Weekly Market Highlights

Weekly Market Highlights 2017-06-02T12:10:16-05:00

Weekly Market Highlights

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Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending June 14, 2019

Despite futures pressure stemming from higher grain prices, cash feeder cattle mostly gained, perhaps with increased demand as more feedlots get cleaned up.

Steers and heifers sold steady to $5/cwt. higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Demand was reported as moderate to good across the Northern and Southern Plains as buyers were willing to put cattle back in pens even with the uptick in corn prices,” note AMS analysts. 

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.90 lower week to week on Friday ($1.55 to $2.45 lower). Over the same period, Corn futures closed an average of 34¢ higher through the front three contracts, as weather challenges both planted acres and yield.

“Steer and heifer calf prices are now expected to fall by about 3% in 2019 relative to last year, equivalent to taking between $4-$7/cwt. out of 500-600 lb. calf prices in the Southern Plains,” say analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), in the latest Livestock Monitor. They peg the season-average corn price at $4.50/bu.

In his weekly market comments, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee points out Dec Corn futures are up a staggering 80¢ since the middle of May.

“The market is already pricing corn in such a way to ration its use over the next 12-15 months,” Griffith explains. “Understanding that fewer acres of corn have been planted this year and yields are expected to be negatively impacted by later planting, fewer bushels of corn will pressure cattle markets the next 12 months as corn prices remain elevated.”

At the same time, Griffith points out the excessive moisture challenging row crops is fueling forage growth.

“…feedlots will be looking for heavier cattle to place in the feedlot which means there will be incentive to add weight to cattle the next several months,” Griffith says.

Fed Cattle Soften in Sluggish Trade

Neither cattle feeders nor packers seemed possessed to swap cattle.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade for the week appeared steady to either side of even in two regions through Friday afternoon. The only established prices reported by USDA during the week were for the western Corn Belt: mainly steady on a live basis at $114-$115/cwt. and steady to $2 higher in the beef at $184-$186. There were prices reported in other regions at mostly $1-$2 lower than the previous week but too few to trend. On Friday, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association reported its members trading at $112, which was $1 less than the previous week.

Both carcass weights and grading percentages continue to suggest that feedlot marketing is current, with no backlog building in the wings.

Live Cattle futures closed mixed week to week on Friday: an average of $1.08 higher through the front four contracts (52¢ to $1.85 higher) and then an average of 40¢ lower, except for 20¢ higher at the back.

In the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), USDA analysts forecast $118/cwt. for the 5-area Direct fed steer price in the second quarter, followed by $110 in the third quarter and $114 in the fourth.

Year to date, AMS notes that heifer slaughter rate is 8.7% more than last year, with beef cow slaughter up 2.6%, perhaps suggesting further pressure on limited herd expansion.

“Preliminary heifer slaughter through May is about 50,000 head short of 4 million head,” say AMS analysts. “The last time January-to-May heifer slaughter eclipsed the 4 million mark was 2011.”

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 8¢ lower week to week on Friday afternoon at $222.23/cwt. Select was $4.16 lower at $202.76.

“Weaker beef demand may be the biggest threat to cattle and beef markets for the remainder of the year,” explained Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist, in his weekly market comments. “Strong beef demand supported cattle and beef markets in 2017 and 2018, but there are signs that some weakness may be developing in beef demand in both domestic and international markets. While unemployment remains very low, other indications of weakness in the macro-economy are concerning and have led to reduced forecasts for U.S. economic growth in 2019; largely due to ongoing impacts of tariffs and trade disruptions. Relatively slow domestic income growth and higher prices for major consumer items, such as gasoline, combined with record large supplies of beef, pork and poultry may be limiting domestic beef demand going forward in 2019.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

June 14

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

134,900

(-29,100)

52,900

(+22,600)

49,400

(+37,300)

237,200

(+30,800)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* June 13 Change
  $134.25 + 2.38

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash June 14 Change
600-700 lbs. $163.77 +  $10.35
700-800 lbs. $148.06 +  $4.87
800-900 lbs. $135.86 +  $1.83

 

South Central

Steers-Cash June 14 Change
500-600 lbs. $156.38 +  $1.61
600-700 lbs. $146.89 +  $1.14
700-800 lbs. $136.54 +  $1.76

 

Southeast

Steers-Cash June 14 Change
400-500 lbs. $153.77 +  $2.22
500-600 lbs. $143.51 –   $0.10
600-700 lbs. $132.83 –   $0.62

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) June 14 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $222.23 –   $0.08
Select $202.76 –   $4.16  
Ch-Se Spread $19.47 +  $4.08

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  June 14 Change
Aug $135.525 –  $1.725
Sep $135.800 –  $1.550
Oct $135.750 –  $1.625
Nov $135.875 –  $1.475
Jan ’20 $133.850 –  $1.975
Mar $133.075 –  $2.350
Apr $134.475 –  $2.025
May $134.750 –  $2.450

 

Live Cattle   June 14 Change
Jun $108.775 + $1.850
Aug $104.275 + $0.975
Oct $105.475 + $0.975
Dec $109.950 + $0.525
Feb ’20 $114.100 – $0.075
Apr $116.175 – $0.300
Jun $108.925 – $0.750
Aug $107.525 – $0.475
Oct $110.000 + $0.200

 

Corn futures June 14 Change
Jul $4.530 + $0.374
Sep $4.582 + $0.340
Dec $4.634 + $0.298
Mar ’20 $4.674 + $0.250
May $4.684 + $0.228
Jul $4.6.80 + $0.198

 

Oil CME-WTI June 14 Change
Jul $52.51 –  $1.48
Aug $52.77 –  $1.39
Sep $52.95 –  $1.32
Oct $53.00 –  $1.25
Nov $53.01 –  $1.18
Dec $52.98 –  $1.12

 

Equities

Equity Indexes June 14 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26089.61 + 105.67
NASDAQ     7796.66 +   54.56
S&P 500     2886.98 +   13.64
Dollar (DXY)          97.45 +    0.89
June 16th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending June 7, 2019

Calf and Feeder Prices Continue Lower

Despite some recovery in Cattle futures, increasing beef production, trade tensions and grain price uncertainty continued to weigh on cash calf and feeder cattle markets.

Nationwide, steers and heifers sold $1-$5/cwt. lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Market reporters noted this week’s offerings were feeling the effects of the first hot spell of the year,” say AMS analysts. “Auction receipts lagged behind a year ago by 50,000 as analysts are scrutinizing the number of placements in May and June due to the unusually large placement number in April.”

Feeder Cattle futures recovered about 27% of the previous week’s steep losses, closing an average of $2.41 higher week to week on Friday (80¢ higher toward the back to $4.12 higher in spot Aug). That was thanks to strong gains Tuesday and Wednesday as Corn futures softened.

Corn futures closed an average of 11¢ lower through the front three contracts week to week on Friday. Keep in mind, the previous two weeks they were up an average of22¢higher through the front six contracts.

Monday’s Crop Progress report will likely drive near-term direction. The previous week, corn planting was record slow with just 67% of in the ground as of June 2, which was 29% less than last year and the 5-year average. Planting was even slower in most key corn states.

“Higher expected corn prices due to the inability to get corn planted is definitely a factor weighing negatively on the feeder cattle market, as are continued trade tensions,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “However, there are factors in the marketplace that should benefit the beef and cattle complex, including African Swine Fever, which is reducing the quantity of meat protein on the global market.”

Griffith also points to the easing of trade tensions with some nations, such as Canada and Mexico.

Recently threatened U.S. tariffs on Mexico—due to the flow of illegal immigrants through that nation—reportedly were suspended on Friday. If so, perhaps that paves the way for ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

In the meantime, the lack of trade deals continues to weigh on U.S. beef exports.

U.S. beef exports totaled 105,241 mt in April, down 5% year over year and export value was down only slightly at $674.2 million, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the USMEF.

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter in April averaged $305.61, which was 7% less than a year earlier.

Fed Cattle Prices Soften

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ended up generally $2-$3 lower on a live basis last week at $112-$113/cwt. in the Southern Plains and at $114-$115 in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was also $2-$3 lower at $183-$184.

Except for $1.55 lower in spot Jun, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.06 higher week to week on Friday (22¢ to $1.57 higher).

“The story in the finished cattle market continues to be the strong basis where live cash prices are trading $5-$6 higher than June Live Cattle futures,” Griffith says. “For cattle feeders that hedged the sale of these cattle prior to April 23, the positive basis is a money-making proposition as the futures hedge will have protected against the huge futures price decline, and cattle feeders are capturing the value in the positive basis. At the same time, the positive basis provides good reason to stay current with marketings, which will keep pulling cattle through the system.”

So far, grading percentages and carcass weights suggest fed cattle marketing remains aggressive and current.

Although carcass quality in May was higher year over year with an average of 78.36% grading Choice and Prime, the average was 1.86% less month to month—compared to a decline of 0.84% the previous year.

As for carcass weights, after catching up and surpassing year-over-year levels for several weeks, average dressed steer weights sunk to 842 lbs. the week ending May 25, the lightest of the year. Though a seasonal decrease is unsurprising, dropping 7 lbs. from the previous week and 6 lbs. from the previous year speaks to heavy, timely marketing.

“Despite some good gains in Cattle futures, the previous week’s sharp break and plentiful supplies, with seasonal weakness coming for the summer months, still paints a bearish attitude,” say AMS analysts.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

June 7

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

164,000

(+72,800)

30,300

(+7,900)

12,100

(-6,000)

206,400

(+74,700)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* June 6 Change
  $131.87 –  0.60

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash June 7 Change
600-700 lbs. $153.42 –   $7.85
700-800 lbs. $143.19 –   $3.54
800-900 lbs. $134.03 –   $5.65

 

South Central

Steers-Cash June 7 Change
500-600 lbs. $154.77 –   $4.22
600-700 lbs. $145.75 –   $1.88
700-800 lbs. $134.78 –   $2.77

 

Southeast

Steers-Cash June 7 Change
400-500 lbs. $151.55 +  $3.17
500-600 lbs. $143.61 –   $1.03
600-700 lbs. $133.45 –   $1.47

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) June 7 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $222.31 –   $0.90
Select $206.92 –   $0.77  
Ch-Se Spread $15.39 –   $0.13

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  June 7 Change
Aug $137.250 + $4.125
Sep $137.350 + $3.275
Oct $137.375 + $2.850
Nov $137.350 + $2.350
Jan ’20 $135.825 + $2.175
Mar $135.425 + $2.650
Apr $136.500 + $0.800
May $137.200 + $1.025

 

Live Cattle   June 7 Change
Jun $106.925 – $1.550
Aug $103.300 + $0.225
Oct $104.500 + $0.600
Dec $109.425 + $0.950
Feb ’20 $114.175 + $1.400
Apr $116.475 + $1.400
Jun $109.675 + $1.575
Aug $108.000 + $1.325
Oct $109.800 + $0.975

 

Corn futures June 7 Change
Jul $4.156 –  $0.114
Sep $4.242 –  $0.118
Dec $4.336 –  $0.100
Mar ’20 $4.424 –  $0.090
May $4.456 –  $0.070
Jul $4.482 –  $0.054

 

Oil CME-WTI June 7 Change
Jul $53.99 + $0.49
Aug $54.16 + $0.52
Sep $54.27 + $0.54
Oct $54.25 + $0.53
Nov $54.19 + $0.53
Dec $54.10 + $0.55

 

Equities

Equity Indexes June 7 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25983.94 + 1168.90
NASDAQ     7742.10 +  288.95
S&P 500     2873.34 +   121.28
Dollar (DXY)          96.56 –       1.05
June 9th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending May 31, 2019

Widespread heavy rain and flooding continued to mire crop planting, increase price uncertainty and weigh heavy on feeder cattle markets.

