Cash traded fed cattle finished the week mixed. The five-area fed steer price ended the week averaging $130.00 for live sales, and $209.63 for dressed; respectively, down $1.70 and up $3.67. Total volume sold was down 23,000 head from a week ago and unchanged from last year.
Feeder steer cattle and calves were mixed across much of the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were down $5.50 for lightweights and up $3.00 for heavier cattle. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were up $2.50 from a week ago, averaging $190.00, while heavy steers were averaging $137.50, up $5.00 from last week.
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Live cattle futures and feeder futures were higher this week. April live cattle were up $5.25 on the week and $14.10 lower than a year ago at $134.40, while August live cattle were up $3.18 from last week and down $21.43 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also higher on the week with March futures up $5.55 from last Friday and down $43.15 from a year ago at $156.00 while May futures are up $3.78 on the week. Nearby corn futures are up $0.07 from a week ago while May futures are also up $0.06.
Wholesale boxed beef prices are down compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $217.63, down $3.79 from a week ago and $25.63 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $214.12, down $4.76 from last week. The choice-select spread widened from $3.51 a week ago to $4.48 this week.
February 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 (February 19, 2016). The report revealed that 10.709 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on February 1, 2016, down 0.04% from a year ago. Placements into feedlots during the month of January totaled 1.779 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.589 million head, down 0.56% and 2.22% from a year ago, respectively. All numbers were very close to analysts’ expectations
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.