Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Apr 19, 2013


Cash Cattle:

Cash cattle sales were very light this week. In the Southern Plains (Texas Panhandle and SW Kansas) live cattle traded at $126/cwt. Similarly, in Nebraska, limited movement was reported at $126/cwt and $201-$202/cwt for live and dressed sales, respectively. Trade was too low in the Western Cornbelt to call any trends. The five-area fed price finished Friday at  $125.27/cwt versus $127.23/cwt last Friday.

In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were $3-$6/cwt lower and calves were $2-$4/cwt lower in OKC.  In Mississippi auction markets feeder steers and heifers were $3-$8/cwt lower, while cull cows and bulls were $2-$4/cwt lower.

Futures:

Live cattle futures ended the week mixed with nearby contracts closing higher, while more distant months were lower. A weaker U.S. dollar added some support early in the week and most all commodities benefitted. Higher Choice boxed beef and a sharp premium for cash cattle (i.e., strong basis) helped bring the front month contracts up. More cold weather ended the week on a sour note leaving most sane folks indoors and away from their grills. More sor news came in after markets closed as the monthly USDA Cattle on feed report was on the bearish side. Placements were well above expectations, but marketings were higher helping to offset the inflow of cattle. More information can be found in the summary here.

Corn futures finished mostly steady. The lower dollar provided support early in the week. Rains continue to help soil moisture conditions, but they also keep planters from rolling. Planting progress will be a vital metric of corn prices for the next few weeks. Wet and cold weather this spring have not helped in establishing a good start to the season.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower this week but Select, once again, dropped at a steeper pace than Choice thus pushing the spread between the two higher. This is common at this time of year as grilling season continues to gain steam. Choice finished with a weekly average of $190.51/cwt, down $0.09, and Select finished at $18.04/cwt, down $1.40.

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