Cash traded fed cattle finished the week slightly lower this week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $159.98 for live sales, and $251.66 for dressed; respectively, down $0.84 and $4.89. Total volume sold was higher than a week ago, but much lower than last year.
Feeder steer cattle and calves were higher across much of the U.S. this week. Summer grazing demand is heating up and rains continued across much of the Midwest. The USDA rated 57% of U.S. pastures in good or excellent condition this week, up from 56% good or excellent last week and 44% good or excellent a year ago. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders and calves were $5.00 to $10.00 higher, while heavy steers were about $2.50 lower than a week ago. Oklahoma City feeder steers and heifers were steady to $10 lower this week.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has once again ruled against the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) this week. If Congress does not rewrite COOL by later this fall, the WTO may allow certain sanctions from Canada and Mexico in retaliation.
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Live cattle and feeder cattle futures were mixed this week. June live cattle were down about $0.40 on the week, while October live cattle were up $0.65. Feeder cattle were slightly higher across the board with August futures up $0.80 from last Friday. Corn futures were lower on the week despite concerns about wet conditions and replanting across parts of the corn belt.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were mostly steady this week. Choice boxes averaged $263.19, down $1.12 from a week ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $249.89, up $0.82. The average choice retail beef price for the month of April set a record at $6.402 per pound.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.