Cash traded fed cattle finished the week slightly higher again this week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $159.77 for live sales, and $255.04 for dressed; respectively, up $0.60 and $1.14. As has been the case lately, very few head sold this week. In Nebraska and the Western Cornbelt dressed cattle traded at $256-$257. Live sales in the Western Cornbelt were recorded at $160-$163.
Feeder steer cattle and calves were higher across much of the U.S. this week. Summer grazing demand is heating up again as rains moved (or were expected to move) across needed areas. In Mississippi auctions, feeders and calves were about $2.50 higher, with heavy steers bringing about $6 more compared to the previous week. Oklahoma City feeder steers and heifers were steady to $4 higher, while calves were limited in numbers but a higher tone was noticed.
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Live cattle and feeder cattle futures ended the week mildly higher than last Friday’s close. The volatility seen in the previous number of weeks was not present as markets were mostly even throughout the entire week. Friday saw the release of the monthly “jobs” report. The report showed strength in the job market and the unemployment rate was pulled down by 0.1 percentage points to 5.4%, however, the dismal March employment number was further reduced.
Corn futures were mostly even with the previous Friday’s close. Corn prices gained steam early in the week but then fell as the week closed. Trade was most likely prepping for the monthly supply and demand report (to be released Tuesday, May 12) and trading that news as it came in. The report will be the first glance at USDA’s expectations of the 2015 crop yields, production, and demand.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were mostly steady this week. Choice boxes averaged $256.61, down $0.33. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $244.89, down $0.97.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.