Cattle futures finally found some traction on Friday, perhaps fueled by position squaring ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report, which turned out to be bullish.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.21 higher.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ higher, except for unchanged in the back contract.
Packers succeeded in holding cash fed cattle prices steady to mainly lower last week, while also ratcheting wholesale beef prices higher as they restrict production.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was slow on light to demand through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. There were some FOB live trades in the Texas Panhandle at $178/cwt. but too few to trend.
For the week, based on the latest established trends, FOB live prices were $1-$3 lower in the Southern Plains at $177-$179, 50¢ to $3 lower in Nebraska at $185-$187.50 and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at mainly $186. Last week, dressed delivered prices were $1 lower to $2 higher at $294-$297.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.97 higher Friday afternoon at $316.11/cwt. Select was $2.10 higher at $288.36/cwt.
Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 616,000 head was 13,000 head more than the previous week but 48,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date total estimated cattle slaughter of 20.6 million head was 876,000 head fewer (-4.1%) the the same time a year earlier. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 16.8 billion pounds was 876.8 million pounds less (-5.0%).
Hotter, drier weather helped lift grain futures again on Friday.
Corn futures closed mostly 2¢ to 6¢ higher.
KC HRW Wheat closed 14¢ to 20¢ higher through Sep ‘24 and then mostly 10¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 16¢ to 26¢ higher through Aug ‘24 and then mostly 7¢ to 12¢ higher.