Cattle Market Notes – Week of Feb 24, 2012

Cash Cattle:
Cash fed cattle trade came to screeching halt this week after last week’s strong advance. Bids and asks were about $6/cwt apart on Friday afternoon.  In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were $2-$5/cwt higher, steer calves were $4-$8/cwt lower, and heifer calves were $3-$10/cwt higher.  Feeder steers were $2-$10/cwt higher and heifers sold $2-$6/cwt higher in Mississippi markets. Mississippi cull cows were steady and bulls were $1-$3/cwt higher.

Nearby live futures were lower this holiday shortened week while late summer and fall contracts were steady. Prices were higher early in the week following last week’s momentum and increased boxed beef, but sentiment moved to concerns about beef demand in the face of higher retail prices (and increasing fuel prices as well).  The weakness of nearby versus deferred contracts speaks to the current supply conditions. There will be more cattle in feedlots for the next few months due to liquidations across much of the drought stricken southern U.S.; however, once these are marketed the number of available cattle will likely be limited. There could likely be an influx of cattle from Mexico – as has been experienced in the past – but it is doubtful that these will fill the supply line adequately. Feeder futures were lower across most contract months on the week as a result of lower fed cattle futures.

Corn futures were lower on the week. Impacts of USDA’s Outlook Conference continue to weigh on the market. USDA is expecting planted acres and production to higher this upcoming growing season which will help alleviate the supply crunch currently gripping the market. Corn futures were moderately higher the remainder of the week but could not overcome the depressed start.

Wholesale beef prices were higher again this week.  Both Choice and Select made large gains on Monday and Tuesday before leveling off a bit. Choice finished the week at $195.42/cwt, up $6.38 from last week.  Select ended the week at $191.71/cwt, up $7.66.


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