Negotiated cash fed cattle prices continued to look stronger through Friday afternoon, based on USDA reports. Although too few to trend, there were a few live trades reported at $102/cwt. in Kansas and Nebraska, which was $1-$2 higher than the previous week. Overall, live trade in in the Southern Plains was $1 higher at $101 and steady to $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $100-$104. Dressed trade was $2-$7 higher in Nebraska at mostly $162; steady to $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $160-$165.
Cattle futures closed a touch softer in sluggish trade on Friday with apparent positioning ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below) and ahead of the weekend.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 37¢ lower.
Except for an average of 32¢ higher in the front two contracts, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 44¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values were lower on Choice and weak on Select with light to moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.20 lower Friday afternoon at $216.97 cwt. Select was 44¢ lower at $191.72.
Corn futures closed mainly 2¢ to 3¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed mostly 6¢ to 9¢ lower.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower on Friday. Apparently, the primary pressure was circulation of a report that Chinese officials cut short or cancelled their planned visit to a U.S. farm, which investors viewed in a bearish light.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 159 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 14 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 65 points.
As many suspected, there were fewer cattle placed on feed in August, year over year and fewer total cattle on feed Sept. 1. If anything, though, Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report was more bullish than anticipated.
Placements in August for feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity was 1.88 million head, which was 186,000 head fewer, or 8.99% less than the previous year. Most analyst estimates ahead of the report were for a decline of 6-8%.
In terms of placement weight, 36.35% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less, 45.85% weighing 799-899 lbs. and 17.78% weighing 900 lbs. or more.
Marketings in August of 1.95 million head were 1.51% less, compared to the 1.7% to 1.9% reduction analysts expected.
Cattle on feed Sept. 1 of 10.98 million head were 143,000 head fewer, or 1.29% less than a year earlier. Ahead of the report analysts anticipated a decline of about 0.50% to 1.0%.