Nationwide, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) pegged cash prices for steers and heifers at steady money to $5/cwt. lower, amid receipts curtailed by both Memorial Day and continued severe weather.

AMS analysts noted that last week’s heavy rains will test levees and dams in South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois. 

At the same time, high water levels continue to test and disrupt transportation.

One example.

“Commercial navigation on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) is being disrupted due to high waters,” explains Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. “MKARNS provides inland ports that connect directly to the Mississippi river as far inland as the Port of Catoosa, near Tulsa. The MKARNS is an important transportation artery for agriculture in a multi-state region, providing a market for grain shipments downstream and the arrival of inputs such as fertilizer.”

Crop Uncertainty Pummels Feeder Cattle Futures

Softer cash prices for calves and feeders felt more severe, given the collapse in futures prices over the week’s last two sessions.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $8.80 lower week to week on Friday ($6.37 lower to $10.10 lower in spot Aug). Plenty of the pressure stemmed from

the extraordinary increase in grain futures prices, tied to growing uncertainty about this year’s crop production.

“Corn planting progress is the slowest on record for this time of year and soybean acreage planted is reported to be the second slowest on record,” say AMS analysts.

Just 58% of corn was planted as of May 26, according to the most recent USDA Crop Progress report. That was 32% less than last year and 32% less than the 5-year average. 32% was emerged, which was 37% less than last year and 37% less than average. Progress was even more bearish in some key states, compared to average: Illinois (-60%);  Indiana (-63%); Iowa (-20%); Minnesota (-27%); Nebraska (-13%).

Corn futures closed an average of 22¢higher through the front six contracts week to week on Friday. That’s an average of 42¢ higher in the last two weeks.

Similarly, only 29% of soybeans were in the ground, compared to 74% for the previous year and 66% for the average. 11% were emerged, which was 33% less than last year and 24% less than average.

Soybean futures were about 48¢higher week to week on Friday, through the front six contracts. They’re up an average of 56¢over the last two weeks.

“The four remaining feeder cattle futures contracts for 2019 as well as the four feeder cattle contracts trading in the first half of 2020 are all trading in less than a $2 range,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “Maybe today’s futures market quotes are correct in predicting the future cash price for the next 12 months, but it seems highly unlikely that feeder cattle will continue to trade in such a narrow range.”

Cattle futures were also pressured by news Friday that President Trump plans to impose 5% tariffs on Mexican imports, beginning June 10, unless that country makes significant progress toward stemming the flow of illegal immigrants across its northern border into the U.S. Should that come to pass, the move also casts a shadow over ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.45 lower week to week on Friday ($2.67 to $4.87 lower).

Fed Cattle Prices Steady

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ended the week mainly steady with the previous week on a live basis at $115 in the Southern Plains, $116 in Nebraska and mostly $116-$117 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was steady to $3 higher at $186 in Nebraska and at $185-$187 in the western Corn Belt.

“There is no definitive way to know what halted the finished cattle price collapse in the cash market, but something came to the aid of cattle feeders,” Griffith says. “Finished cattle continue to trade with a positive basis which is desirable for anyone on the selling side of a transaction. However, the June Live Cattle contract is trading around $110 and the expectation would be to see convergence of the futures contract price and the cash price.”

In the latest Livestock Monitor, analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center forecasts average fed steer prices in the third quarter (July-September) at $112-$115/ cwt., about 3% more year over year.

In the meantime, despite increasing beef production, wholesale beef values continue to trade steady to higher.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.57 higher week to week on Friday afternoon at $223.21/cwt. Select was 78¢ lower at $207.69.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

May 31

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

91,200

(-39,100)

22,400

(-22,900)

18,100

(+17,100)

131,700

(-44,900)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* May 30 Change
  $132.47 –  4.34

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash May 31 Change
600-700 lbs. $172.48 +  $1.81
700-800 lbs. $161.27 –   $0.34
800-900 lbs. $146.73 –   $2.91

 

South Central

Steers-Cash May 31 Change
500-600 lbs. $158.99 –   $5.07
600-700 lbs. $147.63 –   $7.89
700-800 lbs. $137.55 –   $8.93

 

Southeast

Steers-Cash May 31 Change
400-500 lbs. $148.38 –   $6.41
500-600 lbs. $144.64 –   $1.15
600-700 lbs. $134.92 +  $0.35

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) May 31 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $223.21 +  $1.57
Select $207.69 –   $0.78  
Ch-Se Spread $15.52 +  $2.35

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  May 31 Change
Aug $133.125 –  $10.100
Sep $134.075 –  $9.800
Oct $134.525 –  $9.700
Nov $135.000 –  $9.850
Jan ’20 $133.650 –  $9.225
Mar $132.775 –  $8.950
Apr $135.700 –  $6.375
May $136.175 –  $6.425

 

Live Cattle   May 31 Change
Jun $108.475 –   $2.700
Aug $103.075 –   $4.875
Oct $103.900 –   $3.875
Dec $108.475 –   $3.625
Feb ’20 $112.775 –   $3.450
Apr $115.075 –   $3.175
Jun $108.100 –   $3.350
Aug $106.675 –   $3.325
Oct $108.825 –   $2.675

 

Corn futures May 31 Change
Jul $4.270 + $0.228
Sep $4.350 + $0.236
Dec $4.436 + $0.240
Mar ’20 $4.514 + $0.222
May $4.526 + $0.204
Jul $4.536 + $0.192

 

Oil CME-WTI May 31 Change
Jul $53.50 –  $5.13
Aug $53.64 –  $5.07
Sep $53.73 –  $5.00
Oct $53.72 –  $4.94
Nov $53.66 –  $4.87
Dec $53.55 –  $4.80

 

Equities

Equity Indexes May 31 Change
Dow Industrial Average  24815.04 –   770.65
NASDAQ     7453.15 –   183.86
S&P 500     2752.06 –     74.00
Dollar (DXY)          97.61 +      0.01
June 1st, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending May 24, 2019

Volatile futures markets and continued pressure from increasing beef production weighed on cattle prices last week. Widespread heavy rain and flooding also hampered and altered calf and feeder cattle marketing.

“Soggy, waterlogged soils are prevalent throughout much of the country and is a far cry from a year ago when the drought monitor had over 25% of the country in a D1 moderate drought designation or worse,” say analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). “Swollen rivers have made transportation of goods up the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri almost non-existent.” 

Nationwide, AMS pegged calf and feeder cattle prices from $3/cwt. lower to $4 higher, with stronger prices later in the week.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.63 lower week to week on Friday, with added pressure from rising feed costs.

Only 49% of corn was planted as of May 19, according to the most recent USDA Crop Progress report, which was 29% less than last year and 31% less than the 5-year average. Corn futures closed an average of 20¢ higher through the front six contracts week to week on Friday.

First-quarter prices for feeder steers (700-800 lbs.) in the Southern Plains were $5.76/cwt. less (-3.9%) year over year, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). Steer calf (500-600 lbs.) prices were down $8.60 (-4.8%). Those analysts expect second-quarter prices to be about 1% higher than last year.

The monthly Cattle on Feed report could offer some support, with about 4.5% fewer April placements than expected, though still 8.67% higher year over year.

Fed Cattle Prices Continue Lower

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade through Friday afternoon last week was generally $1-$2 lower on a live basis at $114-$115/cwt. in the Southern Plains and $116 in Nebraska. It was steady in the western Corn Belt at $116-$118. Dressed trade was steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $183-$186; steady to $4 lower in the western Corn Belt at $185-$186.

“Despite lower prices in the finished cattle market for the fifth consecutive week, feedlot operators were willing sellers, in order to continue capturing the positive basis,” explains Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The cash market price has declined $13 over that five-week period, making it difficult to see the bottom of this price decline. This week’s cash trade resulted in the lowest finished cattle price since November of last year, and should raise a warning sign as the market moves through the soft summer months. The strong downward price movement could be pointing the market toward a weekly summer low near $106/cwt., but the hope will be to hold the line near $110, which will probably be close to the average price for June through August.”

Except for 10¢ and 40¢ lower at either end of the board, Live Cattle futures closed $1.21 lower week to week on Friday.

Wholesale beef values edged higher, though, offering hope that summer grilling demand may finally be at hand.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.33 higher week to week on Friday afternoon at $221.64/cwt. Select was 19¢ higher at $208.47.

As well, beef in freezers as of  Apr. 30 totaled 430.35 million lbs. That was 5% less (-40.8 million lbs.) than the previous month and 9% less than the previous year, according to the monthly USDA Cold Storage report published Wednesday. That’s also well below the five-year average of 457 million lbs., according to Allendale, Inc.

Added bullishness from frozen inventory comes with understanding how much beef production began to surge in April.

Beef production in April of 2.26 billion lbs. was 143.8 million lbs. (+6.79%) more than the previous year, according to the monthly USDA Livestock Slaughter report. That was on total federally inspected cattle slaughter of 2.79 million head, which was 189,700 head (+7.30%) more.

For January through April, beef production of 8.67 billion lbs. was 91.7 million lbs. (+1.07%) more year over year. That was on 10.60 million head of cattle slaughtered under federal inspection, which was 248,600 head (+2.40%) more than a year earlier.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

May 24

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

130,300

(-18,600)

45,300

(+16,200)

1,000

(-15,500)

176,600

(-17,900)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* May 23 Change
  $136.81 +  4.05

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash May 24 Change
600-700 lbs. $170.67 –   $2.98
700-800 lbs. $161.61 +  $2.85
800-900 lbs. $149.64 +  $1.27

 

South Central

Steers-Cash May 24 Change
500-600 lbs. $164.06 –   $0.33
600-700 lbs. $155.52 +  $3.30
700-800 lbs. $146.48 +  $8.47

 

Southeast

Steers-Cash May 24 Change
400-500 lbs. $154.79 –   $4.65
500-600 lbs. $145.79 –   $5.00
600-700 lbs. $134.57 –   $6.50

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) May 24 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $221.64 +  $1.33
Select $208.47 +  $0.19  
Ch-Se Spread $13.18 +  $1.14

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  May 24 Change
Aug $143.225 –  $2.275
Sep $143.875 –  $2.825
Oct $144.225 –  $3.100
Nov $144.850 –  $2.950
Jan ’20 $142.875 –  $2.700
Mar $141.725 –  $1.950
Apr $142.075 –  $2.625
May $142.600 n/a

 

Live Cattle   May 24 Change
Jun $111.175 –   $0.100
Aug $107.950 –   $0.975
Oct $107.775 –   $1.125
Dec $112.100 –   $1.450
Feb ’20 $116.225 –   $1.725
Apr $118.250 –   $1.250
Jun $111.450 –   $0.700
Aug $110.000 –   $1.250
Oct $111.500 –   $0.400

 

Corn futures May 24 Change
Jul $4.042 + $0.210
Sep $4.124 + $0.220
Dec $4.196 + $0.214
Mar ’20 $4.292 + $0.216
May $4.322 + $0.190
Jul $4.344 + $0.162

 

Oil CME-WTI May 24 Change
Jul $58.63 –  $4.29
Aug $58.71 –  $4.28
Sep $58.73 –  $4.25
Oct $58.66 –  $4.20
Nov $58.53 –  $4.13
Dec $58.35 –  $4.04

 

Equities

Equity Indexes May 24 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25585.69 –   178.31
NASDAQ     7637.01 –   179.28
S&P 500     2826.06 –     33.47
Dollar (DXY)          97.60 –       0.41
May 25th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending May 17, 2019

Cattle and beef markets continued to erode on seasonal pressure, weather delays and bearishness concerning looming heavy beef production.

