Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 27, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Cash transactions were once again limited and few trends were reported this week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $163.98 for live sales and $260 for dressed, respectively, up $2.48 and $4.72. A few dressed sales in Nebraska  and the Western Cornbelt traded at $262-$263.

Steers in Mississippi auction markets were steady to higher. Calves were up $5-$12, lightweight feeders were steady, and heavy feeders were $10-$20 higher. Heifer calves were lower, and feeders were steady to higher. Oklahoma City feeder steers and heifers were $4-$8 higher, while calves were $1-$2 higher.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures ended the week higher, with most contracts up a modest $2 compared to last Friday’s close. Live cattle futures were steady to lower during the week, but ended slightly above last Friday’s close. Feeders took a dip mid-week as corn prices were on the rise, but a sharp loss in the corn pits on Wednesday provided support. Boxed beef prices were higher this week which provided some steam for live and feeder cattle.

Corn futures were flat again this week. Next Tuesday marks the release of the planting intentions report which will surely move the market. Early guesses have U.S. corn acres in the high 80 million acre range. Also, USDA will release their quarterly Grain Stocks report.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices improved this week. Choice boxes averaged $248.92, up $2.88. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $245.76, up $1.28.

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

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 20, 2015

Cash Cattle:

The trend of limited cash cattle trading continued this week. The five-area fed steer price (which encompasses cash and formula priced cattle) ended the week at $161 for live sales, and $255.28 for dressed; respectively, up $0.22 and down $3.81. A few dressed sales in Nebraska traded at $258-$260.

Demand for summer grazing calves continues to show up in auction markets across the U.S. Steers and heifers in Mississippi auction markets were steady to higher. Heavy weight steers and heifers were 5% to 7% higher, while lightweight calves were mostly steady. Oklahoma City feeder steers were steady to $7 higher, while feeder heifers were $1-$2 lower.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures ended the week higher, with most contracts up $5-$6 compared to last Friday’s close. Live cattle futures were higher by a slightly smaller number, with most contracts up $3-$5. Temperatures look to be on the rise and that typically provides a spark to beef demand as a result of increased grilling. Also, the value of the U.S. dollar weakened most of the week, which makes our goods less expensive overseas and that helped provide hope for beef exports. Friday afternoon’s Cattle on Feed report from USDA came in right around expectations and should not drive futures markets in either direction on Monday. For details on the report CLICK HERE.

Corn futures remained in a steady state this week. Reports are trickling in regarding the Prospective Plantings report that will come out March 31. Most reports are looking for a decrease in corn acres due to the lower price. The comparison of corn prices versus soybeans remains in-line with history so there is no clear indication for one crop over the other. For more on this week’s grain market CLICK HERE for Dr. Brian Williams’ commentary.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices mostly steady. Choice boxes averaged $246.04, down $0.55. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $244.48, down $0.64.

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

March Cattle on Feed Report Recap

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (Mar 20). The report revealed that 10.658 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on March 1, 2015. Placements into feedlots during the month of February totaled 1.523 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.516 million head.

[ … For detailed numbers and charts CLICK HERE … ]

Placements totaled 1.523 million head, a decrease of 8.1% from February 2014 and a 6.6% decrease from the five-year average of 2010 to 2014. Market analyst expected placements to come in at 1.541 million head, so the reported value was slightly lower than anticipated. Texas placements were drastically lower, down 30.5% compared to last year. Placements of cattle into Kansas feedlots were higher in February, the only major feeding state to see an increase during the month. Across the U.S., lighter placements (those under 700 pounds) were much lower, while placements of cattle over 800 pounds were 2.9% higher versus last year. The average placement weight for February cattle was 724 compared to 714 last year and an average of 713 from 2010 to 2014.

Cattle marketed in February totaled 1.516 million head, down 2.1% versus last year and down 9.9% compared to the average from 2010 to 2014. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 2.6% lower than the same period last year.

The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.658 million head, down 1.2% versus March 1, 2014 and 4.1% lower than the five-year average.  Market analysts expected a 0.4% year-over-year decrease in cattle inventories.

A break down on the numbers can be found at this link: http://goo.gl/1M4YXv

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 13, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Fed cattle traded relatively steady this week, while dressed cattle were much higher. Both continued to see limited cash activity. The five-area fed steer price (which encompasses cash and formula priced cattle) ended the week at $157.87, live, and $250.00, dressed; respectively, up $2.91 and up $9.09. Kansas cattle sold at $161. Other regions did not report enough trade.

Steers in Mississippi auction markets were higher, while heifers were mostly lower. Lightweight steers (300-400 pounds) were up about $15-$20, Heavy steers (500-700) were up about $8-$12. Oklahoma City cattle were higher but no trend was called due to the limited trade from last week.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures were ended the week mildly higher. Live cattle futures were a touch lower. Both took a hit on Friday as limited cash trading has the market uncertain of where prices will move. Feeder prices were marching higher until Thursday and Friday as supplies — fresh off a sluggish week of trading due to winter weather last week — had buyers itching to start filling pastures.

