Weekly Market Highlights

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Apr. 12, 2019

“Feeder calves and stocker calves under 800 lbs., especially those carrying a minimal amount of flesh, showed the way with the best demand,” according to analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). “Buyers continue to shy away from cattle carrying too much flesh condition for their weight.”

Overall, AMS pegged the price trend for steers and heifers at $2/cwt. lower to $2 higher.

Week to week on Friday, except for 72¢ lower in spot Apr, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.49 higher (27¢ to $3.27 higher at the back).

Weather-delayed forage growth and cattle finishing appear to be capping demand currently.

Lighter Carcass Weights Remain Supportive

 With the latest widespread storm, AMS analysts say, “There is bound to be more weight loss of nearly-finished cattle throughout the Northern Plains. Just how much was lost will be evident in the coming months as calf-feds get closer to harvest. Currently, cattle are not meeting their projected out-weights and cost of gains are higher than anticipated just a few months ago.”

The average dressed steer weight was 7 lbs. lighter than a year earlier at 865 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report for the week ending Mar. 31. The average dressed heifer weight was 8 lbs. lighter at 806 lbs. Fed steer and heifer slaughter was 16,070 head more at 480,913 head. Total cattle slaughter for the week of 618,707 head was 28,320 head more. Beef production was 15.8 million lbs. more (+3.3%) at 496.7 million lbs.

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) reduced expected beef production for this year to 27.280 billion lbs. (-20 million lbs.) in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).

“The beef production forecast is reduced from the previous month, primarily on lower carcass weights, but higher total cattle slaughter for 2019 is expected to partially offset declines in carcass weights,” say ERS analysts.

Projected WASDE fed steer prices (5-area Direct) were lowered slightly based on a lower price in the first quarter. The 5-area Direct fed steer price is projected at $122-$126/cwt. in the second quarter; $111-$119 in the third and $109-$119 in the fourth.

Pork Potential Adds Lift

Through late Friday afternoon, based on USDA reports, the only trendable negotiated cash fed cattle trade for the week was steady money in the Southern Plains at $124/cwt.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 90¢ higher.

“The beef market is inching ever closer to grilling season and the unofficial start of summer that comes with Memorial Day weekend grilling. One might surmise that this should provide some support in the near term, but it may take the passing of Easter before interest in beef begins to soar,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “Market participants should also consider that feedlots will become more interested in filling pen space as favorable weather conditions become more evident and as wet pens dry. In some instances, it appears the market is priming the pump to make a run.”

Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.91 higher at $228.84/cwt. Select was 74¢ higher at $221.02.

If Lean Hog futures are any indication, then more beef price support could emerge based on expectations of improved international pork demand, stemming from African Swine Fever in China and Southeast Asia.

Rabobank expects Chinese pork production losses of 25% to 35% this year. Analysts there note the loss is at least 30% larger than annual U.S. pork production and nearly as large as Europe’s annual pork supply.

Rabobank also expects production losses to exceed 10% in Vietnam, the world’s fifth largest pork-producing country and a significant supplier to China.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Apr. 12

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

190,400

(-42,800)

53,800

(-38,200)

72,800

(+70,800)

317,000

(-10,200)

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Apr. 11 Change
$142.78 –  1.23

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 12 Change
600-700 lbs. $169.07 +  $1.59
700-800 lbs. $154.15 –   $0.06
800-900 lbs. $142.03 –   $1.34

South Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 12 Change
500-600 lbs. n/a n/a
600-700 lbs. n/a n/a
700-800 lbs. n/a n/a

Southeast

Steers-Cash Apr. 12 Change
400-500 lbs. $159.01 –   $7.78
500-600 lbs. $144.11 –   $14.42
600-700 lbs. $132.27 –   $12.24

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Apr. 12 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $228.84 +  $1.91
Select $221.02 +  $0.74  
Ch-Se Spread $7.82 +  $1.17

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Apr. 12 Change
Apr $145.425 –  $0.725
May $150.500 + $0.275
Aug $158.700 + $1.975
Sep $159.775 + $1.550
Oct $159.750 + $0.775
Nov $159.575 + $0.750
Jan ’20 $157.300 + $1.825
Mar $155.450 + $3.275
Live Cattle   Apr. 12 Change
Apr $126.550 +  $0.500
Jun $121.450 +  $1.100
Aug $118.200 +  $0.825
Oct $119.025 +  $0.900
Dec $122.725 +  $0.900
Feb ’20 $124.600 +  $0.650
Apr $125.575 +  $0.975
Jun $119.150 +  $0.775
Aug $117.950 +  $1.450
Corn futures Apr. 12 Change
May $3.610 –  $0.014
Jul $3.694 –  $0.016
Sep $3.774 –  $0.020
Dec $3.890 –  $0.010
Mar ’20 $4.030 -0-
May $4.106 -0-
Oil CME-WTI Apr. 12 Change
May $63.89 + $0.81
Jun $64.02 + $0.87
Jul $64.10 + $0.92
Aug $64.08 + $0.91
Sep $63.96 + $0.89
Oct $63.76 + $0.88

Equities

Equity Indexes Apr. 12 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26412.30 –   12.69
NASDAQ     7984.16 +   45.47
S&P 500     2907.41 +    14.67
Dollar (DXY)          96.94 –       0.45
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Apr. 12, 2019 2019-04-14T14:57:02-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Apr. 5, 2019

Demand for turnout cattle continued to boost calf prices. Overall, steers and heifers traded steady to $3/cwt. higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Buyers were very critical of excessive flesh, especially on heifers as market activity slowed substantially if they were over-conditioned,” AMS analysts explained. “After the previous week’s downward trend in the futures contracts, early-week sales had cattle buyers more cautious when procuring heavier cattle.”

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 81¢ higher week to week on Friday, thanks in large part to a bounce higher Thursday, as traders continue to push Lean Hog futures.

Through Friday afternoon, negotiated cash fed cattle prices for the week were steady to a touch softer in the Northern Plains at $126/cwt. in Nebraska and at $127-$128 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was reported at $204-$206, compared to $206 the previous week. Prices in the Southern Plains were $1-$2 lower at $124.

Other than 35¢ higher in spot Apr, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.42 higher week to week on Friday.

Carcass weights diluted by the long, cold and wet winter continue to provide support.

