Fed cattle cash prices ended the week higher, continuing their weekly record setting pace of late. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $152.26 for live sales, up $2.16, and $243.48 for dressed, up $3.37 to a new record. Live cattle in the Southern Plains traded at $150 to $152. On Tuesday in Nebraska, live sales were from $152-$154 and dressed were at $244-$245. Trade in the Western Cornbelt on Wednesday registered $152 and $244 respectively for live and dressed cattle.
Feeder steers and heifers in Oklahoma City were $1-$3 higher, heavy feeders were $1 lower. Stockers and calves were $3-$6 higher. In Mississippi auction markets, steers and heifers were called $1-$5 higher, while cull cows and bulls were steady.
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Cattle futures ended the week on a higher note. Last Friday’s Cattle on Feed report dampened the market’s spirit for all of a few minutes in the opening on Monday. On Tuesday the Conference Board released their index of the state of the consumer, which was at it’s highest level since January 2008 at 82.3%, up 4 points from last month. This was offset when Reuters/University of Michigan released their version showing a drop of 1.6 points from last month at 80.0% and the consumer expectations index slipped to 70.0% versus 72.7% in February. In other economic data released this week, personal income, disposable income, and spending all increased in February. All together, this news should keep the market happy or at the least in a steady state. We know supplies have dwindled and will further tighten, and for the most part this news is supportive of demand.
Corn futures were up 1.5%, for more distant months, to almost 3%, for old crop contracts. Monday’s prospective plantings report will set the stage for the (most likely delayed) growing season and there was definitely positioning ahead of that report this week.The average guess for planted acres is 93.014 million. However, Thursday’s export report provided quite a boost with USDA showing new sales at.1.408 million metric tons for the current marketing year putting total (current and pending) exports at 98% of the USDA forecast compared to a typical level of 77%.
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Wholesale beef was lower this week. Choice boxed beef averaged $239.57 for the week, down $2.84. Select averaged $232.45, down $3.15.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.