Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower again this week. Choice finished with a weekly average of $183.07/cwt, down $0.24, and Select finished at $179.55/cwt, down $0.48.
Cash trade was light this week and prices were lower by about $2/cwt for both live and dressed. On Thursday, in both the Southern Plains (Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas) and Northern Plains (Kansas/Nebraska), trade was at $123/cwt on a live basis and in Nebraska dressed cattle were at $196/cwt. These were the same prices reported in the Western Corn Belt for live and dressed cattle. The five-area price was lower at $122.79 on a live basis compared to $126.52 last week and at $195.86/cwt versus $198.41 last week for dressed.
Feeder steers were $3-$4/cwt lower and heifers were $2-$3/cwt lower in Oklahoma City. Calves were called steady to $2/cwt lower. In Mississippi auction markets feeder steers and heifers were steady. Cull cows were mixed and bulls sold steady.
Live cattle futures ended the week mostly steady with last Friday’s close, but drifted lower mid-week before rallying the last two days. Monday opened lower before turning the corner and ending the day in positive territory. Then, general economic concerns crept into the market and pushed prices lower Tuesday and Wednesday. Many felt the market had reached a low and either buying or short covering (buying a previously sold contract) along with the longer term supply concerns aided prices to finish the week. Feeder futures were lower on the week due to the mid-week weakness for live cattle futures and the lower feeder cash markets.
Corn futures prices finished mildly lower this week. Carry-over from last Friday’s down market was seen Monday as soybeans were under pressure and exports were weak. Storms across much of the U.S., especially those areas in need of rain, added to the pressure in the grain pits this week.