Fed cattle prices continue to drift higher. This week prices improved another $2/cwt for live and about $4/cwt for dressed. In the Southern Plains live cattle sold at $127/cwt. In Nebraska, live and dressed cattle traded at $126-$128/cwt and $197-$198/cwt, respectively. Iowa and Minnesota cattle sold at $125-$126/cwt and $198/cwt, respectively, for live and dressed. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were steady to $1-$3/cwt higher, steer calves were $2-$6/cwt higher and heifer calves were steady. Feeder steers and heifers were steady in Mississippi auctions this week, while slaughter cows and bulls were mixed.
Live cattle futures prices were up and down this week and finished in negative territory. Excluding the about to expire October 2o12 contract, which was $0.80/cwt lower than last Friday’s close, contracts were down more on front months compared to more distant contract months. For example, December 2012 was off by just over $2/cwt compared to last Friday while June and August 2013 were down a little more than $1/cwt. Last week’s Cattle on Feed report once again showed tightening supplies in about four to six months but the near-term supply is on par with year ago levels. Therefore, current prices will remain under pressure and will focus more on demand while more distant prices will be concerned more with limited supplies. Feeder cattle futures were lower each day excluding Wednesday taking its cues from live futures prices as opposed to corn, since corn moved lower this week as well.
Corn futures were lower this week. There was not much news that directly impacted corn this week and prices tended to trade on news of outside markets. Stocks and equities were lower much of the week which pressured most all agricultural commodities and the U.S. dollar strengthened which typically limits exports. Crude oil also slipped which slows ethanol demand. Soybean prices surged and occasionally buoyed corn prices, but other market factors trumped these attempts.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were higher again this week. Choice finished with a weekly average of $198.49/cwt, up $2.84. Select beef averaged $182.21/cwt for the week, up $1.90.