Bearish data from USDA helped drive market prices lower for all classes of cattle and calves. Last Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report was called negative with placements in December at 1.8 million head, 18% higher than in 2015. The news sent cattle futures sharply lower early week, which spilled over into cash prices for feeders and fed cattle. On Tuesday USDA released its Annual Cattle Inventory report, showing expansion a little more aggressive than the trade had anticipated.
The total inventory was pegged at 93.6 million head, 2% above last year. All cows and heifers were up 3% at 40.6 million and the beef cow inventory was 31.2 million, also up 3%. The 2016 calf crop was counted at 35.1 million head, up 3%.
Fed steers in Texas and Kansas sold at $119 per cwt., $3 lower than last week. Northern cattle traded at $117 to $119 per cwt., and $190 dressed. On Wednesday, 1,729 cattle sold on the Fed Cattle Exchange online auction in a range of $116 to $119.25 per cwt., for an average of $118.82. Just 33% of the cattle offered sold online this week.
USDA market news reported steer and heifer calves sold mostly $2 to $8 per cwt. lower, with some instances $10 per cwt. lower. A few instances saw light-weight steer calves at $2 to $5 higher.
Pro Farmer analysts says beef production increases should be expected over the next 90 days, which will further pressure prices.