of corn.”
Although cattle producers have a long track record of producing more beef with fewer resources, Stackhouse-Lawson says there is room for improvement.
“You have probably heard the industry and scientists, me included, say that we have gotten better over time,” Stackhouse-Lawson explains. “And we have, but it depends on the lens in which you look through. We are efficient, but absolute emissions are still increasing.” Ranchers have a good story to tell, but she says it must be done carefully.
“The first thing I think is important to acknowledge when you talk about sustainability is that emotion and science are on equal footing,” Stackhouse-Lawson says. “If you put them in a head-to-head race, emotion wins in the sustainability space nearly every time.”