Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained undeveloped through Wednesday afternoon.
There were 358 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction: no sales but one P.O. at $111/cwt.
Cattle futures closed lower Wednesday on apparent technical correction, profit taking and an overall lack of interest, but remained narrowly mixed week to week.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 78¢ lower (47¢ to $1.07 lower).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 94¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values were weak to lower on light demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 47¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $204.42/cwt. Select was $1.68 lower at $192.30.
Major U.S. financial indices edged higher Wednesday, capped in part by increasing interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 54 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 5 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 25 points.
Although Quality Grade Choice and Prime beef continues at the sustained higher level of recent years, David Anderson, Extension livestock economist at Texas A&M University points out the recent, relative decline is adding support to Choice prices.
“Choice beef production over the last four weeks is about 3.2% below a year ago. The effect of fewer carcasses grading Choice is compounded by fewer steers and relatively more heifers in the slaughter mix,” Anderson says, in the most recent issue of In the Cattle Markets. “Fed steer weights are about the same as a year ago while heifers are reflecting heavier weights. This lack of Choice beef is showing up in prices with the Choice cutout at about $204/cwt. compared to about $192 a year ago.”
For broader perspective on beef quality trends over time, Anderson explains that of the carcasses graded in September of 1997, 2% were Prime, 51% were Choice and 37% were Select. In September this year, nearly 8% were Prime, 70% Choice and 18% Select.
“Federally inspected beef production over the last month is up 1.1% over the same period last year. During the same period fed steer slaughter is down almost 2%, while heifer and cow slaughter are 4.4% and 7% higher than a year ago, respectively,” Anderson says. “So, all the increase in beef production in recent weeks is coming from heifers and cull cows. It’s worth a reminder that cull cow beef goes to a different (but related) market than beef from fed steers and heifers. Cull cow beef most often goes to ground beef.”