Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Dec. 31, 2020

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Dec. 31, 2020

Editor’s note: Due to the holiday, there was no weekly regional price or summary auction data from the Agricultural Marketing Service last week. Come January, AMS will begin releasing weekly data on Monday rather than Friday. Cattle Current will adjust accordingly.

Except for the relentless surge in grain futures prices, cattle markets ended mainly steady to higher last week. That’s keeping in mind that the second consecutive holiday-shortened week made for tenuous trends.

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices for the week were generally steady to mostly $2 higher on a live basis through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service: $112/cwt. in the Southern Plains, mostly $112 in Nebraska, mostly $111 with a few up to $112 in Colorado. They were steady to $6 higher week to week in the western Corn Belt at $110-$112. Dressed trade was $3-$4 higher at $175-$176.

From the previous Wednesday through Thursday last week, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 68¢ higher, supported by stronger fundamentals heading into 2021.

Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University expects beef cow numbers at the beginning of 2021 to range from unchanged to 1% less year over year. If so, he explains it would continue the slow tightening of beef cattle numbers and beef production in 2021.

“Total 2021 cattle slaughter is forecast to be down about 1%, leading to a year-over-year decrease in beef production of 1% to 2%,” Peel says, in his weekly market comments. “Herd dynamics in 2021 could affect these forecasts. If herd liquidation should accelerate, the short-term impacts would be an increase in cattle slaughter due to more heifers and cows in the slaughter totals. Conversely, should the industry move to expand cattle inventories, cattle slaughter would be reduced with fewer heifers in feedlots and fewer cows culled. There is potential for either scenario. The cattle inventory trajectory in 2021 will depend on numerous factors including control of the pandemic, U.S. macroeconomic conditions, global protein markets, drought conditions, and feed prices, among others.”

More immediately, wholesale beef values continued to suggest the seasonal bottom was established.  

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.41 higher on Thursday, compared to the previous Wednesday at $209.95/cwt. Select was $2.28 lower at $195.65.

Grain Prices Surge Higher

Calf and feeder cattle trade was sparse again last week; no trends reported by AMS through Thursday afternoon.

From the previous Wednesday through Thursday last week, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.85 lower, pressured by climbing grain futures, tied to iffy international production and strong exports.  

From the previous Wednesday through Thursday last week, Corn futures closed an average of 35¢ higher through the front three contracts; an average of 14¢ higher through the next three.  

During the same period, Soybean futures closed an average of 45¢ higher through the front six contracts.

Friday to Friday Change

Weekly Auction Receipts

Two weeks earlier…

Dec. 18 Auction Direct

Video/net

Total
 

237,200

(-117,500)

42,000

(+15,000)

26,700

(+18,200)

305,900

(-84,300)

 

CME Feeder Index

Wednesday through Wednesday…

CME Feeder Index* Dec. 30 Change
  $138.77 –   1.05

*Wednesday-to Wednesday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

Two weeks earlier…

North Central

Steers-Cash Dec.18 Change
600-700 lbs. $155.50 +  $4.76
700-800 lbs. $145.61 +  $4.19
800-900 lbs. $138.99 +  $2.30

Two weeks earlier…

South Central

Steers-Cash Dec. 18 Change
500-600 lbs. $157.26 + $1.32
600-700 lbs. $144.79 + $3.10
700-800 lbs. $137.63 + $1.96

Two weeks earlier…

Southeast

Steers-Cash Dec. 18 Change
400-500 lbs. $154.44 –  $1.11
500-600 lbs. $139.60 + $1.12
600-700 lbs. $128.67 + $0.28

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Wednesday through Thursday…

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Dec. 31 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $209.95 + $2.41
Select $195.65 –  $2.28
Ch-Se Spread $14.30 + $4.68

 

Futures

Wednesday through Thursday…

Feeder Cattle  Dec. 31 Change
Jan ’21 $138.950 –  $1.325
Mar $140.225 –  $1.725
Apr $141.775 –  $1.975
May $142.850 –  $2.375
Aug $149.025 –  $1.975
Sep $148.850 –  $1.600
Oct ’21 $148.275 –  $1.725
Nov $148.000 –  $2.100

 

Wednesday through Thursday…

Live Cattle   Dec. 31 Change
Dec $112.950 + $1.025
Feb ’21 $115.025 + $0.300
Apr $119.250 + $0.550
Jun $114.700 + $0.400
Aug $114.425 + $0.700
Oct $117.600 + $0.850
Dec $120.050 + $0.750
Feb ’22 $121.675 + $0.925
Apr $122.500 + $0.625

 

Wednesday through Thursday…

Corn  Dec. 31 Change
Mar ’21 $4.840 + $0.368
May $4.832 + $0.350
Jly $4.802 + $0.326
Sep $4.464 + $0.178
Oct $4.346 + $0.114
Mar ’22 $4.402 + $0.128

 

Wednesday through Thursday…

Oil CME-WTI Dec. 31 Change
Feb $48.52 + $0.40
Mar $48.63 + $0.39
Apr $48.69 + $0.36
May $48.69 + $0.32
Jun $48.63 + $0.29
Jly $48.52 + $0.26

 

Equities

Wednesday through Thursday…

Equity Indexes Dec. 31 Change
Dow Industrial Average  30606.48 +  476.65
NASDAQ  12888.28 +   117.17
S&P 500   3756.07 +     66.06
Dollar (DXY)       89.92 –        0.40
2021-01-01T15:38:43-06:00

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