The USDA feeder cattle report for the week ending January 31 was much anticipated. It confirmed the inventory drop showing cattle and calves nearly 2% lower than last year’s numbers. Calves under 500 pounds showed a significant drop, coming in 4% lower but beef replacement heifers were up 2%, which wasn’t a big surprise.
Cattle and calves sold unevenly steady to $3 lower. Up in the Northern Plains, where we’ve seen the highest of the highs, were quite a bit lower but in Southwest, cattle were a bit higher.
The markets are still sitting at record highs and are a little top-heavy but there is still a good demand. Many buyers are still worried about supplies of cattle going into spring. This market is struggling for direction as we sit on record highs.
Since the first of the year, all of the beef cattle markets have been at record highs except for slaughtered cows, but this past week they made some good runs and are getting a lot of competition. Boxed beef cutout values, however, were down $6 this week. The fat cattle market never really got going this week, though. With the board showing about an $8 discount over cash there isn’t much support.
Watch Corbitt Wall’s full report.