Cash cattle sold mostly steady this week. The five-area live and dressed steer price finished the week at $132.19 and $209.07, respectively, down 10 cents and up $1.27. Trading in the Southern Plains was called at $132. In Nebraska, live and dressed cattle sold at $132 and $207-$208, respectively. Similarly, in the Western Cornbelt, live and dressed were at $130-$132 and $208.
Feeder steers in Oklahoma City sold steady to $2 lower early in the week, while steer calves and all heifers sold steady. In Mississippi sales this week, feeder steers were mostly steady and steer calves were $5-$7 higher; feeder heifers were steady and calves were $5-$15 higher; cull cows and bulls were $1-$3 lower; and replacement females were steady to $200 per head lower.
It was a roller-coaster ride this week with cattle futures. Contracts started the week higher following last Friday’s dive. Higher boxed beef prices and some mild expectations that cash prices would improve led the way. As beef prices leveled off and drifted lower and cash prices came in steady with the previous week, markets tanked. Outside markets were the proverbial straw that landed on the back of the market. The Fed indicated that it could begin pulling back on it’s infusions as early as next month and that pushed equity markets lower. October’s Cattle on Feed report (released Thursday afternoon) was somewhat bullish but that was not enough to curtail the sell-off Friday as growing inventories of beef in the freezer (via the Cold Storage report) likely offset the good from the on feed report.
Corn prices fell back once again as harvest and promising crop conditions continue to pressure the market.
Wholesale boxed beef prices started strong through midweek before leveling off. Choice beef averaged $204.56, up $4.47. Select averaged $188.99, up $4.86. This left the spread mostly unchanged at $15.58.
Note: All cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel.