Fed cattle were called $2-$3/cwt higher this week and the regional five-area live and dressed price was up $4.11/cwt and $5.93/cwt, respectively. Cattle in the Southern Plains traded at $127/cwt on Thursday. In Nebraska live and dressed sales were respectively at $126-$128 and $195/cwt on Thursday as well. Western Cornbelt live cattle sold at $125/cwt and dressed were at $195/cwt. After a week off, steers – both feeders and calves – in Oklahoma City were steady to $2/cwt higher, while all heifers were steady with two weeks ago. Feeder steers in Mississippi auction this week were steady and feeder heifers were mixed. Cull cows and bulls were steady in Mississippi.
Live cattle futures benefitted from the higher cash market mid-week and saw prices move sharply higher. The week started with live futures sliding lower. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of bond buying in an attempt to stave off any drift back toward recession. That move pushed equity markets higher. This coupled with improved cash fed prices, lower corn prices and a weaker US dollar spurred cattle futures. The higher prices led some traders to ‘take their marbles and go home’ as the week ended in a sell-off.
Corn futures were hit mid-week following the monthly USDA supply/demand report. The report came in higher than analysts had expected with per acre yield now being forecast at 122.8 bushles, compared to an expected 120.6 bu/ac and 2012 production at 10.727 billion bushels compared to a 10.403 pre-report expectation. Feed corn use was raised by 75,000 bushels and exports were lowered by 50,000 bushles, while all other use categories were unchanged, thus total use was raised by 25,000. The ahead of schedule corn crop did allow some early harvested acres in the southern U.S. to be counted toward last marketing year, which raised the carry-over into the current marketing year. The higher carry-in and higher than expected production left 2012/13 ending stocks at 733 million bushels, comapred to an expected 618, and stocks versus use is currently projected at 6.5%. The report pushed futures prices lower, but there was some recovery as the week closed due to the boost in the general economy.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were mixed this week as Choice beef improved and Select was lower. Despite the actual calculated changes, overall beef prices were mostly steady with last wek as Choice finished with a weekly average of $191.50/cwt, up $0.53. Select beef was $1.48/cwt lower than last week at $180.04.