The five-area live price was at $124.79/cwt on Friday compared to $126.22 last week and similarly the dressed price was a few dollars lower at $199.76/cwt compared to $202.74. In Panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma, live cattle sold at $125/cwt on Thursday. Trade in Kansas on Friday came in at $125-$125.50/cwt on a live basis. Nebraska live and dressed cattle sold at $125.50/cwt and $200-$202/cwt, respectively. Western Cornbelt live prices were reported at $125, while dressed came in at $198-$202.
Feeders in Oklahoma City were mixed with heavy steers and all feeder heifers being steady to $2/cwt higher, while feeders under 800 pounds were steady to $2/cwt lower. Calves in OKC were $2/cwt lower. In Mississippi auction markets this week all steer cattle were lower about $2-$5/cwt and heifers were mixed. Cull cows in Mississippi were steady to $1/cwt lower and bulls were $2-$5/cwt higher.
Live cattle futures slid lower this week. The nearby contract worked higher early before dropping. Deferred contracts slid all week long. This happened in spite of record setting boxed beef prices. Cash fed cattle moved lower adding pressure. Finally, USDA released their monthly Cattle on Feed and traders were looking for a sharp year-over-year jump in April placements, which likely added to the negative tone. Placements ended slightly higher than expected but the total number on feed was only 0.3 percentage points lower than expected (more here).
Old crop corn futures gained and new crop futures fell. A stronger U.S. dollar added some pressure. Mostly, improved weather likely had planters rolling.
Choice boxed beef soared to $209.51 this Friday setting records along the way. Retailers are gearing up for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday which helped spur purchases in hopes that warmer temps will draw consumers outdoors to their grills. The weekly average for Choice beef was $207.49/cwt, up $4.17, and Select finished with a weekly average of $192.33/cwt, up $1.78.