Live cash trade was slow to develop this week. In Texas and Kansas, live prices were at $125/cwt by Friday. In Nebraska, live and dressed cattle sold at $125/cwt and $200/cwt, respectively. Trade in the Western Cornbelt was at $124-$125/cwt and $200 for live and dressed respectively. The five-area price was higher at $126.52/cwt on a live basis and at $198.41/cwt for dressed.
Light feeder steers and heifers were steady in Oklahoma City, while 800 pound and up cattle were $1-$3/cwt lower. Calves were called steady to $3/cwt higher. In Mississippi auction markets feeder steers were $2-$5/cwt higher and feeder heifers were steady. Cull cows were steady and bulls sold $1-$2/cwt higher.
Live cattle futures remain in a state of flux. Short-term demand cannot seem to find any footing. The snow storm that has hit the Northeast is yet another instance where beef consumption will likely take a hit. Longer-term, limited supplies should under-pin prices further out. However, the market is reluctant to support this fundamental idea until some semblance of steady-to-improving beef demand is established.
Corn futures prices finished lower this week. For the most part, prices slid each day. Continued weakness in the export market showed up early in the week and then again on Friday with the release of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. The report increased corn carry-over from 602 million bushels to 632 largely due to slower exports. Pre-report expectations looked for a 618 million ending stock number. A stronger dollar mid week added to the weak export mind-set. The higher than expected ending stock number and a sharply lower soybean market pushed prices much lower on Friday.
Wholesale boxed beef prices continued to slide lower with Choice once again dropping at a faster pace than Select. Choice finished with a weekly average of $183.31/cwt, down $2.52, and Select finished at $180.03/cwt, down $0.65.