Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending January 29, 2016

Cash Cattle:

Cash traded fed cattle finished the week higher. The five-area fed steer price ended the week averaging $131.00 for live sales, and $209.16 for dressed; respectively, up $4.38 and $7.16. Total volume sold was down 2,000 head from a week ago and up 4,000 head from last year.

Feeder steer cattle and calves were mixed across the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were $3 to $10 higher than a week ago for most weight classes. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were up $2.50 from a week ago, averaging $192.50, while heavy steers were averaging $140.00, up $12.50 from last week.

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Futures:

Live cattle futures and feeder futures were mixed this week. February live cattle were up $1.90 on the week and $20.05 lower than a year ago at $134.80, while April live cattle were down $0.53 from last week and down $18.78 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were lower on the week with March futures down $2.93 from last Friday and down $48.98 from a year ago at $156.38 while May futures are down $3.98 on the week. Nearby corn futures are up $0.01 from a week ago while May futures are also up $0.02.

Beef:                                                                                           

Wholesale boxed beef prices are down compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $221.40, down $7.33 from a week ago and $25.29 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $216.59, down $6.72 from last week. The choice-select spread narrowed from $5.42 a week ago to $4.81 this week.

January Cattle Inventory:

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their Bi-annual Cattle Inventory report Friday afternoon (January 29, 2016). The total U.S. inventory of all cattle and calves 92 million head as of January 1, 2016, a 3 percent increase from a year ago. Beef replacement heifers in the U.S. were also up 3 percent from a year ago while beef cows were up 4% from a year ago.

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