Widely volatile outside markets, stemming from worries about the potential impact of the new COVID variant (omicron), pressured Cattle futures last week, despite another solid gain in cash prices. Yet, buoyant cash prices and fundamental strength continued to provide optimism.
For the week, negotiated cash fed cattle prices were $2 higher on a live basis at $142/cwt. in the Southern Plains and Colorado. They were steady to $4 higher in Nebraska at $140 and steady to $5 higher in the western Corn Belt at $140. Dressed prices were $3 higher in Nebraska at $220; $3-$7 higher in the western Corn Belt at $220.
Total estimated cattle slaughter last week of 676,000 head was 110,000 head more than the previous holiday-shortened week and 7,000 more than the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated total cattle slaughter of 30.8 million head was 872,000 head more (+2.9%) than the same period last year. Estimated total year-to-date beef production of 25.52 billion lbs. was 610.9 million lbs. more (+2.5%) than a year earlier.