Futures and equity markets were closed Friday, in observance of Good Friday. Through Thursday, from the previous Friday, Cattle futures were able to claw back some losses, supported by stronger cash sales and the continued seasonal increase in Choice wholesale beef value.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from inactive on light demand to a standstill through Friday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Live prices last week were $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $139/cwt., $2 higher in Nebraska at $140-$142, $3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $143 and $2-$4 higher in Colorado at $140-$142. Dressed prices were $4 higher at $226.
“It is not surprising that finished cattle prices increased this week as the April market tends to be strong and the highlight of the spring,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee (UT). “However, pessimism has started to set in due to the failure of the market to break out of its narrow trading range. As was said last week, it will still be difficult for finished cattle prices to exceed the high price experienced in February, but there is more of a chance now than last week. The hope is that prices push higher and even challenge the $145 price mark, which would be $2 higher than the $143 price in February.”
Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 634,000 head was 37,000 head fewer than the previous week and 7,000 head fewer than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 9.69 million head was 50,000 more than last year. Year-to-date estimated beef production of 8.1 billion lbs. was 61.8 million lbs. more than in 2021.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.15 higher week to week on Friday at $272.62/cwt. Select was $1.43 lower at $258.90.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.97 higher from the previous Friday through Thursday ($1.42 higher at the back to $2.85 higher at the front).