Cattle Market Notes – Week of May 11, 2012

Cash Cattle:

Cash fed cattle were slow to move this week and so no trends were called.  The five-area cash price finished the week at $120.88, mostly steady with last week’s price of $120.16.  In Oklahoma City, both feeders and calves were called $1-$3/cwt higher for all classes.  In Mississippi marktes, feeder steers were $2-$10/cwt higher and feeder heifers were $2-$5/cwt higher.  Slaughter cows were $1-$3/cwt higher and bulls were steady in Mississippi.


Live cattle futures were down slightly on the week with nearby contracts ending close to last week’s close and more distant month’s were down a bit more.  Prices seemed to be on a roller-coaster moving up one day and down the next.  Losses were greatest on Friday as wholesale beef moved lower and news of JP Morgan’s $2 billion losses were digested.

Corn futures were lower on the week as the market was rocked on Thursday following USDA’s supply/demand report.  One day earlier, on Wednesday, markets dropped on pre-report positioning and demand concerns.  Then on Thursday USDA revealed more corn carry-over from 2011 to this year than expected – 851 million bushels versus 758 expected – as well as more projected corn carry-over for the upcoming marketing year (more detail on the report is here).


Wholesale beef prices were lower.  Choice prices were only down $0.29/cwt at $190.37, but took a sharp dip on Thursday after topping out at $191.51/cwt on Wednesday.  Select was down a bit more at $184.71/cwt, down $1.66.

Beef Supply and Demand Recap:

Beef production was projected higher compared to last month’s estimates from USDA, 25.19 billion pounds versus 25.04 in April, based on increased dressed weights and a higher pace of cow slaughter.  Production estimates for 2013 were revealed for the first time in this month and showed a decline from 2012 production by almost 500 million pounds at 24.565.  Per capita consumption of beef was revised slightly higher to 55.8 pounds/person compared to 55.4 in April due to the larger 2012 production and lighter consumption projections.  Per capita consumption is expected to be lower in 2013, 54.5 pounds/person, largely due to the limited supplies.

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