Cash trade was at a standstill today in the Southern Plains and mostly inactive on light demand in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. A total of 1,668 head traded today compared to last week’s 6,006 head and last year’s 12,486 head. Live steers traded from $103-104 and dressed steers traded at $163.
“A few nearby live cattle contracts are peeking into positive territory in the middle of Friday’s session, but overall, the tone of livestock trade remains bearish with lower momentum carrying through from the past four sessions and a big Cattle on Feed report expected,” reported Elaine Kub, DTN contributing analyst.
Today’s Cattle on Feed report had cattle and calves on feed up 4 percent from last year. Total inventory amounted to 11.7 million head, the highest Oct. 1 inventory since reporting began in 1996.
Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.23 million head, 6 percent above 2019. Marketings were also 6 percent above last year at 1.85 million head. Other disappearance during September totaled 58,000 head, 2 percent below last year.
CME live cattle futures saw a slight gain today, but haven’t managed to recover from Monday’s drop. The October contract was up 3 cents at $103.35 and the December contract was up 10 cents to $103.35.
Boxed beef prices were mixed today: On 148 loads, the Choice cutout was down $1.37 to $207.49 and the Select cutout up 32 cents to $191.40. Slaughter for the day is predicted at 103,000 head and tomorrow’s slaughter is estimated at 60,000 head.
The nearby corn contract has hit a new year high at $4.19, and conservative feeder cattle prices will likely continue. The CME October feeder cattle contract was down 30 cents to $133.53 and the November contract was down 8 cents to $129.65. The latest CME Feeder Cattle Index was down $2.83 to $135.53.
Winter Livestock in Pratt, KS, sold 2,245 head yesterday. Compared to last week, feeder steers and feeder heifers 650-950 lbs. sold $6-8 lower, with instances of $10 lower. There was no recent comparison on steers and heifers under 650 lbs., however a lower market was noted. Demand was moderate. Slaughter cows and bulls sold unevenly steady. Steers averaging 737 lbs. sold between $130.50-138.25. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor