Cash fed cattle were mostly steady this week as Friday’s five-area live price increased $0.63/cwt from last week. Texas and Kansas live prices were unchanged at $121/cwt. In Nebraska, live and dressed prices were called at $122/cwt and $195/cwt, respectively. Oklahoma City’s sale was not held on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. In Mississippi markets, steers were called mixed and heifers were steady. Cows and bulls were $2-$4/cwt higher in Mississippi.
Live cattle futures were modestly higher if not mostly steady this week. Stable cash prices and improved boxed beef prices added support. On the other hand, weakness in macro economic indicators here in the U.S. and abroad continue to weigh on consumers, which means uncertainty for beef demand.
Feeder cattle futures were lower despite steady live futures, higher beef and lower corn. Wednesday’s tumble on Wall Street pushed feeder futures sharply lower. Prices moved higher the remainder of the week but not enough to overcome the steep loses from Wednesday’s trade.
Corn futures were split this week as the old crop July contract took a beating while the new crop December contract finished only slightly lower – September is often on the cusp of being an old crop or new crop and with the ahead of schedule crop this year it will fall into the new crop category. Improved yields in South America and a stronger U.S. dollar both spell trouble for the export market. Also, lower crude oil prices and lower equity prices added pressure. The new crop December contract took all this in better stride benefitting from the weather concerns on the current crop in the fields. Weather conditions are forecast to improve over the next two weeks and if that happens corn users can breath a sigh of relief, for now.
Wholesale beef prices were higher again this week. Choice prices jumped a little more than $1/cwt on Wednesday and slowly moved higher the remainder of the week. The average price for Choice carcasses were at $196.83/cwt, up $1.95. Select jumped as well but fell on Friday ending the week at $186.93/cwt, up $0.24.