Cash fed cattle were steady to $1 lower this week. Trading in the Southern Plains was steady at $123. Nebraska live and dressed sales were $1 lower respectively at $124 and $195-$196. The five-area live cash prices finished at $123.69, up $0.25, and dressed finished at $196.01, down $1.64.
Oklahoma City feeder steers were $1-$3 lower and feeder heifers were steady to $2 lower early in the week. Calf volume at OKC remain too limited to call a trend. Mississippi feeder steers were $1-$2 higher and feeder heifers were mixed. Steer calves were mixed but mostly higher and heifer calves were mixed but mostly lower. Cows and bulls were steady.
Live and feeder cattle futures started the week much higher in early trading on Monday. Prices drifted lower throughout the day as corn prices rose, especially feeders. Feeder futures rebounded during the week with corn declining. Live cattle futures mildly and slowly recovered from Monday’s decline. Friday brought about the release of two noteworthy economic reports. Personal spending, a measure of Americans’ spending on various household, personal, or durable goods, increased 0.1% in July compared to June according to the Commerce Department. Analysts had expected a 0.2% increase. Secondly, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment declined to 82.1% in August from 85.1% in July, a four-month low. Analysts had expected 80.5. So, even thought the sentiment result beat expectations, both reports are concerning following very strong and positive reports last month.
Corn futures finished higher this week but the result is a bit misleading. Contracts started the week gapped higher following recent reports from crop tours. While the corn crop will not be as spectacular as earlier expected, much of the concern is with soybeans. Corn had been following on soybeans’ coattails most of last week and early on Monday but that relationship began to break apart and corn moved lower the remainder of the week, thus the misleading week-to-week result.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were mixed this week. Choice continued to climb, albeit marginally and finished with a weekly average of $195.91, up $0.25. Select ended with an average of $184.01, down $0.95. This pushed the spread between the two quality grades higher to $11.90.
Note: Unless otherwise stated prices for cattle and beef are dollars per hundredweight and corn is quoted in dollars per bushel.