Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was light to moderate in the Southern Plains through Wednesday afternoon at $127/cwt. on a live basis, which was $1 lower than last week.
Although too few to trend, there were some live sales in Nebraska at $126-$127, which was $1.50-$2.00 lower than the previous week.
The deepest test at Tama, IA for Ch 2-4 steers was $128.56/cwt. on 132 head weighing an average of 1,420 lbs. That’s at the upper end of last week’s country trade for the region. At Sioux Falls Regional in South Dakota, though, Ch 2-4 steers brought $125.25 to $128.00.
There were 755 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange auction, and no takers. Two lots of Oklahoma heifers were passed out at $126.50/cwt.
Cattle futures firmed Wednesday, following early-week losses suggesting the top may be in for Live Cattle.
Live Cattle futures closed an average 27¢ higher across a wide range (2¢ to 87¢ higher).
Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed (27¢ lower to 25¢ higher).
Corn futures closed fractionally higher to 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were steady on Choice and lower on Select with light to moderate demand and light offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 2¢ higher Wednesday afternoon at $228.24/cwt. Select was $1.07 lower at $219.28.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Wednesday. Support included a heftier increase in durable goods orders than many expected.
New orders increased 0.4% in January, compared to December, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Excluding defense and aircraft, new orders were up 0.8%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 148 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 19 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 52 points.
The total number of feedlots declined by 19 to 28,160 last year, according to the Cattle on Feed report issued last Friday, while total one-time feedlot capacity declined by 100,000 head to 17.1 million head.
Year to year, there were 30 fewer feedlots with capacity of 1,000-3,999 head. Conversely, there were 10 more feedlots with capacity of 4,000-7,999 head and one more yard with capacity of 50,000 head or more; there are 74 feedlots in that category.
“Feedlots in that capacity range (+50,000 head) had 4.6 million head on feed on Jan. 1, or 32% of total inventory on feed,” says Matthew Diersen, Extension livestock economist at South Dakota State University, in the most recent issue of In the Cattle Markets. “Those feedlots also marketed 8.8 million head during 2018, or 34% of total marketings across all feedlots.”
The number of feedlots with less than 1,000 head capacity—26,000 feedlots—was the same year over year. The Jan. 1 inventory in those feedlots was 2.7 million head, or 19% of total inventory, according to Diersen. “Their marketings during 2018 were 3.3 million head, or 13% of total marketings,” he says.