Cash traded fed cattle finished the week slightly higher. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $159.17 for live sales, and $253.90 for dressed; respectively, up $0.26 and $1.76. Cash trades in Texas were reported at $160 live, up about $2. Kansas trades were reported at $160 at the week’s end. Too few cattle sold in Nebraska and the Western Cornbelt to report prices.
Feeder steers and steer calves were steady, for the most part, this week in Mississippi auctions. Heifers were $10 higher, for calves, and $3 higher for feeders. Oklahoma City feeder steers were $2-$4 higher, feeder heifers were steady to $2 higher, and all calves were $2-$4 lower.
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Live cattle futures ended the week slightly lower than last Friday’s close. The market shook off last week’s bearish report following Tuesday’s trade, but took a hit Wednesday in what has been considered a market adjustment. The week for live futures ended fairly steady. Feeder futures trended mildly higher during the week. The pressure on Wednesday from lower live cattle futures was further oppressed by higher corn prices, but sentiment in that market (corn) ended quickly on Thursday. On Friday, the early release of the University of Michigan/Thompson Reuters Consumer Sentiment reading for April came in at 95.9, the highest since 2007, and in-line with expectations.
Corn futures were sharply lower this week. The mid-summer, July, contract declined 34 cents per bushel versus last Friday. This typically the final contract for last year’s crop that is stored. The big new crop contract, December, was down 8 cents per bushel week-over-week.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower, while the spread continues to move seasonally higher. Choice boxes averaged $256.94, down $2.26. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $245.86, down $4.13.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.