Nationwide, steers and heifers sold steady to $5/cwt. lower, with instances of as much as $8 lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.46 lower week to week on Friday (95¢ to $3.10 lower in spot May). That was with a surge of about $3.40 higher during the last two sessions, except for spot May.

“It is not surprising to see the lightweight calf market begin to soften as the market begins to move towards late spring and early summer. However, it is disconcerting to watch yearling cattle prices soften during this same time period when they typically begin seeing support,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments.

However, Griffith points out current Feeder Cattle futures prices are only $8-$12 below the trading range from late October to the middle of March.

“During this entire time period, cash feeder cattle prices never surged higher nor did they have a washout. People actually making a living with cattle have continued trading on a flat market with little change in price the past seven months,” Griffith says.

Based on recent prices and pressure on feedlot economics, analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) lowered the expected feeder steer price (Oklahoma City) by $2 for the second quarter to $145/cwt. In the monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, ERS projects the annual feeder steer price for this year at $145.50.

In his weekly market comments,Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University says he expects prices to increase seasonally for heavy feeder cattle as feedlot pen conditions improve.

One potential snag in that outlook could be higher feed prices if planting continues to be delayed by wet, cool weather. As of May 12, only 30% of corn was planted, according to the USDA Crop Progress report. That was 29% less than last year and 36% less than the 5-year average.

Corn futures closed an average of 23¢higher through the front six contracts week to week on Friday (13¢higher to 31¢higher in spot Jul).

Fed cattle Prices Lose More Ground

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was $3-$5 lower last week on a live basis at $115-$117/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $117 in Nebraska and $116-$118 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $2-$5 lower in the western Corn Belt at $185-$190 and $3-$10 lower in Nebraska at $185-$186.

“The positive basis has been the motivating factor for most feedlot managers to push cattle out of the feedlot, even though they would prefer to hold the line on cash-traded cattle,” Griffith explains. “The current week’s cash trade is still resulting in a $6 positive basis, but the expectation is for this to be whittled away over the next month. It would appear the finished cattle market is now in a situation where things are going to get worse before they start to get better.”

Live Cattle futures closed mixed week to week on Friday, from 10¢ to $1.17 lower in three contracts, to an average of 61¢ higher (2¢ to $1.32 higher).

The slow start to grilling season continues to weigh on beef prices.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 80¢ lower week to week on Friday afternoon at $220.31/cwt. Select was 82¢ higher at $208.28.

“It is almost certain that Choice beef has hit its 2019 high and there is a real possibility that Choice boxes will test the $200 mark,” Griffith says. “It may take some additional bad news to push prices below $200, but it could occur. Similarly, the Choice Select spread has been seasonal, but the spread is nearly $10 lower than the widest spread a year ago which hints toward supply and demand of Choice versus Select beef.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

May 17

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

148,900

(+2,100)

29,100

(+7,800)

16,500

(-6,200)

194,500

(+3,700)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* May 16 Change
  $132.76 –   2.76

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash May 17 Change
600-700 lbs. $173.65 n/a
700-800 lbs. $158.76 n/a
800-900 lbs. $148.37 n/a

 

South Central

Steers-Cash May 17 Change
500-600 lbs. $164.39 n/a
600-700 lbs. $152.22 n/a
700-800 lbs. $138.01 n/a

 

Southeast

Steers-Cash May 17 Change
400-500 lbs. $159.44 n/a
500-600 lbs. $150.79 n/a
600-700 lbs. $141.07 n/a

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) May 17 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $220.31 –   $0.80
Select $208.28 +  $0.82  
Ch-Se Spread $12.03 –   $1.62

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  May 17 Change
May $134.525 –  $3.100
Aug $145.500 –  $1.325
Sep $146.700 –  $1.075
Oct $147.325 –  $1.425
Nov $147.800 –  $1.550
Jan ’20 $145.575 –  $1.100
Mar $143.675 –  $1.125
Apr $144.700 –  $0.950

 

Live Cattle   May 17 Change
Jun $111.275 –   $1.175
Aug $108.925 +  $0.025
Oct $108.900 –   $0.125
Dec $113.550 +  $0.475
Feb ’20 $117.950 +  $1.200
Apr $119.500 +  $1.325
Jun $112.150 +  $0.150
Aug $111.250 +  $0.500
Oct $111.900 –   $0.100

 

Corn futures May 17 Change
Jul $3.832 + $0.316
Sep $3.904 + $0.294
Dec $3.982 + $0.262
Mar ’20 $4.076 + $0.214
May $4.132 + $0.172
Jul $4.182 + $0.136

 

Oil CME-WTI May 10 Change
Jun $62.76 + $1.10
Jul $62.92 + $1.12
Aug $62.99 + $1.13
Sep $62.98 + $1.15
Oct $62.86 + $1.16
Nov $62.66 + $1.17

 

Equities

Equity Indexes May 17 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25764.00 –   178.37
NASDAQ     7816.29 –   100.65
S&P 500     2859.53 –     21.87
Dollar (DXY)          98.01 +       0.69
May 18th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending May 10, 2019

Cattle markets continued to erode last week, pressured by everything from volatile outside markets whipsawed by kneejerk trade emotion, to the cool weather delaying summer grilling demand, to increasing fed cattle supplies.

Nationwide, steers and heifers sold steady to $5/cwt. lower, with instances of $10 lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Rain and waterlogged fields were the main talk across the breadbasket of the country as cattle receipts were hampered from Kansas to the Dakotas to Illinois and Indiana,” AMS analysts say.

A late-week rally helped Feeder Cattle futures close and average of 89¢ higher week to week on Friday (45¢ to $1.27 higher). The previous two weeks, Feeder Cattle slid about an average of $14 lower.

Oversold conditions and the significant decline in open interest offer hope the rally in Cattle futures represents a turn from the bottom.

“Feeder cattle prices in the cash market moving through summer and fall are now on course to remain steady with the previous six months, given the expectations of Feeder Cattle futures,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “Though the past three weeks of futures trading have not been advantageous for folks marketing feeder cattle, there is still time for the market to recover some of its losses. One can never predict prices with 100% certainty, but there may be an opportunity that summer and fall Feeder Cattle futures prices move back to the low $150s which will present a marketing opportunity.”

Moreover, it appears grain prices will remain supportive.

Bearishness Prevails in Grain Markets

Despite wet conditions and late planting that threaten to decrease corn planting,Corn futures were an average of 16¢lower week to week on Friday, through the front six contracts (18¢to 21¢lower). Friday’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) offered no support.

For instance, analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) projected the 2019-20 season-average farm price for corn 20¢ lowerat $3.30/bu., the lowest since 2006-07.

Likewise, in the latest WASDE, ERS analysts say, “The projected season-average farm price for wheat is $4.70/bu., down from last year’s estimated $5.20 on the expectation of greater export competition and lower U.S. corn prices.”

As for soybeans, WASDE projects the 2019-20 U.S. season-average price at $8.10/bu., down 45¢ from the previous year.

Soybean futures were down about 31¢on average week to week, through the front six contracts.

Fed Cattle Prices Continue Decline

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade continued to lose ground last week. Live sales were $2.00-$4.50 lower at $120/cwt. in the Southern Plains, mostly $121 in Nebraska and $122.00-$122.50 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was $6-$11 lower in Nebraska at $189-$194. It was $8-$10 lower in the western Corn Belt at $190-$192.

“A $6 (per cwt.) loss in two weeks adds up to about $84 per head on an animal finishing at 1,400 lbs.,” Griffith explains. “There is good reason cattle feeders have been willing sellers at lower prices. That reason is the June Live Cattle futures price, which is trading at a $7-$8 discount to this week’s cash price. Cattle feeders are likely wanting to push even more cattle out of pens to keep from being forced to market those cattle on an even lower market than this week.”

Live Cattle futures closed mixed week to week on Friday, from an average of 54¢ lower (10¢ to 97 lower) to an average of 19¢ higher. They were down by about $9 on average the previous two weeks.

As mentioned earlier, cool, wet weather continues to stymie the seasonal increase in grilling demand.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $6.25 lower week to week on Friday afternoon at $221.11/cwt. Select was $5.83 lower at $207.46.

Although upcoming holidays should offer an expected seasonal boost, cattle numbers and carcass weights are increasing. After months of lower year-over-year dressed steer and heifer weights, they began to draw even and then increase a couple of weeks ago. The average dressed steer weight of 854 lbs. (week ending Apr. 27) was 4 lbs. heavier than the previous year, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. Average dressed heifer weights were 6 lbs. heavier at 794 lbs. Fed cattle slaughter for the same week was 14,665 head more at 512,477.

USDA didreduce beef production slightly for this year, in the latest WASDE. The May projection is 27.27 billion lbs., which would be 397 million lbs. more than last year.

“Beef production is forecast higher primarily on higher projected steer and heifer slaughter and heavier carcass weights,” according to ERS analysts.

Although slightly lower month to month, WASDE projects higher fed cattle prices year over year. The annual average fed steer price was projected at $118.50/cwt., compared to $117.12 last year. Prices are forecast at $121 in the second quarter, $113 in the third quarter and $114 in the fourth quarter.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

May 10

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

134,200

(-73,700)

21,300

(-30,300)

22,700

(-15,300)

178,200

(-119,300)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* May 9 Change
  $135.52 –   5.66

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash May 10 Change
600-700 lbs. n/a n/a
700-800 lbs. n/a n/a
800-900 lbs. n/a n/a

 

South Central

Steers-Cash May 10 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 May 10 Change
400-500 lbs. n/a n/a
500-600 lbs. n/a n/a
600-700 lbs. n/a n/a

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) May 10 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $221.11 –   $6.25
Select $207.46 –   $5.83  
Ch-Se Spread $13.65 –   $0.42

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  May 10 Change
May $137.625 + $0.475
Aug $146.825 + $0.450
Sep $147.775 + $0.625
Oct $148.750 + $0.975
Nov $149.350 + $1.100
Jan ’20 $146.675 + $1.275
Mar $144.800 + $1.025
Apr $145.650 + $1.225

 

Live Cattle   May 10 Change
Jun $112.450 –   $0.975
Aug $108.900 –   $0.250
Oct $109.025 –   $0.650
Dec $113.075 –   $0.500
Feb ’20 $116.750 +  $0.100
Apr $118.175 +  $0.175
Jun $112.000 +  $0.250
Aug $110.750 +  $0.250
Oct $112.000 –   $0.350

 

Corn futures May 10 Change
May $3.424 –  $0.206
Jul $3.516 –  $0.190
Sep $3.610 –  $0.166
Dec $3.720 –  $0.156
Mar ’20 $3.862 –  $0.134
May $3.960 –  $0.104

 

Oil CME-WTI May 10 Change
Jun $61.66 –  $0.28
Jul $61.80 –  $0.24
Aug $61.86 –  $0.21
Sep $61.83 –  $0.18
Oct $61.70 –  $0.16
Nov $61.49 –  $0.15

 

Equities

Equity Indexes May 10 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25942.37 –   562.58
NASDAQ     7916.94 –   247.06
S&P 500     2881.40 –     64.24
Dollar (DXY)          97.32 –        0.13
May 12th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending May 3, 2019

Bearishness continued in cattle markets as futures prices dropped and cash prices eroded.

Nationwide, steers and heifer sold from steady to $7/cwt. lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). There were instances of $10-$12 lower for lightweight steers.

“Grass cattle demand has subsided as ranchers are taking stock of what is going on in Chicago,” say AMS analysts. “CME cattle futures continued to close in the red this week and all market participants are standing up and taking notice…The loss of $100 per head or more on a 750 lb. steers in the matter of two weeks makes one wonder just what the heck is going on fundamentally.”

Likewise, the AMS reporter on hand for Thursday’s Superior Livestock Video auction noted, “There is limited demand for feeders. Demand for lightweight cattle headed to grass is moderate as grass accounts are pretty much full…Some producers chose to pass at current bids.”

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $6.73 lower week to week on Friday. That’s an average of $13.88 lower in the last two weeks.

However, weekly weighted average prices for calves and feeders remained higher year over year in the North Central region, according to USDA’s National Weekly Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary. Compared to the same week a year earlier, prices were about even in other regions.

Fed Cattle Prices Continue Slide

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices were sharply lower for the week. Live trade was $3-$4 lower at $122-$123/cwt. in the Southern Plains; mostly $124 in Nebraska and $123-$127 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was mainly $4-$6 lower at mostly $200. It’s worth noting that fed cattle prices remain higher year over year.

AMS analysts noted that estimated fed cattle trade (5-area) for the week of approximately 125,000 head would be the most since late October in 2018.

“The next 60 days are when some of the best meat consumption occurs in the U.S. and we will see how much is needed to satisfy our markets, both domestic and abroad,” say AMS analysts.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $3.48 lower week to week on Friday. That’s an average of $9.27 lower in the last two weeks.

“The June Live Cattle contract price has declined $8 in the past two weeks, with the August and October contracts trading $4 lower than the June contract,” explains Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “If this price decline is realized, the market will have declined 14.6% from its spring high to its summer low, which is only slightly higher than the seasonal 13-14% that is normally experienced. Some may question the expectation of the price decline due to cattle on feed numbers or other factors, but the market has a way of balancing based on supply and demand.”

Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.63 lower week to week on Friday afternoon at $227.36/cwt. Select was $6.12 lower at $213.29.

Griffith points out the Choice cutout value traded higher year over year every week so far this year, except for one.

“One should be able to say with certainty that the strength in the cutout price has supported the finished cattle market despite the 1.9% increase in total cattle slaughter, which means the average weekly slaughter is nearly 12,000 head higher than the same period in 2018,” Griffith explains. “The increase in slaughter numbers through the first 17 weeks of the year are from heifers and cows. Even with 198,000 additional head in the slaughter mix thus far, domestic beef production over that time is only 0.7% higher than a year ago or 56.4 million lbs. more. The ability of packers to push the Choice cutout price higher than year-ago levels with additional beef on the market would point to strong beef demand.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

May 3

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

207,900

(+14,000)

51,600

(-21,700)

38,000

(+36,700)

297,500

(+29,000)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* May 2 Change
  $141.18 –   3.06

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash May 3 Change
600-700 lbs. $178.78 n/a
700-800 lbs. $164.66 n/a
800-900 lbs. $153.14 n/a

South Central

Steers-Cash May 3 Change
500-600 lbs. $170.28 n/a
600-700 lbs. $156.59 n/a
700-800 lbs. $142.46 n/a

Southeast

Steers-Cash May 3 Change
400-500 lbs. $168.29 n/a
500-600 lbs. $158.63 n/a
600-700 lbs. $144.92 n/a

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) May 3 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $227.36 –   $5.63
Select $213.29 –   $6.12  
Ch-Se Spread $14.07 +  $0.49

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  May 3 Change
May $137.150 –  $6.800
Aug $146.375 –  $6.475
Sep $147.150 –  $6.700
Oct $147.775 –  $6.700
Nov $148.250 –  $6.625
Jan ’20 $145.400 –  $6.775
Mar $143.775 –  $6.675
Apr $144.425 –  $7.125

 

Live Cattle   May 3 Change
Jun $113.425 –   $1.625
Aug $109.150 –   $3.500
Oct $109.675 –   $3.750
Dec $113.575 –   $3.900
Feb ’20 $116.650 –   $3.725
Apr $118.000 –   $3.725
Jun $111.750 –   $3.850
Aug $110.500 –   $3.800
Oct $112.350 n/a

 

Corn futures May 3 Change
May $3.630 + $0.118
Jul $3.706 + $0.094
Sep $3.776 + $0.082
Dec $3.876 + $0.070
Mar ’20 $3.996 + $0.042
May $4.064 + $0.020

 

Oil CME-WTI May 3 Change
Jun $61.94 –  $1.36
Jul $62.04 –  $1.34
Aug $62.07 –  $1.29
Sep $62.01 –  $1.22
Oct $61.86 –  $1.18
Nov $61.64 –  $1.16

 

Equities

Equity Indexes May 3 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26504.95 –     38.38
NASDAQ     8164.00 +     17.60
S&P 500     2945.64 +       5.76
Dollar (DXY)          97.45 –        0.60
May 4th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Apr. 26, 2019

Bearishness returned to cattle markets last week, tied to the hard fall in Cattle futures, borne by increasing pessimism about looming cattle supplies as some funds began to unwind long positions. Added pressure came from volatility in Lean Hog futures.

Even so, steers and heifers sold from $3 lower to $4/cwt. higher according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Many markets from early to mid week were on the higher side, while later in the week markets followed the CME cattle complex in a downward trend,” say AMS analysts. They explain demand continued for summer turnout cattle as many auctions begin transitioning to summer schedules.

Feeder Cattle futures closed and average of $7.15 lower on Friday, compared to the previous Thursday ($3.80 lower at the back to $8.22 lower).

“…a downward movement in feeder cattle futures this week does not mean the market will continue to decline or stay at its current level,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “There are fundamental aspects of the market that could support the summer and fall contract months moving north of $160. However, the previous statement is not a solicitation to remain idle with a hope that the market will make a run. Producers should be considering their marketing alternatives and the cost of achieving their marketing objective.”

Fed Cattle Sell Steady to Lower

When all was said done last week, negotiated cash fed cattle prices were steady in the Southern Plains at $126/cwt., but $2-$3 less in the north at $125-$127 in Nebraska and $128 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed trade was $2-$3 lower at mostly $205 in Nebraska and mostly $205-$206 in the western Corn Belt.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $5.79 lower on Friday, compared to the previous Thursday ($3.97 lower in spot Apr to $7.62 lower).

“It has been difficult the past two weeks to fully understand what is happening in the finished cattle market,” Griffith says. “The April contract, which will soon be pushed to the wayside, steadily increased from the low $120s to about $130 from November through the middle of March. Since that time, the contract moved from $126 to $128 and then declined to $124, all in a matter of two weeks. Similarly, the cash finished cattle market has moved in a similar pattern with no definitive reason for the gyrations. Maybe the Cattle on Feed report was an influencing factor or maybe it is a broader market signal related to demand. Either way, the market appears to have some uncertainty as is evident in the futures market. This does present opportunities.”

So far, weather-depressed carcass weights are helping support cattle prices in the face of growing numbers.

The average dressed steer weight in March was 11 lbs. less year over year at 867 lbs., according to USDA’s monthly Livestock Slaughter report. For January-March it was 8 lbs. less at 878 lbs. Average dressed heifer weight was 13 lbs. less year over year at 807 lbs. in March. It was 11 lbs. less for January to March at 817 lbs.

Cattle numbers will continue to increase as carcass weights catch up to normal.

For perspective, AMS analysts note that cattle slaughter through the middle of April of approximately 9.1 million head was 1% more than last year and 0.6% more than the three-year average. For the same period, steer slaughter was 3.5% less than last year and 3.6% less than the 3-year average, while heifer slaughter was 7.7% more than last year and 5.7% more than the three-year average.

Choice boxed beef cutout value was 66¢ lower week to week on Friday afternoon at $232.99/cwt. Select was $1.08 lower at $219.41.

“Boxed beef values have been doing very well but started to find some resistance this week as packers have plenty of product to sell,” say AMS analysts. 

As well, Griffith points out U.S. beef and veal exports were 4.2% less year over year through the first two months of 2019.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Apr. 26

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

193,900

(-5,500)

73,300

(-13,100)

1,300

(-44,100)

268,500

(-62,700)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Apr. 25 Change
  $144.24 –   1.87

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 26 Change
600-700 lbs. n/a n/a
700-800 lbs. n/a n/a
800-900 lbs. n/a n/a

South Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 26 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. 26 Change
400-500 lbs. n/a n/a
500-600 lbs. n/a n/a
600-700 lbs. n/a n/a

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Apr. 26 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $232.99 –   $0.66
Select $219.41 –   $1.08  
Ch-Se Spread $13.58 +  $0.42

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Apr. 26 Change
May $143.950 –  $7.575
Aug $152.850 –  $7.825
Sep $153.850 –  $8.225
Oct $154.475 –  $7.925
Nov $154.875 –  $7.300
Jan ’20 $152.175 –  $7.475
Mar $150.450 –  $7.050
Apr $151.550 –  $3.800

 

 

Live Cattle   Apr. 26 Change
Apr $124.550 –   $3.975
Jun $115.050 –   $7.625
Aug $112.650 –   $7.100
Oct $113.425 –   $6.675
Dec $117.475 –   $6.400
Feb ’20 $120.375 –   $5.700
Apr $121.725 –   $5.175
Jun $115.600 –   $4.700
Aug $114.300 –   $4.750

 

 

Corn futures Apr. 26 Change
May $3.512 –  $0.072
Jul $3.612 –  $0.060
Sep $3.694 –  $0.056
Dec $3.806 –  $0.056
Mar ’20 $3.954 –  $0.048
May $4.044 –  $0.038

 

 

Oil CME-WTI Apr. 26 Change
May $63.30 –  $0.77
Jun $63.38 –  $0.74
Jul $63.36 –  $0.75
Aug $63.23 –  $0.78
Sep $63.04 –  $0.79
Oct $62.80 –  $0.78

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Apr. 26 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26543.33 –     16.21
NASDAQ     8146.40 +  148.34
S&P 500     2939.88 +    34.85
Dollar (DXY)          98.05 +      0.60
April 27th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights—Week ending Apr. 19, 2019

Grass demand continued to fuel calf and feeder cattle prices, with steers and heifers trading $2-$7/cwt. higher—steers $10-$14 higher in Nebraska and South Dakota—according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“The most gain on steers would be the ‘grass crazy’ demand as some producers held off purchasing steers under 650 lbs. that are suitable for grass until warmer weather was imminent,” say AMS analysts. “Demand at most auctions nationwide was described from good to very good as out-of-state buyers showed up where they hadn’t been seen for a while. Feedlot pens in the Northern Plains have dried considerably and farmer-feeders came to town to procure cattle before they become swamped with planting spring crops.”

Continued optimism in Lean Hog futures and strengthening wholesale beef values helped lift Cattle futures for the week; Futures markets were closed on Friday.

Week to week on Thursday, except for 27¢ higher in spot Apr, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.49 higher ($1.67 to $3.02 higher).

There could be some early-week pressure, in response to the monthly Cattle on Feed report that was issued after futures markets closed on Thursday.

March placements (+4.84%) and total cattle on feed (+2.00%) were more than average analysts expectations ahead of the report.

“One thing that analysts will be looking at in future months is the amount of wheat pasture cattle that will be moving in May,” say AMS analysts. 

Cash Fed Cattle Prices Higher

When all was said and done, negotiated cash fed cattle trade ended up $2 higher in the Southern Plains at $126/cwt. on a live basis, and steady to $4 higher in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt at mostly $130. Dressed trade was $2-$4 higher at $208.

Week to week on Thursday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.00 higher ($1.50 higher at the back to $2.52 higher in spot Apr).

Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $4.81 higher at $233.65/cwt.—the highest level since June of 2017. Select was 53¢ lower at $220.49.

“With the box beef cutout increasing in value each day, packers have increased the need for cattle,” say AMS analysts. Fed cattle slaughter weights continue to trend below year ago levels as the hard winter in the North took a toll on weight gains.” 

The average dressed steer weight for the week ending Apr. 6 was 865 lbs., which was 7 lbs. less than a year earlier, according to USDA’s Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report. The average dressed heifer weight was 5 lbs. less at 804 lbs.

In his weekly market comments, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee points out the low drop credit continues to drag on prices.

“The steer by-product price is currently trading just over $9/cwt., which is one of the lowest values dating back to 2009,” Griffith says. “This compares to the 2011 through 2014 time period when the drop value ranged from about $12.50 to $16.50/cwt. Thus, a 1,300-pound steer in today’s market would return about $117 per head while a $14 price would return $182 per head. To say the least, the drop credit is negatively influencing finished cattle prices compared to the past few years and there is little to no sign of the market exiting its poor condition.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Apr. 19

Auction (head)

(change)

Direct

(head)

(change)

Video-Net (head)

(change)

Total

(head)

(change)

 

199,400

(+9,200)

86,400

(+32,600)

45,400

(-27,400)

331,200

(+14,400)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Apr. 17 Change
  $145.01 +  1.66

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 19 Change
600-700 lbs. n/a n/a
700-800 lbs. n/a n/a
800-900 lbs. n/a n/a

South Central

Steers-Cash Apr. 19 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. 19 Change
400-500 lbs. $170.17 +  $2.82
500-600 lbs. $160.22 +  $1.21
600-700 lbs. $146.05 +  $1.94

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Apr. 19 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $233.65 +  $4.81
Select $220.49 –   $0.53  
Ch-Se Spread $13.16 +  $5.34

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Apr. 18 Change
Apr $145.700 + $0.275
May $151.525 + $1.675
Aug $160.675 + $3.025
Sep $162.075 + $2.975
Oct $162.400 + $3.000
Nov $162.175 + $2.950
Jan ’20 $159.650 + $2.125
Mar $157.500 + $1.700

 

 

Live Cattle   Apr. 18 Change
Apr $128.525 +  $2.525
Jun $122.675 +  $2.250
Aug $119.750 +  $2.375
Oct $120.100 +  $1.650
Dec $123.875 +  $1.825
Feb ’20 $126.075 +  $2.200
Apr $126.900 +  $2.050
Jun $120.300 +  $1.600
Aug $119.050 +  $1.500

 

 

Corn futures Apr. 18 Change
May $3.584 –  $0.016
Jul $3.672 –  $0.014
Sep $3.750 –  $0.016
Dec $3.862 –  $0.022
Mar ’20 $4.002 –  $0.020
May $4.082 –  $0.018

 

 

Oil CME-WTI Apr. 18 Change
May $64.00 + $0.42
Jun $64.07 + $0.40
Jul $64.12 + $0.39
Aug $64.11 + $0.42
Sep $64.01 + $0.43
Oct $63.83 + $0.45

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Apr. 18 Change
Dow Industrial Average  26559.54 +  416.49
NASDAQ     7998.06 +    50.70
S&P 500     2905.03 +    16.71
Dollar (DXY)          97.45 +     0.29
April 21st, 2019|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
April 14th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
April 7th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
March 31st, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
March 24th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
March 17th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
March 10th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
March 3rd, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
February 24th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
February 17th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

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
February 9th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Feb. 1, 2019

Although winter weather continued to limit auction receipts, calf and feeder cattle prices finally bounced higher last week. Nationwide, steers and heifers sold $1-$4/cwt. higher with instances of $6 higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“The big story was the Polar Vortex that encompassed 70% of the United States population with freezing and below freezing temperatures,” say AMS analysts.  “Mid-week travel was brutal on both man and beast; some auctions either rescheduled due to the cold or cancelled.”

Not counting recently minted away Jan, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 62¢ lower (22¢ to $1.10 lower in spot Mar).

“The increase in auction prices this week had little to do with stronger feeder cattle futures as futures continue to trade sideways as they have done for three months,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The most likely factor that supported prices was stocker producers attempting to get a few spring grass cattle purchased prior to the seasonal price increase.”

At their annual Outlook Seminar last week, CattleFax analysts said they expect steer calf prices (550 lbs.) to average about $164/cwt. this year, about $9 less than last year. They anticipate prices could increase to the mid $180s in the spring, and could erode to $140 in the fall.

CattleFax projects feeder steer (750 lbs.) prices this year at an average $147/cwt., down about $3 from last year. They expect a trading range of $130-$160.

Fed Cattle Prices Appeared Steady to Higher

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices ended up last week at steady money to a little higher with moderate trade and demand on Friday. Live prices were $1 higher at $124/cwt., except for steady in the western Corn Belt at $123-$126. Dressed sales were steady to $3 higher at $197-$200.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 47¢ lower.

“Cattle feeders have their eyes set on year-ago prices, which nearly reached $130, based on the 5-area weighted average price during the third week of February and stayed near $126 or higher through the end of March,” Griffith says. “The key this year will be for cattle feeders to maintain prices in the mid $120 area or higher for April and into May. The little bit of leverage they have now will help.”

CattleFax projects the average fed steer price this year at $117/cwt., with downside risk to $100 and upside resistance at around $130.

Incidentally, CattleFax analysts say feed and grain prices are expected to remain stable this year, with corn acreage increasing an expected 2 million acres to total 91 million acres and soybeans declining 2.2 million acres to 87 million acres.

“Corn is expected to trade in a range of $3.60 to $4.10/bu. during the first half of the year,” according to CattleFax analyst Mike Murphy. He added that hay acreage isn’t expected to change significantly from last year, but increased winter precipitation across much of the United States should help provide a strong start to the 2019 hay crop.

Wholesale beef prices were mixed. Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.75 lower at $214.26/cwt. Select was $1.12 higher at $213.15.

“The comprehensive cutout is 3% ahead of a year ago in the month of January, averaging $213.21/cwt.,” say analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center, in the latest Livestock Monitor. “The end of the holiday season should have brought about seasonally higher chuck and round primal values, but in the first four weeks of the year, chuck, round, and flank primal values have been the only cuts lagging.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts*

Feb. 1

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

210,700

(+23,900)

53,900

(+18,400)

3,500

(-28,600)

268,100

(+13,700)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Jan. 31 Change
  $141.86  –  $1.35

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 1  Change 
600-700 lbs. $161.28 +   3.58
700-800 lbs. $149.28 +   2.31
800-900 lbs. $142.30 +   0.88

 

South Central

Steers-Cash Feb. 1 Change
500-600 lbs. $163.73 +   1.94
600-700 lbs. $148.51 +   1.93
700-800 lbs. $141.18 +   0.36

 

Southeast

Steers-Cash Feb. 1 Change 
400-500 lbs. $159.54 +   6.66
500-600 lbs. $149.52 +   4.18
600-700 lbs. $138.41 +   2.81

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Feb. 1 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $214.26 –   $2.75
Select $213.25 +  $1.12  
Ch-Se Spread $1.11 –   $3.87

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Feb. 1 Change
Mar $142.525 –    $1.100
Apr $144.000 –    $0.725
May $144.600 –    $0.475
Aug $148.700 –    $0.675
Sep $149.100 –    $0.725
Oct $149.175 –    $0.425
Nov $149.000 –    $0.225
Mar $146.975       n/a

 

Live Cattle   Feb. 1 Change
Feb ’19 $125.450 –   $0.600
Apr $126.275 –   $0.575
Jun $116.150 –   $0.550
Aug $113.000 –   $0.500
Oct $114.675 –   $0.400
Dec $116.875 –   $0.400
Feb ’20 $118.275 –   $0.375
Apr $118.250 –   $0.450
Jun $111.400 –   $0.400

 

Corn futures Feb. 1 Change
Mar ’19 $3.782 –  $0.020
May $3.870 –  $0.016
Jul $3.946 –  $0.018
Sep $3.974 –  $0.016
Dec $4.022 –  $0.010
Mar ’20 $4.112 –  $0.008

 

Oil CME-WTI Feb. 1 Change
Mar $55.26 +  $1.57
Apr $55.55 +  $1.57
May $55.88 +  $1.57
Jun $56.21 +  $1.55
Jul $56.50 +  $1.54
Aug $56.71 +  $1.55

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Feb. 1 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25063.89 +  326.69
NASDAQ     7263.87 +    99.01
S&P 500     2706.53 +    41.77
Dollar (DXY)          95.57 –       1.01
February 4th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Jan. 25, 2019

Although winter weather continued to soften feedlot demand in some areas, calf and feeder cattle prices gained some spark after the middle of the week.

Overall, analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) quoted prices steady to $5 lower early in the week and then steady to $5 higher.

“Those early-week sales all had a downward trend that was spillover from the previous week, followed by lower futures on Tuesday,” AMS analysts say. “Buyer interest waned early in the week due to the winter weather that came in over the weekend. Between mud, snow, ice, or a mixture of all the above, transporting cattle proved to be difficult and sales either cancelled or continued on with lighter receipts.”

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.86 higher in the front two contracts, an average of 5¢ lower in the back two contracts, and an average of 19¢ higher in between.

Besides the weather and wobbly futures market, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee explains auction receipts may be diluted by the lack of price bounce that typically occurs in January.

“Many producers have become accustomed to holding calves through December and marketing them in January. This has become a common practice for some due to tax reasons and more so for others to capitalize on a price increase that has occurred nine out of the last 10 years (2008-2017 data) from December to January,” Griffith says, in his weekly market comments. “The expectation would be for calf values to begin increasing slowly over the next couple of months and peak once spring grass is ready to graze. However, calf grazing operations may be hesitant to bid up grass cattle prices with the soft feeder cattle prices that are a drag on the market.”

Although there wasn’t a monthly Cattle on Feed report issued Friday, due to the government shutdown, several analysts estimated December placements and the Jan. 1 cattle on feed inventory about 2% higher year over year. Most projected December marketings a little on either side of even.

