Futures markets started off the day on an optimistic note, but turned negative as the session closed. The August fed contract was down 90 cents to $100.42 and October was off $1.27 to $103.82. Feeder cattle suffered as well, August was down $2.70 to $139.35 and September down $3.12 to $139.62.
There was virtually no cash trade, only 672 head traded at $99. However 36,600 head of formula grid cattle were priced at $152.87 weighing 884 lbs. The estimated daily slaughter was 117,000 head for today. Boxed beef markets were steady with Choice trading at $202.55 and Select at $190.13. The cow beef cutout last Friday was at $188.69.
ShayLe Stewart, DTN market analyst, commented on the morning futures, “Live cattle contracts were optimistic to start the day but as the morning has progressed, the nearby contracts are fighting a little bit of pressure Feeders are anticipated to price cattle higher this week as show lists are lower and the market was able to gain $1 last week.
“Asking prices throughout all of feeding country haven’t surfaced yet, but feeders in Nebraska are pricing cattle at $162 dressed, and $102 live. Packers have made inquiries in cattle throughout the countryside already Monday morning, but bids have yet to surface and probably won’t until later in the week. New show lists appear to be somewhat lower in Kansas, lower in Nebraska and Colorado, and sharply lower in Texas.”
Last week’s negotiated purchases totaled 113,302 head. Of that, 101,704 head are committed for delivery in the next two weeks with the remaining 11,598 head for delivery in the following 15-30 days.
“Feeder cattle contracts, much like the live cattle sector, are fighting to interest traders in supporting nearby contracts. Regardless of what the board does early this week the resilience throughout the countryside has been commendable,” Stewart said.
“Buyers are eager to purchase calves and feeders and thus far the summer has presented sales far better than what many believed would even be available.”
Superior Livestock Auction’s Video Royale sale started today and will be selling calves and yearlings all week.
Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold steady to $4 higher. Sale barns in the Northern Plains are on their summertime schedules and are piecing together larger sales every other week as a bidding competition can occur when those long strings of yearlings coming off summer grass or out of backgrounding yards are met with good to very good demand.
Plenty of buyers in the seats this time of year as buyer’s commissions can sometimes be few and far between during the dogdays of summer and no one wants to miss out on a possible deal. Those long-time yearlings are always in demand this time of year with many old timers prepared to get them marketed before the Labor Day holiday. Backgrounded cattle in the Flint Hills of Kansas sold on video auctions earlier this year are in the heart of being delivered with excellent gains being reported on those native grasses alone.
At Burwell (NE) Livestock Auction on Wednesday, a load of 719 lb.-steers sold at $162.25, while two loads of steers weighing 859 lbs. sold at $149.50 and another two loads of 850 lb.-steers sold at $149.25. In addition, nine loads of steers weighing over 1000 lbs. sold for a weighted average of $127.85.
Those steers needed to bring plus or minus $1300 per head for the producer to have some above his breakeven.
The Northern Video “Summertime Classic” was held this week and some current delivery yearling cattle were certainly in demand. A load of 950lb.-steers with all the bells and whistles out of the North Central region sold at $154, while several loads of value-added lots in the same region for August delivery weighing from 970-990 lbs. sold for a weighted average of $151.73. — Pete Crow, WLJ publisher