Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Nov. 22, 2013


Cash Cattle:

Cash cattle were mostly steady once again this week. The five-area live and dressed steer price finished the week at $130.45 and $206.45, respectively down $0.40 and up $1.45. Live cattle sales in the Texas Panhandle was called at $131 on Thursday. Kansas live trade registered $130 late in the week. In Nebraska, live and dressed cattle, respectively, sold at $130-$131.50 and $207. In the Western Cornbelt live cattle trade was reported at $130 and dressed cattle sold at $207.Most feeder steers in Oklahoma City sold steady this week with those over 800 pounds being $2-$3 higher. Feeder heifers were steady to a bit weaker and all calves were $3-$5 higher. In Mississippi auction markets this week feeders were mixed, with steers ranging from $1 lower to $10 higher and feeder heifers ranged from $5 lower to $10 higher. Calves were steady to $7 higher. Cull cows were $2-$3 higher and bulls were $1-$2 higher.

Futures:

Live cattle futures were under pressure early in the week before recovering some of their losses as the week closed.  Over the past two weeks cash markets have stagnated while wholesale beef prices have slid lower. This has created uneasiness amongst futures market traders. Even as cheaper corn late last week was seen as a positive for the industry, expectations of heavier cattle – as a result of the lower cost of gain – offset the jubilation. Prices moved higher as the week drew to a close, an indication that cattle futures may have moved too far south too quickly. Friday’s Cattle on Feed report revealed more cattle were placed onto feed last month leaving a few more available in the coming months than was expected. This could set a bearish tone to start the new Thanksgiving shortened week on Monday.

Corn finished the week just about even with last Friday’s close.The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal last Friday to reduce the mandated quantity of ethanol and other renewable fuels to be blended with gasoline sent the market in a nose dive. This sparked some interest from buyers which stabilized the market and then pushed it higher during the remainder of the week.

Beef:

Wholesale beef prices dropped all week. Choice beef averaged $199.28, down $2.97. Select averaged $187.63, down $0.87.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel.

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