Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was limited on light demand in Kansas, the Northern Plains and the western Corn Belt through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Although too few to trend, there were a few dressed trades in Nebraska at $177/cwt., which was $1-$2 higher than last week, when live prices were $112 in the Southern Plains and $110-$112 up north.
Firmer Cattle futures and higher outside markets are helping foster optimism for higher cash prices.
The five-area weighted average steer price in December was $109.05/cwt., on a live basis (FOB), which was 20¢ higher than the previous month but $10.95 less than the previous year, according to USDA. The average steer price in the beef (delivered) was $170.94, which was 60¢ higher than the previous month but $20.24 less than the prior year.
Cattle futures closed mostly higher Thursday. Support included the likely need for packers to get cattle bought, in order to maintain the brisk processing pace. Feeder Cattle also benefitted from a pause in escalating Corn futures.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 26¢ higher, except for 2¢ lower and 25¢ lower on either end of the board.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.11 higher.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 54¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $205.81/cwt. Select was 51¢ higher at $196.59.
The average dressed steer weight the week ending Dec. 25 was 913 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was 8 lbs. less than the previous week but 8 lbs. heavier than the same week a year earlier. The average dressed heifer weight of 839 lbs. was 8 lbs. less than the previous week but 2 lbs. heavier than the prior year.
Corn futures closed unchanged to 1¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 3¢ to 6¢ lower through Sep ‘21 and then mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher.