Cash cattle were lower by about one dollar this week, but trade was scarce. Feeders were reluctant to move cattle at these lower prices. In Kansas, live prices were called at $116/cwt. There were not enough sales in Texas or Nebraska for a trend to be called this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were $2-$4/cwt lower and calves were steady to $3/cwt lower. In Mississippi markets, steers and heifers were mixed; cull cows were $1-$4/cwt higher; bulls were $2-$5/cwt higher.
Excluding the now expired June contract, which finished at $116.55, live cattle futures improved and feeder cattle futures seemed to not know which direction to go. The blistering heat across much of the U.S. has cattle markets concerned now. A weather premium similar to what is happening in crop markets appears to be in place for cattle as well. Fears of lower gains and increased chance of death loss as a result of the weather pushed prices higher this week. Wholesale beef prices rallyed early in the week providing positive news, but dropped hard Friday.
Corn futures surged again this week. Friday’s Acreage and Grain Stocks reports from USDA were mostly in line with expectations, but continuing dry, hot weather and outside market forces pushed prices higher. The percentage of the U.S. crop rated poor and very poor increased from 9% the previous week to 14% this week. The U.S. dollar weakened on Friday which added to the positive tone. For more information on the Acreage report click here.
Wholesale beef prices dropped hard on Friday of this week but did move higher earlier. Choice wholesale beef finished with a weekly average of $196.58/cwt, down $0.87. Select ended the week at $179.80/cwt, down $0.58.