Cattle futures bounced around last week, but never outran the shadow of the unexpectedly large March feedlot placements suggested by the latest Cattle on Feed report that came out the previous Friday.
Sagging wholesale beef values and worries that elevated retail beef prices are beginning to chip at demand added pressure to Live Cattle futures, which closed an average of $2.90 lower week to week on Friday. They closed an average of 84¢ lower on Friday, except for $3.40 higher in expiring Apr.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $7.13 lower week to week on Friday at $260.78/cwt. Select was $6.80 lower at $247.97.
However, negotiated cash fed cattle prices were steady to higher amid snugger supplies before the anticipated summer bulge.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on very light demand to limited with light demand, with too few transactions too trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Live prices last week were steady in the Southern Plains at $140/cwt.; steady to $1 higher in the Northern Plains at $144-$146 and in the Western Corn Belt at $145-$147. Dressed prices were $2 higher at $232.
Through Thursday, the weighted average direct fed steer price was 31¢ higher on a live basis at $143.31/cwt. The average steer price in the beef was 42¢ higher at $232.32.
Estimated total cattle slaughter last week of 656,000 head was 9,000 head fewer than the previous week but 3,000 head more than the same week last year. Year-to-date total estimated cattle slaughter of 11.01 million head is 51,000 head more than the same time last year. Total estimated year-to-date beef production through last week was 9.20 billion lbs., which was 706,000 lbs. more (+0.77 %) than a year earlier.
Feeder cattle futures closed an average of $1.87 lower on Friday and an average of $7.73 lower week to week, as Corn futures gained an average of 25.6¢ in the front six contracts during the same time.