I’m not certain what is worse right now, being a New Orleans Saints fan or a cattle industry participant! Neither seem to be fairing well in the media these days.
Cash cattle prices this week were lower compared to last week. One can only assume that the news of a dairy cow with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) on Tuesday was not how feeders wanted to start the week off. Despite the unfavorable start markets faired well as the week progressed compared to the three previous cases confirmed in the U.S. On Thursday, sales in the Southern Plains were called at $119/cwt in the Texas Panhandle and $119-$120/cwt in Kansas. Nebraska live and dressed trade was reported at $121.50/cwt and $194/cwt, respectively, on Friday. Feeder steers and heifers in Oklahoma City were called steady. Stockers were steady to $2/cwt higher. OKC sales on Monday and Tuesday which was before the news broke of the cow with BSE. This was most likely a blessing given, what appears to be, a short shelf life of this potentially damaging story. Mississippi feeders finished the week steady as did cull cows and bulls. Collective sales in Mississippi on Monday and Tuesday were called steady, while sales on Wednesday and Thrusday were called mixed to lower.
Live cattle futures were rocked on Tuesday with news of a dairy cow in California testing positive for BSE. The news sent live cattle futures limit lower ($3/cwt) on all 2012 contracts; however 2013 contracts did not fall as hard. Live futures rebounded about $1/cwt on Wednesday as it appeared that the negative news would not have detrimental ramifications on trade or domestic demand. Thursday markets were lower as exports cooled (these data were for the week ended April 19, thus not involving impacts of the BSE case).
Feeder futures were hit with a double whammy as live cattle futures were lower and corn futures were higher.
Corn futures were higher this week. Strong export data released on Thursday pushed prices up about $0.44/bu on the nearby contract and the bullish sentiment carried over into Friday.
Wholesale beef prices were higher again this week. Choice boxed beef averaged $190/cwt this week, up $3.42 from last week. Select boxed beef averaged $186.58/cwt this week, up $2.00 from last week.
BSE Case: More detailed information on the BSE news from Tuesday and market implications are available in my blog post here.