Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending January 22, 2016

Cash Cattle:

Cash traded fed cattle finished the week lower. The five-area fed steer price ended the week averaging $126.62 for live sales, and $202.00 for dressed; respectively, down $6.90 and $7.57. Total volume sold was up 1,000 head from a week ago and down 7,000 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 $6 to $14 lower than a week ago for most weight classes. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were down $5.00 from a week ago, averaging $190.00, while heavy steers were averaging $127.50, down $10.00 from last week.

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Futures:

Live cattle futures and feeder futures were higher this week. February live cattle were up $5.33 on the week and $17.45 lower than a year ago at $132.90, while April live cattle were also up $5.35 from last week and down $14.95 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also higher with January futures up $6.00 from last Friday and down $53.33 from a year ago at $160.30 while March futures are up $9.03 on the week. Nearby corn futures are up $0.07 from a week ago while May futures are also up $0.07.

Beef:                                                                                           

Wholesale boxed beef prices are higher compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $228.73, down $5.94 from a week ago and $28.12 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $223.31, down $5.15 from last week. The choice-select spread narrowed from $6.21 a week ago to $5.42 this week.

January Cattle on Feed:

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (January 22, 2016). Placements totaled 1.525 million head, a decrease of 0.78% from December 2014 and much higher than anticipated. Cattle marketed in December totaled 1.674 million head, up 1.15% versus last year, and was close to expectations. The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.573 million head, down 0.50% versus January 1, 2015 and slightly higher than analyst expectations.