Cash market trades were about $1 lower this week in Nebraska at $197, but other cash markets were not called. The five-area cash steer price ended the week lower at $123.44 on a live basis, down $0.44 from last week, while dressed sales averaged $197.65, up $0.79.
In Oklahoma City, feeder steers were $1-$3 higher and feeder heifers were steady to $1 higher. In Mississippi auction markets feeder steers were steady, steer calves were $2 lower to $2 higher, feeder heifers were $3-$5 higher, and heifer calves were $1-$7 higher. Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady.
Most live and feeder cattle futures contracts started the week fairly steady before turning lower on Thursday and Friday. Lower cash market transactions added pressure on both days and weakness from outside markets on Wednesday and Friday did not help matters. After markets closed on Friday USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service released their monthly Cattle on Feed report. The report revealed fewer cattle placed into feedlots (much less than anticipated) and more cattle marketed during July. As a result feedlot inventories on August 1 were at 10.026 million head, 5.9% fewer than this time last year and almost 2% lower than expected (a detailed recap of the report can be found here).
Corn futures perked up this week, mostly following on the coat tails of soybean futures. Crop assessments for soybeans show signs of smaller than expected yields. Up to this point, the corn crop is shaping up to be the largest on record. Mississippi is just now harvesting at full steam, behind schedule like the remainder of the U.S., keeping a small cloud over the lofty expectations.
Wholesale boxed beef prices continued to move higher in advance of the Labor Day weekend. Choice carcasses finished the week $3.53 higher at $195.66. Select’s finished mostly steady at $184.96, up $0.37.
Note: Unless noted otherwise, all prices quoted are dollars per hundredweight for cattle and beef and dollars per bushel for corn.