Speaking of the which, the White House and Congress announced Friday a resolution to reopen the government, at least until Feb. 15, the new deadline for all involved to reach agreement on a budget and border security. While welcome, a cloud of uncertainty remains over which missing market data and reports, if any, USDA will release. For that matter, there’s no telling which February reports will be prioritized, given the possibility of the government shutting down again at the middle of the month.

Fed Cattle Prices Soften

Negotiated cash fed cattle sales sold steady in the beef on Friday at $197/cwt. Live sales were steady to mostly $1 lower at $123 in Kansas and Nebraska and at $123.00 to $125.50 in the western Corn Belt. The Texas Cattle Feeders Association reported its members selling steers at $123, which was $1 less than the previous week.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 26¢ lower.

Although the deep winter conditions are taking a toll on cattle performance, Griffith points out, “The same conditions could be one factor contributing to strong finished cattle prices as slaughter weights are sure to be declining.”

Wholesale beef values also continue to be supportive.

Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.86 higher at $217.01/cwt. Select was $2.58 higher at $212.03.

“Wholesale beef markets are starting 2019 with a continuation of generally strong prices seen last year,” explained Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his recent market comments. “For the first three weeks of the year, boxed beef cutout prices are up 2.9% for Choice and 3.4% for Select compared to the same period last year.” 

“In 2018, weekly boxed beef prices averaged 2.2% higher year over year compared to 2017,” Peel explains. “Wholesale beef prices were higher in 2018 despite a projected 2.8% increase in beef production and larger pork and poultry supplies.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts*

Jan. 25

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

186,800

(-80,900)

35,800

(-27,800)

32,100

(-28,300)

254,400

(-80,400)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Jan. 24 Change
  $143.21  +  $1.16

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Jan. 25  Change 
600-700 lbs. $157.70 +   0.29
700-800 lbs. $146.97 +   0.14
800-900 lbs. $141.42 –    0.29

 

South Central

Steers-Cash Jan. 25 Change
500-600 lbs. $161.79 +   3.67
600-700 lbs. $146.58 +   2.19
700-800 lbs. $140.82 +   3.11

 

Southeast

Steers-Cash Jan. 25 Change 
400-500 lbs. $152.88 +   0.18
500-600 lbs. $145.34 +   1.51
600-700 lbs. $135.60 +   0.03

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Jan. 25 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $217.01 +  $3.86
Select $212.03 +  $2.58  
Ch-Se Spread $4.98 +  $1.28

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Jan. 25 Change
Jan ’19 $143.375 +   $1.925
Mar $144.625 +   $1.800
Apr $144.725 +   $0.325
May $145.075 +   $0.025
Aug $149.375 +   $0.075
Sep $149.825 +   $0.325
Oct $149.600 –    $0.075
Nov $149.225 –    $0.025

 

Live Cattle   Jan. 25 Change
Feb ’19 $126.050 –   $0.475
Apr $126.850 –   $0.525
Jun $116.700 –   $0.750
Aug $113.500 –   $0.100
Oct $115.075 –   $0.025
Dec $117.275 –   $0.250
Feb ’20 $118.650 –   $0.025
Apr $118.700 –   $0.050
Jun $111.800 –   $0.150

 

Corn futures Jan. 25 Change
Mar ’19 $3.802 –  $0.014
May $3.886 –  $0.014
Jul $3.964 –  $0.008
Sep $3.990 –  $0.006
Dec $4.032 –  $0.004
Mar ’20 $4.120 –  $0.006

 

Oil CME-WTI Jan. 25 Change
Mar $53.69 –   $0.35
Apr $53.98 –   $0.32
May $54.31 –   $0.33
Jun $54.66 –   $0.33
Jul $54.96 –   $0.31
Aug $55.16 –   $0.29

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Jan. 25 Change
Dow Industrial Average  24737.20 +   30.85
NASDAQ     7164.86 +      7.63
S&P 500     2664.76 –       5.95
Dollar (DXY)          95.81 –       0.55
January 26th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Jan. 18, 2019

Winter weather and muddy feedlot pens continued to hamper calf and feeder cattle demand last week, with steers and heifers selling $2-$6/cwt. lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).  

“The larger drop in the market occurred in the regions affected by Winter Storm Gia the previous weekend and the forecasted Winter Storm Harper last weekend,” explained AMS analysts. “A vast area of the Plains states are dealing with excess moisture this time of year with more on the way.”

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.27 lower across the front half of the board ($1.00 lower to $4.67 lower in spot Jan) and then an average of 40¢ lower.

“Feedlots are in no humor to purchase cattle and transport them through wet and icy road conditions to then run the calves off the truck into muddy pens,” says  Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “At the same time, cattle feeders are in no humor to pay big dollars for feeder cattle that will be placed against the June and August Live Cattle futures that are at a $10 and $14 discount to April, respectively.”

Locally, Griffith pointed out the aforementioned summer discount had pressured load lot prices for heavy yearlings about $5/cwt. lower in January, compared to the previous month, as much as $15 lower compared to November.

“The bright spot is that the price of a 900 lb. steer is the same as the price of an 800 lb. steer, which provides incentive to keep feeding cattle and growing them larger,” Griffith says. “The price signal on heavy feeder cattle is the market signal feedlot managers are sending to producers. At this time, the best decision may be to keep feeding 700 and 800 lb. feeder cattle and keep an eye on the cash market.”

Fed Cattle Prices Appeared Steady to Higher

Although cattle feeders with muddy lots were looking to move cattle, and presumably, packers had a need to refurbish inventory, fed cattle trade remained at an impasse through Friday afternoon, based on USDA reports. However, indications suggested prices no worse than steady, perhaps a touch higher.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed 25¢ to $1.55 higher in the front three contracts and then an average of 57¢ lower.

“Since the middle of November, the February live cattle contract price has increased by $9, which amounts to approximately $120 per head value increase,” Griffith explains. “On the cash side of the business, prices increased $10/cwt. from the middle of November to the previous week and this last week’s prices appeared geared to gain another couple of dollars. Over this time period, cattle feeding margins and packer margins have been flipped as cattle feeders appear to be in control of the leverage.”

Leverage should have been supported last week by firmer wholesale beef prices. Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was 69¢ higher at $213.15/cwt. Select was $3.18 higher at $209.45. The Choice-Select spread was the narrowest since September of 2017 at $3.70.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts*

Jan. 18

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

267,700

(-99,200)

63,600

(-1,400)

3,800

(-150,600)

335,100

(-251,200)

*Compared to two weeks earlier

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Jan. 17 Change
  $142.05   –  $3.41

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central*

Steers-Cash Jan. 18  Change 
600-700 lbs. $157.41 –    3.29
700-800 lbs. $146.83 –    3.17
800-900 lbs. $141.71 –    1.90

 

South Central*

Steers-Cash Jan. 18 Change
500-600 lbs. $158.12 –    4.68
600-700 lbs. $144.39 –    $4.93
700-800 lbs. $137.71 –    $6.02

 

Southeast*

Steers-Cash Jan. 18 Change 
400-500 lbs. $152.70 –    $5.64
500-600 lbs. $143.83 –    $4.68
600-700 lbs. $135.57 –    $4.41

*Compared to two weeks earlier

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Jan. 18 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $213.15 +  $0.69
Select $209.45 +  $3.18  
Ch-Se Spread $3.70 –   $2.49

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Jan. 18 Change
Jan ’19 $141.450 –    $4.675
Mar $142.825 –    $2.075
Apr $144.400 –    $1.350
May $145.050 –    $1.000
Aug $149.300 –    $0.600
Sep $149.500 –    $0.400
Oct $149.675 –    $0.200
Nov $149.250 –    $0.400

 

Live Cattle   Jan. 18 Change
Feb ’19 $126.525 +   $1.550
Apr $127.375 +   $1.000
Jun $117.450 +   $0.250
Aug $113.600 –   $0.675
Oct $115.100 –   $1.025
Dec $117.525 –   $0.725
Feb ’20 $118.675 –   $0.575
Apr $118.750 –   $0.250
Jun $111.950 –   $0.150

 

Corn futures Jan. 18 Change
Mar ’19 $3.816 + $0.034
May $3.900 + $0.034
Jul $3.972 + $0.030
Sep $3.996 + $0.024
Dec $4.036 + $0.022
Mar ’20 $4.126 + $0.020

 

Oil CME-WTI Jan. 18 Change
Feb $53.80 +   $2.21
Mar $54.04 +   $2.13
Apr $54.30 +   $2.03
May $54.64 +   $1.94
Jun $54.99 +   $1.88
Jul $55.27 +   $1.81

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Jan. 18 Change
Dow Industrial Average  24706.35 +   710.40
NASDAQ     7157.23 +   185.75
S&P 500     2670.71 +      74.45
Dollar (DXY)          96.36 +        0.69
January 19th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Jan. 11, 2019

Weather and heavy post-holiday volume—the most receipts since July of last year—pressured calf and feeder cattle prices last week. Steers and heifers sold from $4/cwt. lower to $1 higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Heavy rain and snow has most of the trade area in very muddy conditions and these conditions are discouraging calf buyers from buying at this time,” according to the AMS reporter on hand for Monday’s auction at Oklahoma National Stockyards.

“Weather scares started mid-week when Winter Storm Gia was named and projected to move through the heart of the country later in the week and into the weekend,” explained AMS analysts. “Feedyards that were already wet will see more moisture fall from the sky, dashing any hopes that they will dry out anytime soon…Muddy feedyards in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa want to get cattle moved out of the poor pen conditions, as cattle performance has been seriously impeded due to above average moisture recently.”  

Weather impacts provided support to Cattle futures, though.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.60 higher week to week on Friday (90¢ to $2.10 higher).

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.70 higher (92¢ higher to $3.05 higher in spot Feb).

Peering a little further ahead, in his weekly market comments, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee says, “Calf prices should slowly and steadily increase through March and into early April. The expectation is for 500-lb. steer prices to peak near $160/cwt. per with a first-quarter average price of $155. The $160 price is a couple of dollars lower than the 2018 apex, but the calf and feeder cattle markets may be under pressure the next three to four months as industry participants attempt to figure out the fed cattle marketing schedule. The feeder cattle market may end up receiving a more direct blow than the calf market in the near term as calf buyers continue to bet on the come. However, the calf market will not be immune to the pressure.”

Cattle feeder and packers continued their standoff through late Friday afternoon, with negotiated cash fed cattle trade undeveloped, according to USDA reports. However, according to AMS there were a few dressed sales in the Northern Plains at $197/cwt., which was $2 more than the previous week.

Cattle feeding margins are well into the black in early January and cattle feeders are setting asking prices at levels that will only improve margins,” Griffith says.

“Cattle feeders are not in any mood to bid up feeder cattle due to the severe discounts in deferred live cattle futures. The feeder and fed cattle spread is certainly the dichotomy present in today’s market. The feeder-fed cattle spread is not at a record level by any stretch of the imagination, but it has narrowed tremendously since the end of October. Part of this narrowing is due to supply and demand fundamentals while the other part is likely due to expectations. If profits continue in the feedlot then some of those dollars will eventually be passed down.”

On the other side of the trade, though packer returns remain positive, according to various sources, margins are narrowing with seasonally lower wholesale beef values and seasonally higher fed cattle prices.

Week to week on Friday, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.05 lower at $212.46/cwt. Select was $1.39 lower at $206.27.

