Early this week some feedyards passed on packer bids of $162 per cwt. for fed cattle. That’s astonishing, considering those bids were a full $5 per cwt. higher than any price ever offered for fed cattle. Holding out, however, proved to be the right play as short-bought packers were forced to up their bids later in the week.
Friday morning live cattle sales were reported by USDA’s Market News service at $164 to $166. In Nebraska on Thursday live sales were reported at $162 to $166, with the bulk at $165, fully $6 to $9 per cwt. higher than the previous week. Colorado cattle traded Friday morning at $166.Cattle sold on a dressed basis at $257 to $262 per cwt.
The spike in cash cattle prices comes ahead of two USDA reports to be issued this afternoon. The monthly cattle on feed report is expected to show on feed numbers down about 2 % from last year, and June placements to be down about 4 %. Cattle marketed during June is estimated to be down about 2 %.
USDA will also provide a mid-year look at the cattle inventory, a report that was scrapped last year due to budget constraints. Livestock economists think the mid-year inventory will land around 96.4 million head. That would be about 1.4 million head lower than the 2012 count, but marginally higher than what was estimated last year.