After a spectacular run, cash fed cattle shifted lower this week. The five-area weighted average steer price for the week ended Friday was $155.99, down $1.61 from the previous Friday, and dressed steers averaged $247.22, down $2.26. Live cattle sold at $155-$156 in the Texas panhandle and at $156 in Kansas on Thursday. In Nebraska, live and dressed sales were reported at $155-$157 and $246-$249, respectively, on Thursday. Sales in the Western Cornbelt were $154-$157 and $245-$249, respectively for live and dressed.
Feeder steers and steer calves in Mississippi auctions this week were mostly steady; while heifer calves were mostly $6 higher and feeder heifers were about $3 higher. Cull cows and bulls were mostly steady. Feeder steers in Oklahoma City’s auction were steady to $4 higher and heifers were called steady. All calves were steady to firm.
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What goes up eventually comes down, even if it could (and should) move higher again. Such was the case this week in both live and feeder futures. Feeders took the brunt of the punch and went three straight days with limit down moves and now all fall delivery contract months are at/near the $210 mark while 2015 contracts are roughly $205. Cash cattle moved lower which added some pressure, but it appears the primary culprit is non-commercial traders (those with no actual cattle to protect) who decided the run was enough and took their toys and went home (i.e., exited their positions). This “long-liquidation” (when those who are long, or who had bought contracts, liquidate their positions) pressured the markets for the bulk of the week On Friday, USDA’s supply and demand report did little to help when they reported that beef supplies should be higher than the previous month’s estimate since the market has and will pull more head to market.
New crop corn futures were about 32 cents lower this week. Friday’s USDA supply/demand report indicated more corn is expected to be available at the end of the upcoming marketing year. This was mostly expected based on the previous week’s larger than expected Grain Stocks report. For more on the supply and demand report check out Dr. William’s write-up HERE.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were higher again this week, continuing to set new record levels throughout the week. Choice boxes averaged $250.54, up $2.74. Select boxes edged higher throughout the week and ended with an average of $242.89, up $2.98.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.