Corn futures were mostly even this week. USDA released their monthly supply and demand report on Tuesday (Mar 10). Very little was changed in the report compared to last month. For more on the report CLICK HERE for Dr. Brian Williams’ commentary.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower. Choice boxes averaged $246.59, down $2.32. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $245.12, down $0.67.

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

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 06, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Those fed cattle that actually traded hands were mostly steady once again this week, however very little trade developed. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $157.87, live, and $250.00, dressed; respectively, up $1.18 and down $1.37. There was too little cash trades in state/regional markets to establish more local price levels.

Steers in Mississippi auction markets were steady to lower with very light (300-400 pounds) being down about $15 and middle weight (500-650) being down about $7. Four weight steers were up $2. Heifers in Mississippi were higher, with light weights up about $5 and heavy weight heifers up almost $20. Similar to fed trade, Oklahoma City experienced very limited sales this week as a result of winter weather. Total receipts in OKC registered 1,316 compared to 4,121 last week and 2,294 the previous year.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures were much stronger this week and live cattle futures contracts were mildly higher.After stalling a bit on Monday, both live and feeder markets surged on Tuesday and remained strong the rest of the week. Limited trade across some regions as a result of winter weather held feeders at bay early. However, outside of these areas, prices were higher as Spring and Summer grazers began to stock-up. On the live cattle front, light cash trade until Friday kept a lid on futures, but high wholesale beef prices were encouraging. Then, on Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced yet another strong month for job growth, a net gain of 295,000 jobs in February, while a separate survey revealed that the U.S unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 5.5%. The job growth was well above the average expectation of +235,000 and unemployment was expected to be 5.6%. Both provide support for beef demand.

Corn futures slid mildly lower and soybean prices were much lower. Prices for these two crops are under the microscope as farmers nail down their planting decisions. Soybeans have been losing ground, figuratively, as its price has slid more when compared to corn price the past few weeks.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were higher. Choice boxes averaged $248.91, up $3.63. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $245.79, up $2.30.

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

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Feb. 20, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Cash fed cattle were mostly steady once again this week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $159.99, live, and $256.36, dressed; respectively, down $0.50 and up $1.21. Cash trades in Kanas were reported at $160 for live cattle. In Nebraska, dressed sales were mostly $253-$258 during the week, while live sales came in at $159-$160. Limited trade in the Western Cornbelt was reported with prices at $160 and $253-$256, respectively, for live and dressed.

Feeder steers in Mississippi auction markets were $5-$10 lower and heifers were mostly $5 lower. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers were steady to $4 higher, while feeder heifers were steady. Heifer calves sold $5-$15 higher.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder and live cattle futures contracts were mostly steady throughout the week until Friday. Cash markets appeared to be holding the line and giving futures participants reason to do the same. Boxed beef prices added support as they moved slightly higher during the week. Friday brought about more bearish sentiment with regard to beef demand as the U.S. economy remains sluggish, while pork and chicken supplies look to be competitive. Friday afternoon USDA released their monthly inventory of cattle in feedlots. The report revealed 10.711 million head of cattle are in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or more. This was even with one year ago and on par with the no-change that was expected. Cattle placed into these feedlots throughout January totaled 1.787 million head, down 11%, which was slightly higher than the expected 14% decline. Cattle sold during January totaled 1.625 million head, down 9% and on par with pre-report expectations. (More on the report will be available soon.)

Corn futures ended the week lower. Most contracts stayed within a five cent per bushel range throughout the week.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were higher, and moved higher throughout the week. Choice boxes averaged $239.47, up $0.78. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $235.32, up $1.05.

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

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Feb 13, 2014

Cash Cattle:

For the most part, when assessing the changes from last week to this week, steadiness across all markets the over-arching theme. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $160.54, live, and $255.15, dressed; respectively, down $1.81 and up $3.15. Nebraska traded cattle at $255 and $160-$162, for dressed and live, respectively. Similarly, live sales were recorded at the same $160-$162 level. In the Western Cornbelt, dressed and live sales were reported, respectively, at $254-$255 and $157-$161.

Feeder steers in Mississippi auction markets were mixed but mostly steady, with the exception being heavy weight feeder steers. Heavy weight cattle ended the week $10 lower. Feeder heifers were steady. After a short anomaly, prices fell back in line with the typical relationship with futures as feeder basis for feeders shifted more negative. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were steady to $1 lower, while calves were $2-$5 higher.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Cattle futures ended the week steady (to slightly higher for feeder futures). Support stemmed mostly from steady cash cattle, strengthening beef prices during most of the week, and overall positive sentiment in the general economy.