“Packer margins have no doubt shrunk in the last few months, and carcass weights coupled with lower yields will have an impact moving forward with product tonnage being available in the marketplace,” say AMS analysts.

Scant Data Adds Uncertainty

With the partial government shutdown dragging into the fourth week, the lack of publicly available market data is becoming more apparent.

“Actual slaughter data has been among the most missed weekly market data. That data is compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) but is released by the Agricultural Marketing Service. It provides valuable information on weights, production, and the number of head slaughtered,” explain analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC), in the most recent Livestock Monitor.

There was no monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on Friday, as originally scheduled. Next week’s monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook is also in doubt.

“The next couple of weeks hold several vital reports that could affect the tone of the entire year,” say LMIC analysts. “For example, the annual Cattle Inventory is scheduled to be published at the end of this month. That report provides one of only two point estimates in the size of the beef herd, and the number of replacement animals producers are holding. The monthly Cattle on Feed report (due Jan. 25) also is at risk. Without that type of information, cattle markets will be flying blind.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts*

Jan. 11

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

366,900

(+287,600)

65,000

(+41,800)

154,400

(+147,000)

586,300

(+476,400)

*Compared to two weeks earlier

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Jan. 10 Change
  $145.46   –  $0.14

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central*

Steers-Cash Jan. 11  Change 
600-700 lbs. $160.70 +   $0.35
700-800 lbs. $150.00 +   $0.96
800-900 lbs. $143.61 +   $0.32

 

South Central*

Steers-Cash Jan. 11 Change
500-600 lbs. $162.80 +   $0.05
600-700 lbs. $149.32 –    $4.25
700-800 lbs. $143.73 –    $3.20

 

Southeast*

Steers-Cash Jan. 11 Change 
400-500 lbs. $158.34 +   $0.75
500-600 lbs. $148.51 –    $2.08
600-700 lbs. $139.98 +   $0.29

*Compared to two weeks earlier

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Jan. 11 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $212.46 –   $2.05
Select $206.27 –   $1.39   
Ch-Se Spread $6.19 –   $0.66

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Jan. 11 Change
Jan ’19 $146.125 +   $1.225
Mar $144.900 +   $2.075
Apr $145.750 +   $2.100
May $146.050 +   $1.875
Aug $149.900 +   $1.400
Sep $149.900 +   $0.900
Oct $149.875 +   $1.300
Nov $149.650 +   $1.950

 

Live Cattle   Jan. 11 Change
Feb ’19 $124.975 +   $3.050
Apr $126.375 +   $2.375
Jun $117.200 +   $1.650
Aug $114.275 +   $0.925
Oct $116.125 +   $1.150
Dec $118.250 +   $1.450
Feb ’20 $119.250 +   $1.600
Apr $119.000 +   $1.800
Jun $112.100 +   $1.275

 

Corn futures Jan. 11 Change
Mar ’19 $3.782 –  $0.048
May $3.866 –  $0.044
Jul $3.942 –  $0.040
Sep $3.972 –  $0.024
Dec $4.014 –  $0.026
Mar ’20 $4.106 –  $0.026

 

Oil CME-WTI Jan. 11 Change
Feb $51.59 +   $3.63
Mar $51.91 +   $3.63
Apr $52.27 +   $3.62
May $52.70 +   $3.60
Jun $53.11 +   $3.55
Jul $53.46 +   $3.50

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Jan. 11 Change
Dow Industrial Average  23995.95 +   562.79
NASDAQ     6971.48 +   232.62
S&P 500     2596.26 +      64.32
Dollar (DXY)          95.67 –         0.53
January 12th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Jan. 4, 2019

Calf and feeder cattle prices wobbled from the new-year gate last week.

“Muddy pen conditions, as temperatures increased in the North and with rain and snow in the South, caused concerns, especially on the placements of heavier-weight cattle,” say analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). They note receipts were hindered by heavy rains across the Southeast, winter storms in the North Central and South Central regions, as well as the fact that some auction remained closed for the holidays.

Compared to two weeks earlier, steers weighing less than 700 lbs. traded mostly $1-$4/cwt. higher, with instances of up to $9 higher in Nebraska, according to AMS. Steers weighing more than 700 lbs. sold steady to $4 lower.

“The feeder cattle market has found itself in a precarious situation due to the holiday marketing disruption, unfavorable weather conditions for moving cattle, and a potential loss of information from the partial government shutdown,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.68 lower week to week on Friday ($1.35 lower to $4.17 lower in spot Jan). Pressure included negative and volatile outside markets along with increasing grain prices.

Cash Fed Cattle Hold Steady

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade for the week was generally steady in Nebraska and the Southern Plains at $123/cwt. ($122.00-$122.50 in Nebraska). Live sales were $1-$2 higher in the western Corn Belt at $121-$122. Dressed trade was steady in Nebraska at $195; steady to $4 higher in the western Corn Belt at $194-$195.

AMS analysts note, “Poor feedlot conditions have continued to plague most feeding regions, lowering cattle performance.”

Week to week on Friday, not counting newly minted away Jun, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.02 lower through the front three contracts and then an average of 64¢ lower.

“The finished cattle market finished off 2018 strong and has started 2019 with the same strength,” Griffith says. “The gains in the fed cattle market during December established strong profit margins for cattle on a cash-to-cash basis and likely resulted in many of these cattle profiting $100 per head or better. On the other hand, many feedlot managers likely had cattle hedged, resulting in slightly lower margins in some instances. Regardless of the situation, cattle feeders are enjoying the price escalation for finished cattle and the recouping of dollars lost on previous sets of cattle. The questions to be answered now are how long positive margins will last and how will it influence the feeder cattle market as competition develops.”

Fed cattle prices continue to be supported by firmer boxed beef cutout values than some expected.

Week to week, wholesale beef values were about steady. Choice boxed beef cutout value was at $214.51/cwt. Friday afternoon and Select was at $207.66.

“The volume (boxed beef) reported this week was slightly more than last week,” say AMS analysts. “On the Choice side, rib cuts were steady to weak, while all other cuts sold firm to higher. Ground beef prices were slightly higher on lighter volume. Forward-negotiated sales remain light but mostly steady when compared to the prior week. Beef trimmings were higher on moderate to good demand and light to moderate offerings.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts*

Jan. 4

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

79,300

(-104,000)

23,200

(+6,300)

7,400

(+3,400)

109,900

(-94,800)

*Compared to two weeks earlier

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index* Jan. 3 Change
  $145.60   –  $1.66

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central*

Steers-Cash Jan. 4  Change 
600-700 lbs. $160.35 +   $1.65
700-800 lbs. $149.04 –    $2.01
800-900 lbs. $143.29 –    $6.32

 

South Central*

Steers-Cash Jan. 4 Change
500-600 lbs. $162.75 +   $1.33
600-700 lbs. $153.57 +   $4.75
700-800 lbs. $146.93 +   $0.91

 

Southeast*

Steers-Cash Jan. 4 Change 
400-500 lbs. $157.59 +   $5.20
500-600 lbs. $150.59 +   $6.25
600-700 lbs. $139.69 +   $3.54

*Compared to two weeks earlier

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Jan. 4 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $214.51 +  $0.10
Select $207.66 +  $0.14   
Ch-Se Spread $6.85 –   $0.04

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Jan. 4 Change
Jan ’19 $144.900 –    $4.175
Mar $142.825 –    $4.050
Apr $143.650 –    $3.550
May $144.175 –    $2.850
Aug $148.500 –    $2.375
Sep $149.000 –    $1.575
Oct $148.575 –    $1.350
Nov $147.700 –    $1.550

 

Live Cattle   Jan. 4 Change
Feb ’19 $121.925 –   $2.250
Apr $124.000 –   $2.400
Jun $115.550 –   $1.400
Aug $113.350 –   $0.725
Oct $114.975 –   $0.525
Dec $116.800 –   $0.425
Feb ’20 $117.650 –   $0.600
Apr $117.200 –   $0.900
Jun $110.825       n/a

 

Corn futures Jan. 4 Change
Mar ’19 $3.830 + $0.076
May $3.910 + $0.078
Jul $3.982 + $0.078
Sep $3.996 + $0.064
Dec $4.040 + $0.066
Mar ’20 $4.132 + $0.066

 

Oil CME-WTI Jan. 4 Change
Feb $47.96 +   $2.63
Mar $48.28 +   $2.68
Apr $48.65 +   $2.75
May $49.10 +   $2.83
Jun $49.56 +   $2.92
Jul $49.96 +   $3.01

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Jan. 4 Change
Dow Industrial Average  23433.16 +   370.89
NASDAQ     6738.86 +   154.34
S&P 500     2531.94 +      46.21
Dollar (DXY)          96.20 –         0.18
January 6th, 2019|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Dec. 28, 2018

Most auctions were closed for the holiday last week, so there were no price trends for calves and feeder cattle. When sales start in the new year, they should receive support from recently stronger cash fed cattle prices and futures prices. Snugger front-end supplies and harsh winter weather in some cattle-feeding areas suggest that support should continue for a while.

Near-term wildcards continue to include volatile equity markets, tied to worries about rising interest rates and slowing global economic growth, as well as the government shutdown.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.22 higher week to week on Friday (87¢ higher at the back to $1.72 higher in spot Jan).

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained undeveloped through Friday afternoon. Though too few to trend, there were a few live sales reported in the western Corn Belt on Thursday at $119.00-$121.50/cwt., which was about $1 higher than the previous week. A few dressed sales were reported steady at $190.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.81 higher through the front four contracts ($1.00 to $3.20 higher), week to week on Friday and then an average of 63¢ higher.

Week to week, wholesale beef values maintained the previous week’s sharp gains. Choice boxed beef cutout value was at $214.41/cwt. Friday afternoon and Select was at $207.52.

2018 Overview

Depending on your abacus, cattle prices this past year were unsurprising and mostly on par with the previous year. As long as weather and demand hold up, it’s hard to argue that prices will be much different in 2019.

The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) projected calf prices for the first quarter of 2019 at $168-$172/cwt., according to Glynn Tonsor, agricultural economist at Kansas State University, in December. Yearling prices were projected at $147-$150 and fed prices at $118-$121. 

Given record large supplies of both beef and competing meats, holding the price line last year was due in large part to steady domestic demand and extraordinary international demand.

“Each of the major meats—beef, pork and poultry—are projected to reach record levels in 2018 and will combine to push total U.S meat production to a record level of 102.3 billion lbs., up 2.6% year over year,” explained Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his mid-December market comments. “However, 2018 per capita meat consumption in the U.S. is projected at 218.7 lbs., up 1.0% year over year. The smaller increase in meat consumption compared to production is largely due to the net movement of meat offshore through meat exports.”

What’s more, odds favor additional beef cowherd expansion in 2018, albeit just a little.

LMIC analysts expect to see 0.2-0.4% growth as of January 1.

“The beef cow herd likely increased less than 1% year over year in 2018 to a projected Jan. 1, 2019 level of about 31.9 million head,” Peel says. “This may be the cyclical peak in herd inventory or very close to it. From the 2014 low of 29.1 million head, this cyclical expansion has increased the beef cow herd by 2.8 million head or 9.6% over five years. The last full cyclical herd expansion occurred in 1990-1996 resulting in an 8.8% herd expansion in six years.”