For the week ending Mar. 23, average dressed steer weights were 866 lbs., which was 12 lbs. less than the same week a year earlier, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight was 804 lbs., which was 11 lbs. lighter than the prior year. Fed cattle slaughter of 492,477 head was 11,614 head more year over year. Total cattle slaughter of 636,169 head was 24,792 head more. Beef production for the week was 9.6 million pounds more than the previous year at 508.4 million pounds.

“Weather impacts are holding carcass weights well below year-ago levels so far this year and annual average carcass weights are projected to only increase slightly year over year,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in is weekly market comments. “Cattle slaughter is projected to increase about 1% year over year. With beef imports projected to decrease and beef exports expected to increase again in 2019, per capita beef consumption is expected to decrease to 56.8 lbs. (retail basis), down from 57.1 lbs. one year ago.”

Increased beef demand, via warmer temperatures and summer grilling season is surely close.

Choice wholesale beef value was 89¢ higher week to week on Friday at $226.93/cwt. Select was $1.39 higher at $220.28.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Apr. 5

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct (head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total (head)

(change)

 

233,200

(-25,500)

92,000

(+23,300)

2,000

(-67,700)

327,200

(-2,200)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Apr. 4 Change
  $144.01 + 2.27

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 5 Change
600-700 lbs. $167.48 +  $0.96
700-800 lbs. $154.21 +  $2.48
800-900 lbs. $143.37 +  $2.99

South Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 5 Change
500-600 lbs. $174.31 –   $0.54
600-700 lbs. $160.51 +  $1.48
700-800 lbs. $145.59 +  $1.97

Southeast

Steers-Cash Apr. 5 Change
400-500 lbs. $166.79 +  $2.19
500-600 lbs. $158.53 +  $1.67
600-700 lbs. $144.51 +  $0.99

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Mar. 29 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $226.93 +  $0.89
Select $220.28 +  $1.39  
Ch-Se Spread $6.65 –   $0.50

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Apr. 5 Change
Apr $146.150 + $0.900
May $150.225 + $1.450
Aug $156.725 + $0.475
Sep $158.225 + $0.500
Oct $158.975 + $0.725
Nov $158.825 + $0.800
Jan ’20 $155.475 + $0.725
Mar $152.175 + $0.925

 

Live Cattle   Apr. 5 Change
Apr $126.050 +  $0.350
Jun $120.350 +  $1.350
Aug $117.375 +  $1.700
Oct $118.125 +  $1.300
Dec $121.825 +  $1.525
Feb ’20 $123.950 +  $1.700
Apr $124.600 +  $1.350
Jun $118.375 +  $1.325
Aug $116.500 +  $1.075

 

Corn futures Apr. 5 Change
May $3.624 + $0.060
Jul $3.710 + $0.048
Sep $3.794 + $0.044
Dec $3.900 + $0.054
Mar ’20 $4.030 + $0.060
May $4.106 + $0.072

 

Oil CME-WTI Apr. 5 Change
May $63.08 + $2.94
Jun $63.15 + $2.87
Jul $63.18 + $2.78
Aug $63.17 + $2.68
Sep $63.07 + $2.54
Oct $62.88 + $2.41

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Apr. 5 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26424.99 +  496.31
NASDAQ     7938.69 +   209.37
S&P 500     2892.74 +    58.34
Dollar (DXY)          97.39 +      0.15
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Apr. 5, 2019 2019-04-07T14:21:27-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 29, 2019

Despite pressure on Cattle futures—from the Cattle on Feed report early and then Lean Hog Futures—cash steers and heifers traded steady to $5/cwt. higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“In many places that have been wet all winter, the ground started to dry early to mid week, giving way for pasture repairs and field work,” say AMS analysts. “Ranchers were trying to catch up and beat another rain event late week by fertilizing pastures while the ground had some firmness to it.”

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.55 lower week to week on Friday (47¢centslower to $5.27 lower). That doesn’t count expiring spot Mar or new away Mar.

Calf prices could get a boost from Friday’s Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports from USDA, which were bearish for corn.

“The calf and feeder cattle markets continue displaying a lack of continuity as the calf market showed considerable strength, while the feeder cattle market held the status quo,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “There does appear to be some optimism in the feeder cattle market as the August feeder cattle futures price is trading at an $11 premium to the April contract. What does this mean for the future? It means the cash price has a long way to go and a spring and summer to get there or the futures market is over-valuing feeder cattle. The educated guess at this point is that the cash price of feeder cattle will begin a strong advancement to the upside in the coming months to fall more in line with what is expected for live cattle.”

Fed Cattle Prices Move Lower

Through late Friday afternoon, negotiated cash fed cattle prices for the week were mostly $2-$3 less on a live basis at $125-$126/cwt. in the Southern Plains, mostly $126 in Nebraska and mostly $128 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was also $2-$3 lower at $206 in Nebraska and at $205 in the western Corn Belt.

There’s plenty of speculation about whether the previous week represents the seasonal high or fed cattle prices have one more surge left.

Except for 45¢ higher in the back contract, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.08 lower (75¢ to $4.50 lower)—week to week on Friday.

“Analysts are looking at current cattle weights under federal inspection and looking at the tonnage impact going into summer,” say AMS analysts. “Since the week ending Dec. 29 last year, steer dressed weights declined 31 lbs. compared to a 25 lb. decline the same time period a year ago.”

Choice wholesale beef value was $3.05 lower week to week on Friday at $226.04/cwt. Select was 25¢ higher at $218.89.

“Wholesale Choice boxed beef prices declined for the first time in eight weeks, which means the price of Choice beef increased from the beginning of February through last week before faltering to close out the month of March,” Griffith says. “During the price run, Choice beef prices increased $15/cwt. while Select box prices only increased $5. Some of the price support in the beef market through the first quarter of 2019 could be considered artificial to some degree, due to reduced steer slaughter. However, the other portion of the support is not a manipulation of production and quantity of beef supplied. It is true supply and demand determining prices with lighter carcass weights that are a function of the tough feeding conditions across much of cattle feeding country and strong demand for high valued beef cuts.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Mar. 29

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct (head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total (head)

(change)

 

258,700

(+2,600)

68,700

(-21,600)

2,000

(-26,800)

329,400

(-45,800)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Mar. 28 Change
  $141.74 + 0.72

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 29  Change
600-700 lbs. $166.52 +  $3.46
700-800 lbs. $151.73 +  $2.15
800-900 lbs. $140.38 –   $0.57

South Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 29 Change
500-600 lbs. $174.85 +  $4.58
600-700 lbs. $159.03 +  $3.22
700-800 lbs. $143.62 –   $0.27

Southeast

Steers-Cash Mar. 29 Change
400-500 lbs. $164.60 –   $3.59
500-600 lbs. $156.86 +  $0.18
600-700 lbs. $143.52 –   $1.00

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Mar. 29 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $226.04 –   $3.05
Select $218.89 +  $0.25  
Ch-Se Spread $7.15 –   $3.30

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Mar. 29 Change
Apr $145.250 –  $3.550
May $148.775 –  $5.275
Aug $156.250 –  $3.075
Sep $157.725 –  $2.225
Oct $158.250 –  $1.675
Nov $158.025 –  $1.600
Jan ’20 $154.750 –  $0.475
Mar $151.250 n/a

 

 

Live Cattle   Mar. 29 Change
Apr $125.700 –  $4.025
Jun $119.000 –  $4.500
Aug $115.675 –  $4.350
Oct $116.825 –  $4.025
Dec $120.300 –  $3.025
Feb ’20 $122.250 –  $2.350
Apr $123.250 –  $1.625
Jun $117.050 –  $0.750
Aug $115.425 +  $0.425

 

Corn futures Mar. 29 Change
May $3.564 –  $0.218
Jul $3.662 –  $0.212
Sep $3.750 –  $0.182
Dec $3.846 –  $0.154
Mar ’20 $3.970 –  $0.132
May $4.034 –  $0.116

 

Oil CME-WTI Mar. 29 Change
May $60.14 + $1.10
Jun $60.28 + $0.99
Jul $60.40 + $0.87
Aug $60.49 + $0.74
Sep $60.53 + $0.64
Oct $60.47 + $0.55

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Mar. 29 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25928.68 +  426.36
NASDAQ     7729.32 +    86.65
S&P 500     2834.40 +    33.69
Dollar (DXY)          97.24 +      0.64
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 29, 2019 2019-03-31T17:00:37-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 22, 2019

Between wonderments about ultimate impacts from the bomb cyclone and surging optimism in Lean Hog futures, Cattle futures gained significant ground last week. That, along with clearing weather, whetted buyer appetites for calves and feeder cattle.

Steers and heifers sold $2-$6/cwt. higher, according to analysts with the Agricultural marketing Service (AMS).

“It didn’t matter what weight cattle were, they were in demand,” said AMS analysts. “Many auctions had reputation strings and large bunches on offer, allowing buyers to make full pens of uniform cattle.”

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.87 higher week to week on Friday ($1.67 higher in spot Mar to $6.37 higher).

“This week’s feeder cattle price movement presents an opportunity to hedge sales for summer and fall at profitable levels for most producers,” notes Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments.

Negotiated cash fed cattle traded end up mostly $1-$2 higher on a live basis at $128/cwt. in the South and $129 in the North (up to $131 in the western Corn Belt). Dressed trade was mainly $4 higher at mostly $208.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.22 higher (62¢ higher in spot Apr to $2.95 higher).

“Finished cattle are trading nearly $2 below the April live cattle contract, which means upside potential remains in the market,” Griffith says. “The slight increase in cattle on feed for March was unexpected by most market participants, but it is unlikely to sway the market in either direction (see below).

Weather-depressed carcass weights continue to offer support as the volume of fed cattle slaughter increases.

Average dressed steer weights for the week ending March 9 were 10 lbs. lighter than the same week a year earlier at 871 lbs., according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. Average heifer dressed weights were 9 lbs. lighter at 814 lbs. Total beef production for the week of 488.0 million lbs. was 3.4 million lbs. less than a year earlier but total cattle slaughter was 7,889 head more.

“April marketings will be an important indicator of the potential strength of the cattle markets through the summer. Weak marketings will suggest a backlog of animals,” says Stephen Koontz, agricultural economist at Colorado State University, in the most recent issue of In the Cattle Markets. “As of Feb. 1, he explains the calculated inventory of cattle on feed for more than 120 days of 3.99 million head is 12.2% more than the same time last year and 14.1% more than the five-year average.

In the meantime, wholesale beef values continue to provide support to fed cattle, t00.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.10 higher week to week on Friday at $229.09 per cwt. Select was $1.30 higher at $218.64.

Feedlot Placements Up

Feedlot marketings in February of 1.68 million head—for feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity—were 0.48% more than a year earlier, according to Friday’s Cattle on Feed report. That was slightly less than most pre-report expectations.

Placements were 1.86 million head in February, which was 2.20% more than a year earlier. Most estimates ahead of the report projected a decline.

Cattle on feed March 1 of 11.80 million head were 0.69% more than the previous year. Average estimates ahead of the report suggested a slight decline.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Mar. 22

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct (head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total (head)

(change)

 

256,100

(+49,800)

90,300

(+42,300)

2,800

(+26,000)

257,100

(+118,100)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Mar. 21 Change
  $141.02 + 3.37

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 22  Change
600-700 lbs. $163.06 +  $4.42
700-800 lbs. $149.58 +  $3.90
800-900 lbs. $140.95 +  $5.27

South Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 22 Change
500-600 lbs. $170.27 +  $4.37
600-700 lbs. $155.81 +  $5.10
700-800 lbs. $143.89 +  $2.69

Southeast

Steers-Cash Mar. 22 Change
400-500 lbs. $168.19 +  $1.76
500-600 lbs. $156.68 +  $0.71
600-700 lbs. $144.52 +  $2.52

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Mar. 15 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $229.09 +  $2.10
Select $218.64 +  $1.30  
Ch-Se Spread $10.45 +  $0.80

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Mar. 22 Change
Mar $143.000 + $1.675
Apr $148.800 + $1.875
May $154.050 + $5.600
Aug $159.325 + $5.775
Sep $159.950 + $5.950
Oct $159.925 + $6.100
Nov $159.625 + $6.375
Jan ’20 $155.225 + $5.600

 

Live Cattle   Mar. 22 Change
Apr $129.725 + $0.625
Jun $123.500 + $1.575
Aug $120.025 + $2.300
Oct $120.850 + $2.950
Dec $123.325 + $2.925
Feb ’20 $124.600 +  $2.825
Apr $124.875 +  $2.750
Jun $117.800 +  $2.300
Aug $115.000 +  $1.750

 

Corn futures Mar. 22 Change
May $3.782 + $0.050
Jul $3.874 + $0.052
Sep $3.932 + $0.046
Dec $4.000 + $0.040
Mar ’20 $4.102 + $0.032
May $4.150 + $0.028

 

Oil CME-WTI Mar. 22 Change
May $59.04 + $0.22
Jun $59.29 + $0.17
Jul $59.53 + $0.09
Aug $59.75 + $0.03
Sep $59.89 -0-
Oct 59.92 –  $0.03

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Mar. 22 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25502.32 –   346.55
NASDAQ     7642.67 –     45.86
S&P 500     2800.71 –      21.77
Dollar (DXY)          96.60 +      0.06
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 22, 2019 2019-03-25T18:58:06-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 15, 2019

Steers and heifers sold $1-$5/cwt. lower in the North and South Central regions, while the Southeast was quoted mostly steady, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). 

