Cash cattle sales were light through Friday afternoon. The five-area live fed steer price ended the week at $123.40.cwt, down $1.41 from last week, and the dressed price was down even more at $195.80/cwt, down $3.26. Cash market cattle in the Western Cornbelt did see some action at $196/cwt dressed.
Feeder steers and heifers in Oklahoma City were $3-$6/cwt above two week ago levels. In Mississippi auction markets feeder steers were steady to $4/cwt higher and feeder heifers were steady to $4/cwt lower. Steer calves were steady and heifer calves were $3-$12/cwt lower in Mississippi markets. Cull cows were steady and bulls were $2/cwt lower.
Live cattle futures finished the week lower. Losses were lower as the contract month moved further out, with the nearby June down $1.35 on the week, while February was off only $0.20/cwt. Prices slid most of the week in spite of the improved consumer sentiment. Declining boxed beef prices and a lack of cash trade set the tone early. Mid week news that Memorial holiday weekend retail beef sales were lackluster added to the negative market. Key areas suffered cold and wet weather over that weekend which likely kept grills covered. The cold, wet spring is something the beef industry can not seem to shake. Friday brought about the release of the May jobs report from the Bureau of Labor. The report revealed 175,000 jobs were added in May but that unemployment grew from 7.5% in April to 7.6% at the end of May.
Corn futures finished mostly steady. Planting is very near complete and condition ratings are currently pegged at 63% good or excellent. Expectations are surfacing for the upcoming supply/demand report (to be released Wednesday June 12). Many are looking for a four to five million acre drop in corn acres as a result of the dismal spring weather that pushed planting back.
Wholesale boxed beef prices continue to drop. Choice finished with a weekly average of $204.21/cwt, down $4.11, and Select finished at $184.46/cwt, down $4.68.