Cash fed cattle were roughly $1-$2 lower this week. As has been the case more often than not lately, too few cash (negotiated) trades had occurred by early Friday for reports to call a trend. The five area live and dressed steer prices were, respectively, $122.42 and $194.22, down $1.10 and $1.79.
Oklahoma City’s calf sale was not held this week due to the Labor Day holiday. 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 ended the holiday shortened week lower. Depressed cash cattle prices with only steady Choice beef prices (but lower Select) closed the week. Macro economic concerns dominated the week as the Syrian conflict continues to rattle markets and on Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 169,000 jobs were added in August (analysts had guessed 175,000 would be added). The unemployment rate ticked down 0.1 percentage points to 7.3%, however many noted the reason was that fewer individuals are actively seeking employment.
Corn futures finished lower. The first trading day of the week (Tuesday) saw markets much higher, but by the time it closed for the day they had completely engulfed the previous Friday’s trading range and finished lower. Following that, prices drifted lower the remainder of the week. Weather concerns drove the market up early Tuesday but that fell apart quickly and pushed prices higher. Given that harvest is underway in the southern region of the U.S. (moving as far north as the southern Cornbelt) tells me that a weather premium might not be much of a premium anymore and that appears to be what played out this week.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were mixed again this week. Choice steadied out and finished with a weekly average of $195.9, up $0.03. Select was much lower and ended with an average of $181.79, down $2.22.
Note: Unless otherwise stated prices for cattle and beef are dollars per hundredweight and corn is quoted in dollars per bushel.