Compared to the previous month, USDA increased projected 2021 beef production by 5 million lbs. to 27.905 billion lbs., in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Analysts with the Economic Research Service (ERS) note higher expected cow slaughter is largely offset by lower steer and heifer slaughter.
USDA forecast the five-area direct fed steer price 70¢ higher for this year to $117/cwt., reflecting current price strength. Projected average prices are $120 in the second quarter, $115 in the third quarter and $120 in the fourth quarter.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade in the Southern Plains was at a standstill through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. For the week so far, live sales are at $119-$120/cwt.
Elsewhere, trade ranged from slow to inactive on light demand.
Live sales in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt earlier in the week were at $120 on a live basis and at $190-$191 in the beef.
Cattle futures traded mostly higher on Thursday, amid light trade, especially for Live Cattle.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 36¢ higher.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 19¢ higher, except for down an average of 10¢ in the back two contracts.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 40¢ lower Thursday afternoon at $338.25/cwt. Select was $2.53 higher at $310.40