Cash cattle were lower again this week. Cash fed cattle were called at mostly $2-$3/cwt lower compared to last week. In Texas, live prices were called at $116/cwt. In Nebraska, live and dressed prices were called at $115.50-$116/cwt and $188-$190/cwt, respectively. Despite the falling prices trade was light, but look for packers to start shoring up purchases next week to take advantage of the low prices in advance of the Independence holiday. Oklahoma City feeder steers and heifers were $2-$4/cwt lower; steer calves were $1-$4/cwt lower; heifer calves were $3-$5/cwt lower. In Mississippi markets, steers and heifers were steady, while cull cows and bulls were $1-$5/cwt lower.
Live cattle futures barely improved, while feeder cattle futures suffered as a result of higher corn prices. Prices began the week drifting higher but boke mid-week and fell hard Thursday along with all commodity and equity markets. On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 250.82 points, it’s second worse decline in 2012 on somber domestic and global reports. It is feared that proposed measures in the European Union will not be enough and, to make matters worse, the world’s bright spot -China- reported weakening manufacturing productivity. The positive spin on this was crude oil futures dropping below $80 per barrel. Cash prices are still at a premium to futures, which has helped hold futures up thus far, but they have been dropping the past few weeks. Cash prices typically fall as we move further into the sumer so, as the June contract sets to expire next week, expect the trend to continue.
Corn futures were on fire this week following Monday’s Crop Progress report that, once again, showed the condition of the crop deteriorating. The pull back across all markets on Thursday impacted corn as well. The concern on the current (2012) crop are evident in the moves made by the nearby (July) and harvest (December) contract prices, where December gained about 50 cents/bushel compared to only 10 cents for the July contract.
Wholesale beef prices slid just a bit this week. Choice wholesale beef finished mostly steady with a weekly average of $197.45/cwt, down $0.37. Select ended the week at $180.38/cwt, down $1.82.