“Grazing cattle out of the Southeast were in the greatest demand,” say AMS analysts. “Feedyards were tepid in taking on more cattle this week. More precipitation and/or blizzard-like conditions bombarded a widespread area of the Plains late in the week. High winds, from the Texas Panhandle to western Nebraska, brought treacherous conditions…Receipts were curtailed again due to either reduced or cancelled sales in Nebraska and the Dakotas.”

Feeder Cattle futures closed mixed week to week on Friday with the most pressure in the front three contracts (7¢to $2.60 lower in spot Mar). Late-week support came from Live Cattle, which were boosted in part by the rally in Lean Hog futures (see below).

“For those cow-calf producers that starting calving four to six weeks ago, this

winter has been extremely taxing emotionally and physically,” say AMS analysts. “Cow-calf producers in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and Missouri are poised to wean a calf crop that will fall way short of perfect this fall. Anecdotes of cattleman losing 10-25% of their calf crop is commonplace this year.”

Although the extraordinarily tough winter continues to hamper feeder cattle demand and hold calf prices in check, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee notes in his weekly market comments, “When feeding pens dry and the weather moderates, feedlots will become hungry for feeder cattle and the calf and feeder cattle markets will likely change without the fed cattle market ever having to move.”

Likewise, analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service—in the most recent Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook—expect tighter feeder supplies in the second half of this year to support higher calf and feeder cattle prices.

Fed Cattle Trade Lower

Despite lighter carcass weights and less beef production, relative to harvest numbers, packers bought fat cattle for mostly $1 less at $127/cwt. in the Southern Plains and Northern Plains. Through Friday afternoon, the week’s dressed trade was steady at $204-$205 in the western Corn Belt. 

Spillover support from the aforementioned rally in Lean Hog futures helped boost Live Cattle futures. Except for 57¢ lower in spot Apr, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 68¢ higher week to week on Friday.

Incidentally, many attribute the rally in Lean Hogs to growing expectations that China must import significantly more pork because of losses incurred by African Swine Fever. If so, the notion is that the global market place will need more pork from the U.S. Apparently, much of last week’s optimism was based on weekly USDA export data, which doesn’t seem like much to hang a bet on.

In the meantime, wholesale beef prices continue to underpin the fed cattle market.

Week to week, Choice wholesale beef value was 86¢ higher on Friday at $226.99/cwt. Select was $1.44 lower at $217.34.

Griffith believes there’s room for wholesale beef values to climb, if winter weather the last several weeks delayed demand among consumers in the Northeast. Potentially, he says increased demand on that front could coincide with seasonally higher spring beef demand.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Mar. 15

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct (head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total (head)

(change)

 

206,300

(+2,300)

48,000

(-15,400)

2,800

(-34,100)

257,100

(-47,200)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Mar. 14 Change
  $137.65 –  2.38

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 15  Change
600-700 lbs. $158.64 –   $2.15
700-800 lbs. $145.68 –   $0.94
800-900 lbs. $135.68 –   $0.01

South Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 15 Change
500-600 lbs. $165.90 –   $3.55
600-700 lbs. $150.71 –   $2.97
700-800 lbs. $141.20 –   $1.26

Southeast

Steers-Cash Mar. 15 Change
400-500 lbs. $166.43 –   $3.43
500-600 lbs. $155.97 +  $0.83
600-700 lbs. $142.00 +  $0.02

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Mar. 15 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $226.99 +  $0.86
Select $217.34 –   $1.44  
Ch-Se Spread $9.65 +  $2.30

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Mar. 15 Change
Mar $141.325 –  $2.600
Apr $146.925 –  $0.775
May $148.450 –  $0.075
Aug $153.550 + $0.850
Sep $154.000 + $0.625
Oct $153.825 + $0.175
Nov $153.250 –  $0.150
Jan ’20 $149.625 –  $0.075

 

Live Cattle   Mar. 15 Change
Apr $129.100 –  $0.575
Jun $121.925 + $0.975
Aug $117.725 + $0.550
Oct $117.900 + $0.500
Dec $120.400 +  $0.400
Feb ’20 $121.775 +  $0.525
Apr $122.125 +  $0.625
Jun $115.500 +  $1.000
Aug $113.250 +  $0.900

 

Corn futures Mar. 15 Change
May $3.732 + $0.090
Jul $3.822 + $0.088
Sep $3.886 + $0.084
Dec $3.960 + $0.076
Mar ’20 $4.070 + $0.070
May $4.122 + $0.066

 

Oil CME-WTI Mar. 15 Change
Apr $58.52 + $2.45
May $58.82 + $2.39
Jun $59.12 + $2.25
Jul $59.44 + $2.12
Aug $59.72 + $2.04
Sep $59.89 + $1.95

Equities

Equity Indexes Mar. 15 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25848.87 +  398.63
NASDAQ     7688.53 +  280.39
S&P 500     2822.48 +    79.41
Dollar (DXY)          96.54 –       0.83
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 15, 2019 2019-03-17T18:34:07-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 8, 2019

Steers and heifers sold steady to $5/cwt. higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), with analysts noting buyers paid higher prices for both grass calves and feeder-weight cattle headed to the feedlot.

“Grass cattle prices made a strong run through the month of February with 550-lb. steer prices moving from $142/cwt. to $152,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The $55 gain per head was welcomed by sellers, but the average price of these animals stalled and has remained steady for three consecutive weeks, based on reported weekly auctions in Tennessee. The stagnation in the calf market is likely brought on by the less than stellar feeder cattle market that has been dismal since November.”

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.71 higher (92¢higher in the back contract to $2.70 higher in spot Mar).

Fed Cattle Trade Steady

For the week, negotiated cash fed cattle trade was generally steady at $128 in the Southern Plains and Nebraska. Dressed trade was also steady at $205.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 52¢cents higher (17¢higher in the back contract to 90¢higher).

Extreme winter weather continues to depress feedlot performance and carcass weights.

“Cattle are not meeting projections so far in the first quarter; just how much damage is done to meat production remains to be seen,” said AMS analysts.  “However, the World Agriculture Outlook Board lowered the 2019 annual beef production by 310 million lbs. After last month’s revision on beef production, they are estimating that a full week of beef production will be taken out due to lower first-quarter slaughter, slowed placements and lighter carcass weights.” 

Choice wholesale beef value was $4.84 higher week to week on Friday at $226.13/cwt. Select was $1.99 higher at $218.78.

“Beef production is reduced from the previous month on the pace of fed cattle slaughter in the first quarter and lower expected marketings in mid-2019,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). “Partly offsetting the lower fed cattle slaughter is higher expected cow slaughter. The lower production forecast also reflects lighter carcass weights in 2019.”

Projected beef production for this year is 27.30 billion pounds, according to the March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).

Feedlot Placements Lower

Feedlot placements continued lower month to month in January, according to Friday’s Cattle on Feed report. Placements of 1.96 million head was 5.27% less (-109,000 head) than a year earlier. Keep in mind the report reflects feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity. Most analysts expected the decline to be a touch steeper, but the report will likely be gauged as neutral.

As for placement weights: 41.61% went on feed weighing up to 699 lbs.; 49.72% weighed 700-899 lbs.; 8.67% weighed 900 lbs. 

Marketings in January of 1.91 million head were 2.80% more (+52,000 head) than the previous January.

Cattle on feed Feb. 1 were 11.68 million head, which was 0.41% more (+48,000 head) than a year earlier.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Mar. 8

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct (head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total (head)

(change)

 

204,000

(-15,100)

63,400

(+3,ooo)

36,900

(+34,200)

304,300

(+22,100)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Mar. 7 Change
  $140.03 + 0.80

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 8  Change
600-700 lbs. $160.79 +  $0.49
700-800 lbs. $146.62 +  $0.87
800-900 lbs. $138.12 –   $0.01

South Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 1 Change
500-600 lbs. $169.45 +  $1.89
600-700 lbs. $153.68 +  $2.22
700-800 lbs. $142.46 +  $1.79

Southeast

Steers-Cash Mar. 8 Change
400-500 lbs. $169.86 +  $2.81
500-600 lbs. $155.14 +  $0.35
600-700 lbs. $141.98 –   $0.16

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Mar. 8 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $226.13 +  $4.84
Select $218.78 +  $1.99  
Ch-Se Spread $7.35 +  $2.85

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Mar. 8 Change
Mar $143.925 + $2.700
Apr $147.700 + $2.650
May $148.525 + $2.000
Aug $152.700 + $1.300
Sep $153.375 + $1.225
Oct $153.650 + $1.325
Nov $153.400 + $1.525
Jan ’20 $149.700 + $0.925

 

Live Cattle   Mar. 8 Change
Apr $129.675 + $0.125
Jun $120.950 + $0.525
Aug $117.175 + $0.900
Oct $117.400 + $0.475
Dec $120.000 +  $0.525
Feb ’20 $121.250 +  $0.600
Apr $121.500 +  $0.650
Jun $114.500 +  $0.675
Aug $112.350 +  $0.175

 

Corn futures Mar. 8 Change
Mar  $3.546 –  $0.094
May $3.642 –  $0.088
Jul $3.734 –  $0.080
Sep $3.802 –  $0.070
Dec $3.884 –  $0.058
Mar ’20 $4.000 –  $0.046

 

Oil CME-WTI Mar. 8 Change
Apr $56.07 + $0.27
May $56.43 + $0.24
Jun $56.87 + $0.22
Jul $57.32 + $0.21
Aug $57.68 + $0.19
Sep $57.94 + $0.19

Equities

Equity Indexes Mar. 8 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25450.24 –   576.08
NASDAQ     7408.14 –   187.21
S&P 500     2743.07 –     60.62
Dollar (DXY)          97.37 +   $0.91
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 8, 2019 2019-03-10T16:39:47-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 1, 2019

Feeder-weight cattle continued to face buying pressure last week as the cold, wet winter slows and delays fed cattle marketing.

“Until feedyard pens freeze up or dry up, cattle expend too much energy just getting to and from the bunks to meet their projected weights,” explained analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). They note feedlot cost of gain for winter-heavy regions is in the triple digits.

On the other end of the scale, demand continues to pick up for calves destined for summer grass.

Overall, steers and heifers traded from $2/cwt. lower to $1 higher in the North and South Central regions, but $3-$7 higher in the Southeast, according to AMS.

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 75¢ lower through the front three contracts (25¢ lower to $1.67 lower in spot Mar) and then an average of 99¢ higher.

Fed Cattle Trade Higher

Short-bought packers finally had to cough up more jingle this week.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was $1.50-$3.50 higher on a live basis Friday at $128-$130/cwt. in the western Corn Belt, $128-$129 in Nebraska and at $128 in the Texas Panhandle, according to the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. Dressed trade was $3 more week to week at $205; a few up to $206 in the western Corn Belt.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 53¢ higher (15¢ higher to 95¢ higher).

Front-end supplies will continue to snug up, due to the weather.

Dressed steer weights for the week ending Feb. 16 were 6 lbs. lighter than the previous week at 879 lbs., according to the most recent USDA Livestock Slaughter report. They were 4 lbs. lighter than a year earlier. Likewise, dressed heifer weights were 3 lbs. lighter week to week at 819 lbs., which was 9 lbs. lighter than a year earlier.

At the same time, rising wholesale beef values continue to bolster cattle prices.

Choice wholesale beef value was $1.90 higher week to week on Friday at $221.29 per cwt. Select was $4.44 higher at $216.79.

Beef Cowherd Expands

The long-awaited Cattle report—offering a picture of estimated cattle inventories at the beginning of the year—finally came out Thursday, about a month late because of the government shutdown.

There were 0.95% more beef cows at the beginning of this year than last (+299,500 head) at 31.77 million. Interestingly, analysts with the National Agricultural Statistics Service revised last year’s Jan. 1 inventory lower by 256,800 head to 31.47 million head.

