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Feeder Cattle March Higher, Fed Cattle Retreat

16:33PM Jul 11, 2014
Texas Feedlot Steers

Both cash fed cattle prices and the futures markets saw post-holiday weakness this week, but feeder cattle bids were higher again.

Cattle feeders accepted bids $2 to $3 lower than last week’s record prices. Cattle in the South sold mostly at $156 per cwt., with Northern cattle at $156 to $157 live, and $246 to $248 per cwt. dressed.

The cattle market’s biggest story, however, remains the strength of the feeder market. Compared to two weeks ago, stocker and feeder prices were steady to $5 per cwt. higher this week, and $8 to $10 higher on heavy yearlings weighing 800 to 900 pounds.

There was, however, significant volatility throughout the two-week stint, says USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall. He says many special yearling sales saw new lofty all-time record highs, but sharply lower CME futures pressured the cash market this week.

"There’s no doubt that recent pressure on the Board is more than just minor profit taking and many analysts are blaming the drop on technical negativity," Wall says. "Somebody must have forgotten to tell the charts just how short cattle numbers are or that we are facing one of the best corn crops in recent memory."

Wall says cash feeder markets remain very strong especially on heavy yearlings, "with renewed interest from farmer-feeders who travel Corn Belt blacktops that seem more like trails through the Redwood Forest."

Boxed beef prices Friday morning averaged $247.98, which is $3.36 higher than the previous week. The Choice/Select spread was $6.63. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was 228.61 up 11.22 from last Thursday.