Stronger boxed beef prices helped push cash fed cattle higher for the third week in a row. Live trade in the Texas Panhandle was at $120/cwt, while in Kansas live prices were $121/cwt. Nebraska live and dressed cattle traded at $120-$121/cwt and $190/cwt, respectively. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers were $3-$5/cwt higher and feeder heifers were $1-$3/cwt higher. Calves in OKC were $2-$5/cwt higher for steers and heifers were steady to $2/cwt higher. Mississippi feeders steers and heifers were called at $1-$5/cwt higher. Cull cows and bulls were steady.
Live cattle futures were mostly steady this week. After getting off to a strong start prices slid late in the week. The increase in beef prices late last week and continuing into this week provided a spark on Monday and the nearby contract reached it’s highest level since mid May. However, prices dropped hard in early trading on Thursday and even as the positive news flew in – strong export sales, weakening dollar, improving equities markets, higher boxed beef and higher cash fed cattle – it wasn’t enough to overcome the steep early losses.
Corn futures ended the week mostly even with last week and have been trading in a sideways pattern since late July. Prices dropped on Monday mostly due to weakness in crude and energy prices. Some supportive news related to the ethanol market hit Wednesday and provided an offsetting boost.
Wholesale beef prices took off this week. Last week’s prices were a solid improvement and the higher prices that started late last week and the trend continued into this week as prices jumped about $3/cwt on Monday for both Choice and Select. Prices continued to climb throughout the week. Choice wholesale beef finished with a weekly average of $190.23/cwt, up $8.77. Select ended the week up $7.54/cwt at $182.73.