There were 5.92 million beef of replacement heifers Jan. 1, which was 183,300 head fewer than a year earlier (-3.0%).

All told, USDA pegged the total inventory of all cattle and calves Jan. 1 at 94.76 million head, which was 461,700 more than a year earlier (+0.49%).

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Mar. 1

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct (head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total (head)

(change)

 

219,100

(+10,900)

60,400

(+2,700)

2,700

(-45,900)

282,200

(-32,300)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Feb. 28 Change
  $139.23 –  $2.08

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 1  Change
600-700 lbs. $160.30 –   $0.10
700-800 lbs. $145.75 –   $1.69
800-900 lbs. $138.13 –   $0.78

South Central

Steers-Cash Mar. 1 Change
500-600 lbs. $167.56 –   $1.92
600-700 lbs. $151.46 –   $0.61
700-800 lbs. $140.67 –   $0.59

Southeast

Steers-Cash Mar. 1 Change
400-500 lbs. $167.05 +  $6.56
500-600 lbs. $154.79 +  $4.42
600-700 lbs. $142.14 +  $3.72

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Mar. 1 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $221.29 +  $1.90
Select $216.79 +  $4.44  
Ch-Se Spread $4.50 –   $2.54

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Mar. 1 Change
Mar $141.225 –  $1.675
Apr $145.050 –  $0.250
May $146.525 –  $0.325
Aug $151.400 + $0.350
Sep $152.150 + $0.800
Oct $152.325 + $0.875
Nov $151.875 + $0.925
Jan ’20 $148.775 + $2.025

 

Live Cattle   Mar. 1 Change
Apr $129.550 + $0.675
Jun $120.425 + $0.950
Aug $116.275 + $0.775
Oct $116.925 + $0.300
Dec $120.650 +  $0.525
Feb ’20 $120.850 +  $0.500
Apr $120.850 +  $0.375
Jun $113.825 +  $0.150
Aug $112.175 n/a

 

Corn futures Mar. 1 Change
Mar  $3.640 –  $0.112
May $3.730 –  $0.114
Jul $3.814 –  $0.110
Sep $3.872 –  $0.092
Dec $3.942 –  $0.074
Mar ’20 $4.046 –  $0.070

 

Oil CME-WTI Mar. 1 Change
Apr $55.80 –  $1.46
May $56.19 –  $1.56
Jun $56.65 –  $1.60
Jul $57.11 –  $1.60
Aug $57.49 –  $1.59
Sep $57.75 –  $1.57

Equities

Equity Indexes Mar. 1 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26026.32 –        5.49
NASDAQ     7595.35 +     67.81
S&P 500     2803.69 +      11.02
Dollar (DXY)          96.46 –        0.07
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending March 1, 2019 2019-03-03T16:28:44-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Feb. 22, 2019

Overall market fundamentals continued to firm last week, while winter weather kept altering cattle trade.

“Even though auction receipts just barely topped the 200,000 mark for this report (week), feedlots and grazers were ready to procure if producers could

get them to town,” said analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).  “Many auction locations were still reeling from a winter storm the previous Friday and earlier in the week as many locations received more snow than anticipated.”

Except for the Southeast, calves and feeder cattle traded steady to mixed. Steers and heifers brought $1/cwt. lower to $2 higher in the North and South Central regions, according to AMS. They sold steady to $4 lower in the Southeast.

“February 2019 is shaping up to be one of the wettest February’s on record, which is delaying calf marketing as well as slaughter cow marketing in the Southeast region of the country,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The same abundant moisture that is keeping producers from marketing cattle is also setting cattle country up for favorable grazing conditions this spring and is also positively influencing summer grazing pastures.”

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 54¢ higher (7¢ to 90¢ higher).

Cattle feeders ended up being rewarded for their marketing patience last week. Late-week trade was mostly $1-$2 higher on a live basis at $126/cwt. in Kansas, $126.50 in Nebraska and $124.50-$128.00 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed sales were $2 higher at $202. There was no trend reported for the Texas Panhandle.

“The expectation over the next few weeks is for continued strength in the finished cattle market as seasonal trends support prices, from a supply and demand standpoint,” Griffith says. 

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.10 higher (65¢ higher to $2.05 higher in spot Feb).

“Today, the February Live Cattle contract has been trading at its highest level since the contract came on the Board in September 2017,” explained AMS analysts on Friday. “The steady rise in the Feb contract is evident, with a few corrections since November 2018. The April and June contracts followed that trend line as well.”

Wholesale beef values, which have remained stronger than some anticipated, continued to inch higher.

Choice wholesale beef values was $2.54 higher week to week on Friday at $219.39/cwt. Select was $1.36 higher at $212.35.

Feedlot Placements Lower

Feedlot placements (feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity) were fewer than many expected, in Friday’s Cattle on Feed (COF) report. Keep in mind, this was the delayed January COF, so placements are for December.

Placements in December of 1.77 million head were 1.78% less than a year earlier. Ahead of the report’s original publication date, most analysts expected placements to be about 2% more year to year. In terms of weights, 51.21% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less; 38.88% weighing 700-899 lbs.; 9.91% weighing 900 lbs. or more.

Marketings in December of 1.74 million head were 0.63% less than the previous year, in line with pre-report expectations.

Cattle on feed Jan. 1 of 11.69 million head were 1.75% more than a year earlier (+201,000 head), on the low side of expectations.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Feb. 22

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct (head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total (head)

(change)

 

208,200

(-15,600)

57,700

(-20,100)

48,600

(+45,000)

314,500

(+8,900)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Feb. 21 Change
  $141.31  -0-

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 22  Change
600-700 lbs. $160.40 +  $0.16
700-800 lbs. $147.44 –   $0.37
800-900 lbs. $138.91 –   $0.96

South Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 22 Change
500-600 lbs. $169.48 +  $1.15
600-700 lbs. $152.07 +  $0.88
700-800 lbs. $141.26 +  $0.60

Southeast

Steers-Cash Feb. 22 Change
400-500 lbs. $160.49 –   $3.91
500-600 lbs. $150.37 –   $3.63
600-700 lbs. $138.42 –   $3.93

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Feb.22 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $219.39 +  $2.54
Select $212.35 +  $1.36  
Ch-Se Spread $7.04 +  $1.18

