Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending July 18, 2014

Cash Cattle:

Negotiated cash trade was mostly steady this week. The five-area weighted average steer price for the week ended Friday was $156.02, up $0.03 from the previous Friday, and dressed steers averaged $246.54, down $0.68. A few live sales in Texas panhandle were at $155 and at $155-$156 in Kansas. In Nebraska, live and dressed sales were reported at $156 and $246-$248, respectively, on Thursday. Sales in the Western Cornbelt were $155-$156 and $246-$247, respectively for live and dressed.

Feeder steers rallied this week in Mississippi auctions, improving about $10, while steer calves in ranged from declines of about $5 to gains of about $5. Heifer calves were mostly $7 lower and feeder heifers were steady to $7 higher. Cull cows and bulls were $1-$3 higher. Feeder steers in Oklahoma City’s auction were steady to $4 lower and heifers were called steady.

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Futures:

Live cattle futures spent most of the week recovering a portion of last week’s drop. Feeder futures were mostly even with last Friday’s market close and spent the bulk of the week in a sideways pattern. Wednesday’s trading showed the most weakness for both live and feeder futures. Thursday’s broad market tumble left commodity markets largely unscathed. Cash markets were steady and boxed beef trickled lower throughout most of the week, so the uptick in futures implies last week’s dip was largely unwarranted. News that China will possibly lift their ban on Brazilian beef did little to the market today, but keep in mind U.S. does not export any beef to China.

Futures markets are more focused on the upcoming crop with the expiration of the July contract this week. Corn futures were mostly steady through the week with Wednesday and Thursday showing signs of life before settling mostly even to close the day. Ethanol production was reported higher on Wednesday providing support.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were mixed this week, but mostly even with last week’s trade. Choice boxes averaged $250.15, down $0.39. Select boxes slipped all days excluding Thursday and ended with an average of $243.53, up $0.64.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.