Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on very light demand in all major cattle feeding regions through Friday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Last week, live prices were generally $2 lower in the Southern Plains at $108/cwt., and $4-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at $104-$105. Dressed trade was $4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $168. The previous week, prices in Nebraska were at $110 on a live basis and at $172-$174 in the beef.
Through Thursday, the weighted average five-area direct fed steer price was $106.86/cwt., which was $2.91 less than the previous week and $11.95 less than the previous year. The average steer price in the beef was $167.80, which was $4.49 less than the previous week and $20.31 less than the same time last year.
Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 665,000 head was 2,000 head less than the previous week and 11,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Total estimated year-to-date cattle slaughter of 30.63 million head is 1.07 million less (-3.38%) than a year earlier.
Estimated beef production last week of 559 million lbs. was 800,000 less than the previous week. Estimated year-to-date beef production of 25.46 billion lbs. was 227 million lbs. less (-0.88 %) than the same time last year.
Choice was 71¢ lower at $213.88/cwt. Select was $2.76 lower at $195.71.
Cattle futures closed higher Friday, extending gains from the previous session as open interest creeps higher, perhaps emboldened by an apparent top in year-over year carcass weights and demand promise with FDA issuing emergency use authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine (see below).
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 95¢ higher, from 42¢ to $1.40 higher.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.01 higher, from 45¢ higher toward the back to $2.12 higher in spot Jan.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed mostly 5¢ to 7¢ higher.