Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Dec 21, 2012

This will be the final newsletter of 2012. I sincerely hope that you and your families have a wonderful Christmas holiday and a happy start to 2013. It has been a pleasure to provide these few tid-bits of information throughout the year. I will return in two weeks (or three depending on how hectic the holidays are for the Riley’s). As always, I enjoy any feedback (positive or negative) that you may have and feel free to contact me if you ever need anything related to market information… Happy Holidays!

Cash Cattle:

Cash fed cattle were about $2/cwt higher this final week before heading into Christmas and 2013. The 5-area live fed price was $2.32/cwt above last Friday’s price. Fed cattle traded at $126/cwt on Thursday in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In Nebraska live and dressed cattle sold at $126/cwt and $200-$202/cwt, respectively. In Iowa/Minnesota trade, live sales were from $125-$129/cwt and dressed sales were $200-$202/cwt. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were $3-$5/cwt higher, while steer and heifer calves were $5-$8/cwt higher. Feeder steers and heifers were steady in Mississippi auctions this week, while slaughter cows and bulls were $1-$2/cwt higher.


Live cattle futures finished the week mixed with the soon to expire December contract adding $2.38/cwt. Gains were lower as the expiration month moved further out and contracts in the final months of 2013 lost value compared to last week. The week started strong on the heels of last week. Then, on Wednesday, a new high for the April contract was seen and other contract months were higher as well. However, declining Choice beef prices throughout the week weighed on the market. Some positioning ahead of Friday afternoon’s Cattle on Feed report was also in play throughout the week as well. The report revealed that 11.328 million head of cattle were in feedlots as of Dec. 1, down 6.03% from last year and in-line with the average expectation of 6.60% lower. Placements came in higher than expected at 1.923 million head during November, down 5.6% from a year ago, but analyst had the number pegged at an 8.8% drop.

Corn futures were lower this week. Diminishing demand is the leading culprit for the drop. Exports continue to disappoint, ethanol use was lower on the week and feedlots have shown a slight shift toward wheat feeding of late. All of this has lead to smaller end use for corn. Friday’s action was in positive territory though as concerns over Argentina’s production took center stage.


Wholesale boxed beef prices were mixed this week as Select gained on Choice and thus narrowed the spread. Choice finished with a weekly average of $193.50/cwt, down $1.54, and Select finished at $176.07, up $1.28. This narrowed the Choice-to-Select spread to $17.43, down from $20.25/cwt last week.


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