Corn futures were two cents per bushel higher across contract months.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower, but moved mildly higher until the end of the week. Choice boxes averaged $238.69, down $3.06. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $234.27, down $0.83.

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

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Feb 06, 2014

Cash Cattle:

Cash fed cattle were mostly steady this week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $158.73, live, and $252, dressed; respectively, down $0.70 and up $1.93. Nebraska traded cattle at $255 and $161-$162.50, for dressed and live, respectively. In the Western Cornbelt, live and dressed sales were reported, respectively, at $254 and $161.

Feeder steers in Mississippi auction markets were higher, with heavy weight cattle ending the week $10-$20 higher. Feeder heifers were called $5-$20 lower. Interestingly, feeder basis improved this week indicating strength in the cash compared to futures markets (which were lower). In Oklahoma City, light feeder steers and heifers were $8-$12 higher, while heavy feeder steers were steady $4 higher.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Cattle futures ended the week lower. Last Friday’s inventory report indicated a ramping up in the beef herd. Despite the potential lag in the pipeline the market did not like the report and as a result prices moved lower early in the week. Improvements in the cash market for feeders and, at the very least, steadiness in the fed market stopped the decline. A much better than anticipated jobs report on Friday boosted futures markets.

Corn futures were higher. For more on the corn and soybean market, click here >> (CLICK HERE).

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower, but these prices typically slip at this time of the year. Choice boxes averaged $241.75, down $4.94. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $235.10, down $4.79.

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

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Jan 30, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Cash fed cattle were steady to lower to end the week. The five-area fed steers price ended the week at $159.43, live, and $250.07, dressed; respectively, down $0.08 and $5.96. Nebraska traded cattle at $254 and $$160-$60.50, for dressed and live, respectively. Thursday sales in Kansas were recorded at $159-$160 live.

Feeder steers in Mississippi auction markets were steady, feeder heifers were called $7.50-$15 lower, steer calves were $5-$25 lower, and heifer calves were mostly $2.50 lower during the week. Cull cows and bulls were $3 higher to $4 lower. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were $10-$15 lower, while calves traded mostly lower.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Cattle futures ended the week higher versus last week. Feeder contract prices were mostly $3 higher on all months except January. Live contracts were higher on all contracts traded through 2015.  Lower corn prices added incentive to bid up steer prices. The macro-economic picture remains a concern though. On Friday, USDA released their annual count of cattle in the U.S. and across states. The report revealed growth in the cattle industry and what looks to be continued to growth (for more information on the report CLICK HERE).

Corn futures were lower by the week’s end. For more on the market, click here >> (CLICK HERE).

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower, but these prices typically slip at this time of the year. Choice boxes averaged $246.69, down $10.16. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $239.89, down $8.75.

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

2015 Cattle Inventories

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released their annual cattle inventory report Friday afternoon (Jan 30). The report was highly anticipated given the continued shrinking herd size which was exacerbated in the past few years due to drought. While it was expected that the total number of beef cows would continue to shrink, industry participants and analyst were focused on the number of heifers held back for replacement as indication of rebuilding.

Cattle inventories increased in 2014. Keep in mind these numbers are a snap-shot in time of where the beef and dairy cattle herds are at in the United States. For example, the past few years have shown increases in heifer retention, only to see those heifers not remain on farms/ranches due to drought, market incentives, or other reasons. However, this report revealed both an increase in heifers held back for replacement as well as an increase in the beef cow herd. So, it appears that herd expansion has finally arrived.

The report revealed that the number of all cattle and calves in the U.S. total 89.80 million head on January 1, 2015. This represents an increase of 1.44% compared to one year ago. Analyst were expecting a 0.10% decline. The total number of beef cows in the U.S. totaled 29.693 million head, up 607,700 head or a 2.09% increase from last year. Pre-report expectations called for a 0.60% increase. Beef heifers held back for replacement totaled 5.78 million head, up 4.07% from a year ago but less than the 2.70% that was expected. All of these changes were higher than the most optimistic prediction.

The number of milk cows in the U.S. totaled 9.31 million head, up 1.08% from last year, and higher than the 0.50% increase that was expected. Milk replacement heifers totaled 4.615 million head, up 1.47% from a year ago, while analyst expected a slight increase of 0.30%.

Mississippi veered from the national sentiment as most inventories were lower than one year ago. The total number of all cattle and calves on January 1, 2015 came in at 910,000 head, down 2.15% compared to last year. The beef cow herd totaled 468,000, down 1.89%, and heifers held back for replacement totaled 95,000, a 4.40% jump. Steers and heifers (not for replacement) over 500 pounds totaled 61,000 and 35,000 head, respectively, down 1.61% and 18.60% compared to 2014. Mississippi’s milk cow herd totaled 12,000 head, a drop of 1,000 from last year.

To veiw details about the inventories click HERE.