Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was at a standstill in Colorado and the Texas Panhandle through Thursday afternoon. Elsewhere, trade was limited on light demand with too few transactions to trend.
For the week so far, trade is steady with last week on a live basis in the Southern Plains and Northern Plains at $114/cwt. Dressed trade in Nebraska is $2 lower at $180. Live sales in the western Corn Belt last week were at $114, with dressed trade at $182.
Cattle futures closed lower Thursday, pressured by the slog for higher cash prices and faltering outside markets. That was despite net U.S. export beef sales for the week ending Feb. 25 up noticeably from the previous week and up 15% from the prior four-week average at 22,600 metric tons (mt), according to the weekly U.S. Export Sales report from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 41¢ lower, from 2¢ lower at the back to 85¢ lower in spot Apr.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.34 lower, from 75¢ lower at the back to $2.32 lower toward the front.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 85¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $233.88/cwt. Select was $2.56 lower at $221.68.
The average dressed slaughter weight of 909 lbs. the week ending Feb. 20 was 10 lbs. less than the previous week, helped along by the recent winter storm. That was still 9 lbs. heavier year over year, according to the USDA Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight of 841 lbs. was 9 lbs. lighter than the previous week, but 10 lbs. heavier year over year. Fed cattle slaughter of 439,124 head was 49,097 head fewer (-10.05%) than the same week a year earlier.
Corn futures encountered some pressure in the front months, perhaps tied in part to the previously mentioned weekly U.S. Export Sales report.
Weekly net U.S. corn export sales of 115,900 mt for 2020-21 were a market-year low, down 74% from the previous week and down 96% from the previous four-week average. U.S. net soybean export sales of 334,000 mt were up noticeably from the previous week but 33% less than the previous four-week average.
Corn futures closed mostly 1¢ to 2¢ higher, except for 1¢ to 4¢ lower in the front three contracts.
Soybean futures closed 6¢ to 15¢ higher, except for 3¢ to 4¢ higher in the front five contracts.