Cash trade ended the week mostly steady with last week’s trade. Live cattle in Texas sold at $120-121.50/cwt, while Kansas live cattle traded at $122/cwt. In Nebraska, live and dressed cattle traded at $123-$124.50/cwt and $199-$200/cwt, respectively. Feeder cattle in Oklahoma City were $2-$5/cwt higher and claves were steady. In Mississippi markets, feeder steers and heifers were $2-$5/cwt higher. Slaughter bulls were steady and cows were called $1-$2/cwt higher.
Live cattle futures ended the week down slightly compared with last week’s close. Prices moved sideways or higher most days, but a sharp decline on Wednesday – as many commodity prices slipped – led to the negative ending for the week. Sour news related to jobs pushed equities lower on Wednesday, which fueled the bearish tone for commodities.
Feeder cattle futures were higher this week. Improved cash feeder markets sparked the rally, which was aided by stronger wholesale beef prices, higher live cattle most days of the week and by lower corn prices.
Corn futures were lower on the week as old crop contracts continue to suffer more than new crop prices. Old crop contracts are still above the $6/bu mark but have shed about 60 cents over the past month.
Wholesale beef prices improved sharply this week. Choice boxed beef averaged $185.12/cwt on the week, up $7.33. Select boxed beef averaged $183.12/cwt, up $5.92. The lean, finely textured beef headlines have subsided for now and evidence appears to show the results in trim prices. Fresh 50% lean ground beef jumped a little more than $15/cwt this week. Also, have we transitioned into preparations for grilling season? The jury is still out as it is tough to put much faith into one week of prices, but the strong rebound in wholesale beef prices should be viewed as a positive.