Cash traded fed cattle finished the week lower. The five-area fed steer price for the week of March 24-31 averaged $133.12 for live sales, and $214.84 for dressed; respectively, down $2.89 and $2.86. Total volume sold was down 5,000 head from a week ago and up 17,000 head from last year.
Feeder steer cattle and calves were mixed across the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were steady to $1.00 higher for lightweights and mostly steady for heavier cattle. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were down $3.50 from a week ago, averaging $190.00, while heavy steers were averaging $141.00, down $10.00 from last week.
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Live cattle futures and feeder futures were mostly lower this week. April live cattle were down $2.85 on the week and $30.03 lower than a year ago at $133.00, while August live cattle were down $1.28 from last week and down $30.28 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also lower this week with April futures down $0.07 from last Friday and down $64.63 from a year ago at $155.75 while August futures are also down $0.07 on the week. Nearby corn futures are down $0.16 from a week ago at $3.53 while September futures are down $0.17.
Wholesale boxed beef prices are down compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $222.46, down $4.16 from a week ago and $32.09 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $212.91, down $4.89 from last week. The choice-select spread widened from $8.82 a week ago to $9.55 this week.
USDA Prospective Plantings Report
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings Report was released on Thursday morning (March 31, 2016). The plantings report revealed that U.S. producers intend to plant 93.601 million acres of corn this summer, up 6 percent from last year’s 87.999 million acres. Mississippi producers plan to plant 800,000 acres of corn this summer, up 57% from last year when 510,000 acres of corn were planted. Mississippi hay acres are expected to be 20,000 acres higher this year at 700,000 acres.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.