The cash cattle complex has been in the doldrums week after week with little movement in prices. However, there was some support in the north, with prices trading from $121-122 for live cattle and $191-192 for dressed steers.
The live cattle complex traded slightly in the green, with June live cattle up 17 cents to $117.57 and the September contract higher 27 cents, closing at $118.55.
Cash trade was slowing down with 6,044 head sold between $120-121. Dressed steers sold between $190-191. On the formula side, 22,100 head averaging 867 lbs. sold for $193.64. So far, for Thursday in the Southern Plains, negotiated cash trading was at a standstill and trade in Nebraska trade was slow, with trade steady at $120.
Slaughter for the day is projected to be 121,000 head, a thousand head above last week. To date this week, slaughter has been 476,000 head.
“The processing industry will attempt a 670,000-slaughter week this week,” wrote the folks at Cattle Report. “Slaughter volumes are strictly a business proposition driven by the number and size of beef plants; labor availability; and facility maintenance. In today's operating environment, global demand for beef is mismatched with slaughter capacity and the result is herd liquidation rather than increased plant capacities.”
Boxed beef prices traded mixed with the Choice cutout down 40 cents to $338.25 and the Select cutout up $2.53 to $310.40 on 110 loads.
Beef net sales of 16,100 metric tons (mt) reported for 2021 were up 28 percent from the previous week but down 17 percent from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Japan (4,800 mt), South Korea (4,000 mt) and Mexico (2,500 mt).
Feeder cattle traded down for most of the day but finished higher at the close. The June contract closed up 12 cents to $148.40 and the September higher 15 cents to $150.90. The CME Feeder Cattle Index was lower 8 cents, closing at $140.04.
The corn complex was up double digits throughout the day but retreated at the close. The July contract closed up 8 cents to $6.99 a bushel and the September contract was up 6 cents a bushel to $6.38.
South Dakota: Hub City Livestock in Aberdeen sold 3,489 head on Wednesday. Compared to last week, steers 850-950 lbs. sold $2-4 higher with an instance up to $9 higher on 900-950 lbs.; 951-1,000 lbs. and 1,050-1,100 lbs. were mostly steady with instances up to $6 higher on 951-1,000 lbs. Heifers 650-700 lbs., 750-800 lbs. and 900-950 lbs. were $2-4 higher. Benchmark steers averaging 775 lbs. sold between $139.50-145.25.
New Mexico: Clovis Livestock in Clovis sold 1,714 head on Wednesday. Compared to the previous auction, steer calves under 500 lbs. sold $5-8 higher; 500-600 lbs. were $1-2 lower and feeders over 600 lbs. sold $2 higher. Heifer calves under 500 lbs. sold $1 higher; 500-600 lbs. were $8-10 higher though quality was more attractive, feeders over 600 lbs. were steady. Benchmark steers averaging 786 lbs. sold between $138.25-140.
Kansas: Pratt Livestock in Pratt sold 4,500 head on Thursday. Compared to last week, feeder steers 700-975 lbs. sold $2-3 lower. Feeder heifers 600-900 lbs. were steady, and heifers 900-975 lbs. sold $2 higher. Benchmark steers averaging 876 lbs. sold between $139.75-143.75. — Charles Wallace, WLJ editor