Cattle Market Notes – Week of Mar 23, 2012


Cash Cattle:
Cash fed cattle movement continues to be sluggish.  Live sales in the Southern Plains were called at $126/cwt on Wednesday.  On Wednesday in Nebraska, live sales were at $127-$128/cwt and dressed trade was at $203-$204/cwt.  In Oklahoma City, feeder steers were steady and feeder heifers were steady to $2/cwt lower.  Calves in OKC were steady to $3/cwt higher for steers and steady to $2/cwt higher for heifers.  Feeder steers and heifers in Mississippi markets were called steady, while slaughter cows were $1-$2/cwt higher and bulls were steady.

Futures:
Live and feeder cattle futures were lower again this week. Wholesale beef prices moved lower each day this week for both Choice and Select carcasses, which did not bode well for cattle futures.  The fact that there was limited news filtering in from cash fed trade provided zero support to live futures and the steady to lower move early in the week in cash feeder markets did the same for feeder futures.  Prices tried to move higher late in the week on increased export sales news and a positive weekly jobs report but these did little to stem the losses.

Corn futures were lower on the week.  Losses were large both Monday and Tuesday before slowing a bit on Wednesday and then moving into positive territory to close the week.  The gains late in the week could not overcome the early week losses. Reports of early planting in portions of the lower Corn Belt.  The early planting is expected to be a positive for yields this year.  Improvements in outside markets and exchange rates aided the late week bounce.

Beef:
Wholesale beef prices were lower for the third week in a row and moved lower each day of the week.  Prices have slid $8.89/cwt for Choice and $6.45/cwt for Select since peaking the week of March 2.  Choice finished the week at $189.62/cwt, down $1.62 from last week.  Select ended the week at $188.11/cwt, down $1.70.

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