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Feb. 22 Change
Mar $142.900 + $0.300
Apr $145.300 + $0.075
May $146.850 + $0.275
Aug $151.050 + $0.600
Sep $151.350 + $0.625
Oct $151.450 + $0.800
Nov $150.950 + $0.900
Jan ’20 $146.750 + $0.725

 

Live Cattle   Feb. 22 Change
Feb ’19 $128.675 + $2.050
Apr $128.875 + $1.700
Jun $119.475 + $1.400
Aug $115.500 + $1.125
Oct $116.625 + $0.925
Dec $118.950 +  $0.675
Feb ’20 $120.150 +  $0.650
Apr $120.475 +  $0.700
Jun $113.675 +  $0.675

 

Corn futures Feb. 22 Change
Mar  $3.752 + $0.006
May $3.844 + $0.018
Jul $3.924 + $0.020
Sep $3.964 + $0.022
Dec $4.016 + $0.024
Mar ’20 $4.116 + $0.034

 

Oil CME-WTI Feb. 22 Change
Apr $57.26 + $1.28
May $57.75 + $1.21
Jun $58.25 + $1.15
Jul $58.71 + $1.12
Aug $59.08 + $1.11
Sep $59.32 + $1.08

Equities

Equity Indexes Feb. 22 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26031.81 +  148.56
NASDAQ     7527.54 +     55.13
S&P 500     2792.67 +      17.07
Dollar (DXY)          96.53 –        0.39
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Feb. 22, 2019 2019-02-25T19:14:51-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Feb. 15, 2019

Steers and heifers sold $2 lower to $2/cwt. higher in the North Central and South Central part of the country, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). They traded $2-$5 higher in the Southeast.

“Ranchers are gearing up for grazing season as many areas have ample moisture for this time of year,” say AMS analysts. “Order buyers were out in full force with fewer receipts at sales across the country and feedyards were willing to take on replacement cattle in spite of muddy pens in the major feeding regions.”

Although early grass fever is providing some lift to calf prices, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee says feeder cattle prices are discounted relative other to other cattle classes.

“The reasoning for seemingly undervalued feeder cattle may be due to muddy pens and unfavorable feeding conditions, but it is also likely linked to cattle feeders lack of confidence that the finished cattle market will remain strong through the second and third quarters of 2019,” Griffith says in his weekly market comments.

Other than an average of $1.54 lower on either end of the board, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 43¢ lower week to week on Friday.

Fed Cattle Trade Steady 

Although carcass weights continue to tumble beneath the weight of wet winter weather, and front-end supplies seem snug, packers and feeders continued their weekly standoff until after late afternoon Friday.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ended up mainly steady on a live basis last week at $125/cwt. in the Southern Plains and Nebraska; unevenly steady in the western Corn Belt at $124-$126. Dressed trade was steady in Nebraska at $200 and steady to $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $199-200.

As for recent carcass weights, steer dressed weights were 883 lbs. for the week ending Jan. 12, according to the Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection reports from USDA. That was an extraordinary 13 lbs. less than a year earlier. Dressed heifer weights were 825 lbs., which was 6 lbs. less than the same week a year earlier.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 41¢ lower across the front half of the board (2¢ to 75¢ lower) and then an average of 22¢ higher (5¢ to 65¢ higher).

Consumer beef demand continues to lift Choice wholesale beef values higher year over year.

Choice boxed beef cutout was $1.50 higher week to week on Friday at $216.85/cwt.—$7.81 more year over year. Select was 18¢ lower week to week at $210.99—$5.85 higher than a year earlier.

“This week’s Valentine’s Day holiday is one of the top three holidays for the public eating out, with many of those customers choosing beef or a surf and

turf for their entrees,” explain AMS analysts. “Moving out of February and into March, a beef rally is expected to happen, and with that should come increased fed cattle  prices if the trickle down effect comes to fruition.”

“The Choice cutout price has been supported through the first month and a half of 2019 because middle meat (steak) demand has remained relatively strong compared to end meats or roast type cuts,” Griffith says. “The winter months are when end meats experience their strongest demand and few consumers place much price differential between quality grades of end meats. This is why the Choice-Select spread tends to narrow during the winter months.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts*

Feb. 15

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

223,800

(-35,900)

78,200

(-22,100)

3,600

(-18,700)

305,600

(-32,500)

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Feb. 14 Change
$141.31  –  $0.38

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 15  Change
600-700 lbs. $160.24 +   0.80
700-800 lbs. $147.81 +   0.19
800-900 lbs. $139.87 –    2.53

South Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 15 Change
500-600 lbs. $168.33 +   1.41
600-700 lbs. $151.19 –    0.33
700-800 lbs. $140.66 –    1.56

Southeast

Steers-Cash Feb. 15 Change
400-500 lbs. $164.40 +   4.40
500-600 lbs. $154.00 +   5.28
600-700 lbs. $142.35 +   3.75

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Feb. 15 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $216.85 +  $1.50
Select $210.99 –   $0.18  
Ch-Se Spread $5.86 +  $1.68

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Feb. 15 Change
Mar $142.600 –  $1.500
Apr $145.225 –  $0.675
May $146.575 –  $0.325
Aug $150.450 –  $0.450
Sep $150.725 –  $0.400
Oct $150.650 –  $0.300
Nov $150.050 –  $0.450
Jan ’20 $146.025 –  $1.575
Live Cattle   Feb. 15 Change
Feb ’19 $126.625 –    $0.750
Apr $127.175 –    $0.750
Jun $118.075 –    $0.025
Aug $114.375 –    $0.200
Oct $115.700 –    $0.325
Dec $118.275 +   $0.050
Feb ’20 $119.500 +   $0.100
Apr $119.775 +   $0.075
Jun $113.000 +   $0.650
Corn futures Feb. 15 Change
Mar  $3.746 + $0.004
May $3.826 + $0.004
Jul $3.904 + $0.004
Sep $3.942 + $0.008
Dec $3.992 -0-
Mar ’20 $4.082 –  $0.004
Oil CME-WTI Feb. 15 Change
Mar $55.59 + $2.87
Apr $55.98 + $2.89
May $56.54 + $2.99
Jun $57.10 + $3.08
Jul $57.59 + $3.14
Aug $57.97 + $3.16

Equities

Equity Indexes Feb. 15 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25883.25 +  776.92
NASDAQ     7472.71 +    174.21
S&P 500     2775.60 +      67.72
Dollar (DXY)          96.92 +      0.28
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Feb. 15, 2019 2019-02-18T17:55:24-05:00

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Feb. 8, 2019

Calves and feeder cattle traded mixed last week with heavier receipts and a firmer tone across much of the key trade areas.

