Cattle Market Notes (Condensed Version): Week Ending Apr 02, 2014

Futures and equity markets will be closed tomorrow for the Good Friday holiday, as will USDA offices, thus this week’s market notes will be short. — Happy Easter to everyone, John Michael

Thursday’s five-area steer price came in at $166.73, up $2.73 compared to last Thursday’s price. Dressed steers were reported at $262, up $2.00.

Feeder steers and heifers in Oklahoma City held steady early this week, while calves were firm to $3 higher.

Feeder steers and heifers in Mississippi were weaker compared to last week on Wednesday. Monday’s and Tuesday’s sales seemed to be a tad higher.

Feeder futures have remained fairly steady this week. A slight drop was seen on Wednesday due to overall weakness in commodity and equity markets. Live cattle futures have been on a similar path.

Corn futures rallied through a bearish report. Markets were quite volatile on Tuesday with the release of the highly anticipated annual Prospective Plantings report, as well as the quarterly Grain Stocks report. The first revealed that U.S. producers intend to plant 89.199 million acres of corn this summer, 84.635 million acres of soybeans, and 9.549 million acres of cotton. In Mississippi, growers plan to plant 570,000 acres of corn, 2.3 million acres of beans, and 350,000 acres of cotton. Market expectations looked for fewer corn acres and more bean acres. This resulted in a sharp drop in corn prices following the release of the report. From the latter report, stocks of corn and soybeans were in-line with expectations, but interestingly on-farm storage continues to point toward farmer hoarding. Corn held on-farms was up 13% versus last March and soybeans stocks on-farms was up 60%! Keep in mind, that at some point these bushels will need to be sold.

Beef prices moved higher on Tuesday and the current five day average price (Mar 26-Apr 01) for Choice and Select is, respectively, $252.54 and $248.03 both up from this past Friday’s average.