Cash fed cattle were lower this week. Texas and Kansas live prices were at $121/cwt on Wednesday. In Nebraska, live and dressed prices were called at $121-$123/cwt and $194/cwt, respectively, on Thursday. In Oklahoma City, feeders steers and heifers were called $2-$6/cwt higher; steer calves were also $2-$6/cwt higher; while heifer calves were steady to $2/cwt higher. In Mississippi markets, all cattle were steady with the prior week’s trade.
Live cattle futures were lower this week. Despite a bullish Cattle on Feed report released last Friday, the market closed lower on Monday (though were higher early in the day). Tuesday marked the release of the monthly Cold Storage report which showed frozen beef inventories in April climbing to 517.528 million pounds, up 17% versus last year and up 3% compared to March 2012. This pushed prices sharply lower. Weak economic news on Friday both in the U.S. and overseas added more pressure. On the bright side, wholesale cash beef markets jumped this week, while both corn and crude oil futures declined.
Corn futures were lower as well this week. Increasing temperatures and dryness across much of the Corn Belt is starting worry some, which helped deferred 2012 contracts. China’s canceled orders on Wednesday along with more bearish news in Thursday’s weekly export report pushed all corn contracts down near limit. The weak macroeconomic news that beat up cattle futures on Friday also knocked old crop contracts but did not phase new crop contracts.
Wholesale beef prices were higher this week. The surge that started last Friday spilled over into this week before cooling off on Friday. The average price for Choice carcasses were at $194.88/cwt, up $3.43 and Select averaged $186.69/cwt, up $0.64.