Negotiated cash fed cattle drifted lower throughout the week ending with a wide range. Cattle in the North sold from $105 to $118 per cwt., $3 to $10 lower than last week, USDA reported. Dressed prices ranged from $175 to $187, mostly $3 to $5 lower. The South traded at $105 to $118 per cwt., $2 to $10 lower.
Regarding this week’s market, AgCenter’s Market Report said, owners who sold “cattle at $117 and $118 this week were lucky while those who sold at $105 (Thursday) were not. Neither price was the result of negotiation. They reflect a randomized price awarding pattern and projecting this pattern into future prices is impossible."
CME August cattle fell $1.75 to $96.175 and December was down $1.575 to $99.30. CME August feeders were down $1.15 to $134.175. Both markets finished lower this week. Monday is first-notice day for deliveries on June futures with few expected amid the current futures discount to cash.
Estimated cattle slaughter for the week was 636,000 head, 28,000 below last year but another significant weekly gain following the coronavirus slowdowns. Year-to-date slaughter is 13.3 million head, 6.7% behind last year’s pace.
Wholesale beef prices continued spiraling lower. The Choice beef cutout settled Friday at $261.48 per cwt, $101.86 lower than last Friday. Select boxed beef closed at $246.42 per cwt., $93.65 lower than last week. The Choice-Select spread was $15.06.
The overall economy received some much-needed good news in Friday’s jobs report as U.S. unemployment fell to 13.3% in May with 2.5 million job gained. The report sent stocks surging today and increased evidence that the economic recovery may be more V-shape and stronger. That should help to boost beef demand into the summer grilling season.
Steers and heifers sold uneven at auction, from $1 lower to $2 higher. AMS reporters called demand moderate to good with a large turnout and “buyers trying to scoop up the last of the 2019 fall-born calves suitable for grazing.”
The three largest feeder cattle auctions in the nation traded over 36,000 cattle this week, approximately 18% of all the cattle sold nationwide. Year-to-date auction receipts were about 15% less than a year ago, mainly due to lighter receipts in mid-March to mid-April.
Auction receipts totaled 207,100 for the week, compared to 138,200 last week and 164,000 last year.