Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending May 15, 2015

** Note: At the end of this month I will no longer be an Extension specialist with Mississippi State University and this marks the final Cattle Market Notes that I will write. This decision came with tremendous emotion as I have thoroughly enjoyed my work with the MSU Extension Service, and more importantly I have always enjoyed visiting with and learning from so many of you at meetings and elsewhere. Thank you for the support and for taking time to read through my thoughts on the markets each week! **

Cash Cattle:

Cash traded fed cattle finished the week slightly higher when compared to last week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $160.82 for live sales, and $256.55 for dressed; respectively, up $1.05 and $1.51. In Nebraska and the Western Cornbelt a few dressed cattle traded on par with last week at $257.

Calves and feeders in Mississippi auction markets were mostly steady this week. Heavy weight (700-800 pound) steers were off quite a bit though, which is likely an anomaly since they were higher in other parts of the U.S. Oklahoma City feeder steers were firm to $3 higher and heifers were steady.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Cattle futures were steady this week, but not without some ups and downs. Live futures started the week in decline, but then spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday moving higher. Friday marked a lower move in the market. Feeders saw similar, but slightly more muted moves compared to live futures. Tuesday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand  Estimates report from USDA (released Tuesday) indicated that beef production for 2015 is expected to total 24.339 billion pounds. The May report is the first to offer insights from USDA, and the agency has 2016 beef production pegged at 24.569 billion pounds. So, the tight supplies are expected to bottom out this year before moving higher, barring any major issues.

Corn futures were also mostly even with the previous Friday’s close. The supply and demand report was also the first gauge from USDA on the upcoming corn crop. Planting progress has been slow to develop in southeastern states, but Cornbelt states have been covering quite a bit of ground in a hurry the last few weeks. The report put 2015 U.S. corn yield at 166.8 bushes per acre, 4.2 bu/ac lower than last year, and total production for the year at 13.63 billion bushels. More detail on the report can be found HERE.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were much higher this week. Choice boxes averaged $262.07, up $5.46. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $249.07, up $4.18.

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