Negotiated cash fed cattle prices were $1-$2 lower than last week in Nebraska on a live basis Wednesday at $101/cwt., according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Dressed sales were $2-$3 lower at $160-$161. Although too few to trend, there were a few live sales in Kansas at $101 and a few dressed sales in the western Corn Belt at $160-$161.
At Sioux Falls Regional in South Dakota, though, slaughter steers and heifers sold steady to $1 higher. There were 200 head of Choice 2-3 steers weighing an average of 1,468 lbs. that brought an average of $102.02/cwt.
The weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction was postponed Wednesday, due to technical difficulties.
With packer inventory apparently abundant and wholesale beef values continuing to erode, lower cash prices pressured Cattle futures Wednesday, amid active trade.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 63¢ lower (35¢ lower to $1.07 lower in spot Oct).
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.39 lower (55¢ lower in spot Sep to $2.00 lower).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.87 lower Wednesday afternoon at $222.95/cwt. Select was 95¢ lower at $207.51.
Corn futures closed fractionally lower to 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ higher through Aug ’21 and then mostly 1¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices rebounded Wednesday, led by the big tech stocks that applied pressure in the previous session.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME pared losses from the previous session, up $1.07 to $1.29 through the front six contracts.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 439 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 67 points higher. The NASDAQ closed 293 points higher.
“Bunched-up yearlings that have been on summer grazing programs and forced off grass due to drought, especially in the Western regions of the U.S., have dampened feeder cattle prices (e.g., 700-to 800-pound steers). That may spill back into the calf market (e.g., 500-to 600-pound steers),” say analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), in the most recent Livestock Monitor.
From January through August, steer calf prices (500-600 lbs., Southern Plains) averaged $159.41/cwt., according to LMIC. Prices reached their highest level since before the pandemic in August at an average $161.78.
“Weather conditions may continue to play a significant role in how calves are priced in the coming months,” say LMIC analysts. “For example, in the Southern Plains, small grain (e.g., wheat) pasture prospects used for grazing recently received some beneficial rain, and there is some optimism about grazing availability. However, it is still early in the planting season for those crops/pastures. That forage will not be available for cattle to graze until October, and in some situations until even later in the year. Steer calf prices in the Southern Plains may falter slightly in September and finish the quarter between $157-158.”
LMIC expects steer calf prices in the fourth quarter to remain a little below $160. The average price in the fourth quarter last year was $158.18, when markets were still dealing with the fallout from the Tyson plant fire.
Further ahead, the LMIC folks say smaller calf crops the last couple of years should provide price support. Plus, they point out lower year-over-year corn prices that helped underpin calf prices through most of the summer should remain lower well into next year.