Well, employees returned this week and therefore everything is back and running normally, well for the most part following a 16 day hiatus. Data will not be back reported for the time of the shutdown and remaining October reports are questionable as to whether or not they will be released.
Trading in the Southern Plains on Wednesday saw live sales at $129. Thursday, in Nebraska, live and dressed cattle sold at $129-$131 and $204, respectively. Similarly, in the Western Cornbelt, live and dressed were at $129 and $204.
Feeders in Mississippi this week ranged from $140-$160 and $130-$143, respectively for 600 to 700 pound steers and heifers. Calves were $165-$190 and $147-$160, respectively for 400 to 500 pound steers and heifers. Not surprisingly, compared to three weeks ago calves were much higher (approximately $8-$15 for steers and $3-$10 for heifers) while heavier calves were up about $10.
Both feeder and live cattle futures were making headway throughout the week until Thursday when prices rose and then fell. A lot of positive news started the day off with the U.S. congress passing measures to shore up the debt issues (for now) as well as a budget that brought federal workers back to their tasks. This pushed equities and futures markets much higher. However, the sentiment quickly fell apart and prices began to suffer as the market began to become nervous about beef demand in light of competition from other proteins. I suspect the flush cheeks and flittering hearts of traders that got swept up in the post shutdown market soon became nervous of too much happening too fast and then began pumping the brakes. A mild recovery was seen on Friday.
Corn prices finally ended the week in the black. The harvest has been underway for a few weeks in parts of the Midwest which was pressuring the market in light of an expected record breaking, bin busting crop.
There was not a full week’s worth of wholesale beef prices to report but based on data from Thursday and Friday Choice boxed beef averaged $195.72 and Select averaged $181.14. Both grades were roughly $3 higher than where prices were at in the final days of September.
Note: All cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel.