Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was $2 higher on a dressed basis in Nebraska Thursday at $182.00/cwt., according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. That was on slow trade and light demand, but might suggest front-end inventory is current enough for prices to finally move beyond the rut of the last seven weeks. Live trade in Nebraska was at $114 on Wednesday.
Trade was limited on light demand in most other regions with too few transactions to trend.
On Wednesday, live prices were $2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $114-$115. Dressed trade in the region last week was at $178-$180.
Cattle futures closed sharply lower amid likely technical correction and positioning ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed report, despite wholesale beef values gathering some seasonal steam, sharply lower Corn futures and the likelihood that cash fed cattle prices are on the cusp of moving higher.
Pressure also included sharply lower Lean Hog futures, tied to chatter out of China that it’s close to rebuilding its hog herd to pre-ASF levels. That diverges widely from private sector reports citing further ASF challenges.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.92 lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.78 lower (20¢ lower at the back to $3.55 lower).
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 14¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $228.61/cwt. Select was 52¢ higher at $218.11.
The average dressed steer weight the week ending Mar. 6 was 900 lbs. according to USDA’s weekly Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. That was 1 lb. heavier than the previous week but 3 lbs. lighter than the previous year. The average dressed heifer weight of 833 lbs. was 1 lb. lighter than the previous week but 3 lbs. heavier than the prior year.
Corn and soybean futures closed sharply lower Thursday. The most plausible explanations include rainier forecasts for South America and worries about how many acres might show up in USDA’s Prospective Plantings report due out at the end of the month. There’s also likely some queasiness about U.S. and Chinese officials meeting in Alaska this week.
Corn futures closed 10¢ to 12¢ lower through the front three contracts, and then mostly 3¢ to 7¢ lower.
Soybean futures closed 20¢ to 29¢ lower.