Cash fed cattle were down by about $1-$2 in this week’s trade. The five-area live steer price finished the week at $130.16, down $1.73. Live cattle sales in the Texas Panhandle and Southwest Kansas was called at $131. Limited trade was reported in Nebraska with a few live and dressed cattle transactions respectively at $130-$131 and $206-$207. In the Western Cornbelt live and dresses cattle trade was even with last week at $132 and $209, respectively.Oklahoma City canceled their calf and feeder sale this week due to inclement weather. In Mississippi auction markets this week feeder steers were mostly steady and calves were higher from $3-$5. Feeder heifers were mixed and heifer calves were $1-$5 higher. Cull cows were steady while bulls were down $1-$6.
Live cattle futures were mixed most of the week and closed lower Friday which left most contacts in negative territory compared to last Friday. Concerns of an oversold market pulled prices higher Monday. On Tuesday, lower boxed beef prices and USDA’s monthly supply and demand report which showed a smaller corn inventory compared to last month’s projection pressured cattle futures. Then, Wednesday saw an upturn due to a turn-around in beef prices. Prices stayed in positive territory Thursday but Friday brought about a swing in the other direction and left most live cattle contracts lower on the week. Feeder futures gained momentum late in the week as corn prices dropped.
Corn futures prices slid about 10 cents per bushel this week. The week started higher as traders made final moves in front of USDA’s supply and demand report, released Tuesday (Dec 10). The report revealed that expected corn use would be higher than projected last month. This pulled corn carryover down just under 100 million bushels to 1.792 billion. Traders had expected 1.871 billion bushels of carryover. In spite of the smaller number prices ended the day lower as pressure from the wheat pit spilled over into corn. Some recovery was seen on Wednesday but it was short lived as prices tumbled to close the week. Tremendous uncertainty regarding the reliability of Tuesday’s corn demand estimate pushed prices lower. For example, ethanol – whose use was raised in the report – still faces some obstacles and mandated levels could be adjusted lower. Also, China seems to keep kiboshing U.S. corn deliveries.
Wholesale beef prices continued to decline. Prices held close to the $202 and $188 mark for Choice and Select before dropping late in the week. Choice beef averaged $201.32 for the week, down $1.33. Select averaged $187.37, down $2.24.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel.