Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending January 15, 2016

Cash Cattle:

Cash traded fed cattle was mixed this week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week averaging $133.52 for live sales, and $209.57 for dressed; respectively, up $1.68 and down $0.45. Total volume sold was up 18,000 head from a week ago and up 22,000 head from last year.

Feeder steer cattle and calves were trading lower across much of the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were $5 to $10 lower than a week ago for most weight classes. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were unchanged from a week ago, averaging $195.00, while heavy steers were averaging $137.50, up $5.00 from last week.

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Live cattle futures and feeder futures were lower this week. February live cattle were down $5.25 on the week and $27.28 lower than a year ago at $127.58, while April live cattle were also down $5.25 from last week and down $24.65 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also lower with January futures down $4.92 from last Friday and down $60.63 from a year ago at $154.30 while March futures are down $6.32 on the week. Nearby corn futures are up $0.06 from a week ago while May futures are up $0.05.


Wholesale boxed beef prices are higher compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $234.67, up $8.43 from a week ago and $26.84 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $228.46, up $8.63 from last week. The choice-select spread narrowed from $6.41 a week ago to $6.21 this week.

January WASDE:

The United States Department of Agriculture’s World Supply and Demand Estimates were released on Tuesday morning (January 12, 2016). Beef production for 2015 was revised up by 35 million pounds from last month’s estimate to 23.7 billion pounds. That number is up from 2014 when annual beef production was 24.25 billion pounds. Looking ahead to 2016, beef production is expected to be up nearly 900 million pounds from last year at 24.6 billion pounds. Per capita consumption is expected to be higher in 2016 than a year ago at 54.4 pounds per person. On the crop balance sheet, corn ending stocks for the 2015/16 crop were revised up by 17 million bushels primarily due to lower exports. Yields were also lowered by 0.9 bu/acre to 168.4 bu/acre, leaving total production down 53 million bushel at 13.601 billion bushels.

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