Steers and heifers sold from steady to $2/cwt. lower in the North Central part of the country. Prices were to steady to $4 higher in the Southeast and South Central areas, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Some auctions in the southern areas reported spots up to as much as $10

higher on what would be considered cattle suitable for grazing. Demand for those kind is expected to be good in anticipation of grass,” say AMS analysts. “Most grazing areas are not showing any signs of drought stress currently.”

However, there appears to be less wheat pasture than originally anticipated.

Winter wheat planted area for harvest in 2019 is estimated at 31.3 million acres, down 4% from last year and down 4% from 2017, according to the Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings report.

“This represents the second lowest United States acreage on record,” say analysts with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). “Seedings, which began in early September, fell behind the 5-year average seeding pace in early October and remained behind the 5-year average seeding pace for the duration of the planting season. Seeding was mostly complete by November 11.”

Year to year, winter wheat area seeded is 6% less in Kansas, 5% less in Oklahoma but on par in Texas.

“Despite the optimism in the cash market, there continues to be some trepidation in the futures market,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The market has been moving sideways for three straight months and there is no sign of it breaking out in either direction. Moving from March through August, the seasonal expectation is priced in the market with August feeder cattle futures trading $7 higher than the March contract. This does provide a little solace, but it does not provide many opportunities for price risk management.”

Week to week on Friday Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.74 higher (62¢ to $2.30 higher).

Fed Cattle Prices Appeared Steady to Higher

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ended up last week $1 higher on a live basis at $125/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $1.00-$1.50 higher in the north at $124.50-$126.00. Dressed sales were up to $3 higher at $200.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.48 higher (95¢ to $1.95 higher).

“Live cattle futures would suggest prices will continue to move sideways into April, but untethered optimism holds the hope that prices will increase a few more dollars heading towards grilling season,” Griffith says.

In the meantime, the recent reopening of USDA’s data spigot offers some indication of how much winter weather is impacting carcass weights.

Dressed steers weights for the week ending Jan. 5 were 6 lbs. lighter year over year at 896 lbs., according to the Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. Dressed heifer weights were 8 lbs. lighter at 892 lbs. A week earlier, year over year, dressed steer weights were 9 lbs. lighter and dressed heifer weights were 13 lbs. lighter.

Analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service project fed steer prices for at $122-$126/cwt. for the first quarter, $119-$127 in the second, $109-$119 in the third and at $108-$118 in the fourth. That’s from the February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).

Wholesale beef values were mixed. Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.09 higher at $215.35/cwt. Select was $1.98 lower at $211.17.

Total beef production for last year was revised down 75 million lbs. from the December estimate to 26.86 billion lbs., according to WASDE. That’s just shy of the historic record, but still 677 million lbs. more than the previous year (+2.6%).

Likewise, estimated beef production for this year was revised down by 175 million lbs. to a record-large 27.61 billion lbs.

“Preliminary Yearly Federally Inspected Slaughter cattle numbers for 2018 showed a 2.6% increase over 2017 and a 7.2% larger harvest over the previous five-year average,” say AMS analysts. “Total cow slaughter in 2018 was 7.0% over year ago and 10.4% over the previous five-year average. Beef cow slaughter showed the way with an 8.6% larger number than a year ago and 14.1% larger than the previous five-year average.”

“Prices of calves, feeder cattle, and slaughter cows are in no way considered strong by those who are selling, but the prices are showing improvement which brings optimism,” Griffith says. “The most favorable aspect of the market may be that seasonal price trends continue to work their way into the market, which can aid producers in decision making because they can use seasonal expectations for purchasing and selling. This is important because seasonal trends for many classes of cattle were shot out of the air during the marketing years 2014 through 2016.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts*

Feb. 8

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

259,700

(+49,000)

56,100

(+2,200)

22,300

(+18,800)

338,100

(+13,700)

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Feb. 7 Change
$141.69  –  $0.17

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 8  Change
600-700 lbs. $159.44 –    1.84
700-800 lbs. $147.62 –    1.66
800-900 lbs. $142.40 +   0.10

South Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 8 Change
500-600 lbs. $166.92 +   3.19
600-700 lbs. $151.52 +   3.02
700-800 lbs. $142.22 +   1.04

Southeast

Steers-Cash Feb. 8 Change
400-500 lbs. $160.36 +   0.82
500-600 lbs. $148.72 –    0.80
600-700 lbs. $138.60 +   0.19

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Feb. 8 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $215.35 +  $1.09
Select $211.17 –   $1.98  
Ch-Se Spread $4.18 +  $3.07

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Feb. 8 Change
Mar $144.100 +   $1.575
Apr $145.900 +   $1.900
May $146.900 +   $2.300
Aug $150.900 +   $2.200
Sep $151.125 +   $2.025
Oct $150.950 +   $1.775
Nov $150.500 +   $1.500
Jan ’20 $147.600 +   $0.625
Live Cattle   Feb. 8 Change
Feb ’19 $127.375 +   $1.925
Apr $127.925 +   $1.650
Jun $118.100 +   $1.950
Aug $114.575 +   $1.575
Oct $116.025 +   $1.350
Dec $118.225 +   $1.350
Feb ’20 $119.400 +   $1.125
Apr $119.700 +   $1.450
Jun $112.350 +   $0.950
Corn futures Feb. 8 Change
Mar ’19 $3.742 –  $0.040
May $3.822 –  $0.048
Jul $3.900 –  $0.046
Sep $3.934 –  $0.040
Dec $3.992 –  $0.030
Mar ’20 $4.086 –  $0.026
Oil CME-WTI Feb. 8 Change
Mar $52.72 –   $2.54
Apr $53.09 –   $2.46
May $53.55 –   $2.33
Jun $54.02 –   $2.19
Jul $54.45 –   $2.05
Aug $54.81 –   $1.90

Equities

Equity Indexes Feb. 8 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25106.33 +  42.44
NASDAQ     7298.20 +    34.33
S&P 500     2707.88 +       1.35
Dollar (DXY)          96.64 +       1.07
Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Feb. 8, 2019 2019-02-12T11:23:00-05:00

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