Moreover, Peel explains beef cowherd dynamics are finally returning to normal, following the unprecedented market forces that drove volatility during the past decade. That included drought-induced herd liquidation (2011-2013) that took more cows out of production than would otherwise be expected, followed by the recent rapid expansion.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Last available

Receipts

Dec. 21

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

183,800

(-74,100)

16,900

(-19,800)

4,000

(-22,400)

204,700

(-116,300)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Dec. 27 Change
  $147.26   + $1.37

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Last available

Steers-Cash Dec. 21  Change 
600-700 lbs. $158.70 –    $0.09
700-800 lbs. $151.05 –    $0.08
800-900 lbs. $149.61 +   $0.50

South Central

Last available

Steers-Cash Dec.21 Change
500-600 lbs. $161.42 +   $4.69
600-700 lbs. $148.82 +   $3.35
700-800 lbs. $146.02 +   $1.90

Southeast

Last available

Steers-Cash Dec. 21 Change 
400-500 lbs. $152.39 +   $4.88
500-600 lbs. $144.34 +   $2.37
600-700 lbs. $136.15 –    $2.85

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Dec. 28 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $214.41 +  $0.36
Select $207.52 +  $0.02   
Ch-Se Spread $6.89 +  $0.34

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Dec. 28 Change
Jan ’19 $149.075 +   $1.725
Mar $146.875 +   $1.350
Apr $147.200 +   $1.225
May $147.025 +   $0.975
Aug $150.875 +   $1.100
Sep $150.575 +   $1.075
Oct $149.925 +   $1.400
Nov $149.250 +   $0.875

 

Live Cattle   Dec. 28 Change
Dec $124.075 +   $3.200
Feb ’19 $124.175 +   $1.475
Apr $126.400 +   $1.575
Jun $116.950 +   $1.000
Aug $114.075 +   $0.775
Oct $115.500 +   $0.650
Dec $117.225 +   $0.500
Feb ’20 $118.250 +   $0.625
Apr $118.100 +   $0.600

 

Corn futures Dec. 28 Change
Mar ’19 $3.754 –  $0.030
May $3.832 –  $0.030
Jul $3.904 –  $0.030
Sep $3.932 –  $0.020
Dec $3.974 –  $0.018
Mar ’20 $4.066 –  $0.020

 

Oil CME-WTI Dec. 28 Change
Feb $45.33 –    $0.26
Mar $45.60 –    $0.29
Apr $45.90 –    $0.33
May $46.27 –    $0.34
Jun $46.64 –    $0.34
Jul $46.95 –    $0.33

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Dec. 28 Change
Dow Industrial Average  23062.27 +   616.90
NASDAQ     6584.52 +   251.52
S&P 500     2485.73 +      69.11
Dollar (DXY)          96.38 –         0.57
December 29th, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Dec. 21, 2018

Calf and feeder cattle prices were mostly steady to higher last week as buyers tried to shore up orders ahead of the holiday break.

Steer and heifer calves traded $4-$8/cwt. higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Feeder steers sold steady to $3 higher while feeder heifers sold steady to $3 on either side of steady.

“Very few auctions will hold sales next week, causing buyers to scramble to procure cattle for wheat pasture before the holiday break,” AMS analysts explained. “Auction receipts across much of the Southeast were hampered due to wet weather conditions and the upcoming holiday interruption. This year marks the wettest December on record for many southeastern states, especially Alabama, Georgia and Florida.”

Except for 10¢ higher in September, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 24¢ lower week to week on Friday.

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was steady to a touch higher than the previous week, through late Friday afternoon. For the week, live sales were steady at $119/cwt. in Kansas and Nebraska. Dressed trade in Nebraska was $3 higher at $190. Live sales in the western Corn belt were $1-$2 higher at $118-$120, while dressed sales were $3 higher at $190.

“Feedyards in Nebraska and Iowa remain plagued with muddy conditions, while another round of cold wet weather is expected,” say AMS analysts. “Northern

producers are dealing with several weeks of mud and are now reporting close to 1% yield loss. Estimated cattle harvest numbers for the week were 659,000 head.”

Live Cattle futures closed an average of 64¢ higher through the front three contracts, week to week on Friday (30¢ higher to $1.30 higher) and then an average of 35¢ lower (10¢ lower to $1.00 lower).

“Finished cattle prices are trading close to steady with year-ago prices and are trading at their highest level since the middle of May,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “Cash prices have increased about $6 in the last five weeks and are about 11% higher than their summer low in late August and early September.”

Griffith expects cattle prices next year to be similar to this year, as long as domestic and international demand for U.S. beef remain strong.

“Markets could be swayed in either direction as trade deals are signed or discarded,” Griffith says. “This means there is more risk in cattle prices moving lower in 2019 than there is of cattle prices moving higher, given supply and demand fundamentals. Thus, producers should plan for lower returns the next 12 months.”

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.09 higher Friday afternoon at $214.05/cwt. Select was $4.36 higher at $207.50.

Retail beef prices continue higher than a year earlier, despite heftier supplies.

November Choice retail beef prices were $5.911/lb., up from $5.840 in October and 1.8% above the November 2017 price of $5.807, says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in his weekly market comments. Through November, Choice retail beef prices averaged 0.2% more than the previous year. The all-fresh retail beef price averaged 0.7% more for the same period.

“Packer demand has accelerated the pace of fed cattle slaughter in fourth-quarter 2018, which supports a slightly higher beef production forecast for 2018,” say analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.

The aggressive slaughter pace pushed estimated beef production for this year 25 million lbs. higher to 26.9 billion lbs. ERS analysts note lighter carcass weights and less projected cow slaughter in the fourth quarter partially offset increased steer and heifer slaughter. Likewise, beef production for 2019 was reduced slightly based on the expectation of lighter carcass weights. Estimated beef production for next year was reduced by 25 million lbs. to 27.8 billion lbs.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Dec. 21

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

183,800

(-74,100)

16,900

(-19,800)

4,000

(-22,400)

204,700

(-116,300)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Dec. 20 Change
  $145.89   –  $1.02

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Dec. 21  Change 
600-700 lbs. $158.70 –    $0.09
700-800 lbs. $151.05 –    $0.08
800-900 lbs. $149.61 +   $0.50

South Central

Steers-Cash Dec.21 Change
500-600 lbs. $161.42 +   $4.69
600-700 lbs. $148.82 +   $3.35
700-800 lbs. $146.02 +   $1.90

Southeast

Steers-Cash Dec. 21 Change 
400-500 lbs. $152.39 +   $4.88
500-600 lbs. $144.34 +   $2.37
600-700 lbs. $136.15 –    $2.85

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Dec. 21 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $214.05 +  $3.09
Select $207.50 +  $4.36   
Ch-Se Spread $6.55 –   $1.27

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Dec. 21 Change
Jan ’19 $147.350 –    $0.225
Mar $145.525 –    $0.250
Apr $145.975 –    $0.275
May $146.050 –    $0.300
Aug $149.775 –    $0.050
Sep $149.500 +   $0.100
Oct $148.525 –    $0.500
Nov $148.375 –    $0.075

 

Live Cattle   Dec. 21 Change
Dec $120.875 +   $1.300
Feb ’19 $122.700 +   $0.300
Apr $124.825 +   $0.325
Jun $115.950 –   $0.125
Aug $113.300 –   $0.375
Oct $114.850 –   $0.100
Dec $116.725 –   $0.100
Feb ’20 $117.625 –   $0.400
Apr $117.500 –   $1.000

 

Corn futures Dec. 21 Change
Mar ’19 $3.784 –  $0.062
May $3.862 –  $0.060
Jul $3.934 –  $0.052
Sep $3.952 –  $0.048
Dec $3.992 –  $0.044
Mar ’20 $4.086 –  $0.040

 

Oil CME-WTI Dec. 21 Change
Feb $45.59 –    $5.88
Mar $45.89 –    $5.87
Apr $46.23 –    $5.83
May $46.61 –    $5.78
Jun $46.98 –    $5.70
Jul $47.28 –    $5.64

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Dec. 21 Change
Dow Industrial Average  22445.27 –   1655.24
NASDAQ     6333.00 –      577.67
S&P 500     2416.62 –      183.33
Dollar (DXY)          96.95 –           0.11
December 22nd, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Dec. 14, 2018

Improving weather conditions, stronger cash fed cattle prices the previous week and firmer Cattle futures helped lift calf and feeder cattle prices

Compared to the previous week, steers and heifers sold steady to $5/cwt. higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). There were instances of up to $10 higher on some weight categories. Year to date, AMS analysts note auction receipts are the most since 2011.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.07 higher week to week on Friday ($2.45 to $3.90 higher).

“Order buyers had an easier time of finding orders this week as the mud started to firm up in areas that had very muddy pens since the Sunday after Thanksgiving,” say AMS analysts. “Time is of the essence as feedyards and backgrounders will soon be reluctant to receive incoming cattle during the holidays…Producers’ time to finish their marketing needs for the year are waning as many auctions take off for two full weeks around the holidays.”

Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee notes in his weekly market comments that feeder prices could increase early next year with resurgent demand from farmer-feeders.

“Farmer-feeders generally become active in the feeder cattle market immediately following harvest, but harvest was delayed in many areas due to precipitation, which meant farmer-feeders remained on the sidelines,” Griffith says. “As harvest is now coming to completion in many areas, farmer-feeders will begin to exercise some of their purchasing power.”

So, logic suggests atypically concentrated farmer-feeder demand later than usual. Griffith emphasizes the notion is no guarantee of higher prices after the first of the year, but adds that farmer-feeder purchasing power gains strength with low grain prices.

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices in the Southern Plains on Friday were mainly steady with the previous week at $119/cwt. Early dressed sales in Nebraska were $1 higher at $188. Though too few to trend, early live sales in the western Corn Belt were $1 higher at $117, while early dressed sales of $187 were trading at the upper end of the previous week’s trading range in the region.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.04 higher week to week on Friday (45¢ higher in the back contract to $1.45 higher).

“The December Live Cattle contract traded as low as $111 at the end of August and was still only trading in the $114-$115 range one month ago,” Griffith says. “However, prices have been slowly increasing since the middle of November with nearly a $5 move. The increase is supporting late-year finished cattle marketings, but many feedlots have turned their focus to the February and April contracts that have witnessed similar price escalations.” He notes the April contract is the focus for most of the cattle placed in October and November, as well as heavy cattle placed in December.

“Packers have a vested interest in moving every animal they can through the pipeline with positive margins and the way the holidays fall at the end of the

year,” explain AMS analysts. “With the Christmas and New Year’s holidays on a Tuesday, tempered harvest schedules are expected to almost come to a screeching halt.”

In the meantime, they note the previous week’s estimated 667,000-head cattle slaughter, if realized, would be the second largest weekly total since January of 2012.

Fed steer prices (5-area Direct) for the first quarter of 2019 are projected at $119-$125/cwt. by USDA’s Economic Research Service, in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Prices in the second quarter are projected to be $118-$128; and $109-$119 in the third.

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.33 lower Friday afternoon at $210.96/cwt. Select was $2.64 higher at $203.14.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Dec. 14

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

257,900

(-72,500)

36,700

(-14,300)

26,400

(+22,800)

321,000

(-64,000)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Dec. 13 Change
  $146.91   + $1.84

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Dec. 14  Change 
600-700 lbs. $158.79 +   $2.13
700-800 lbs. $150.97 –    $0.47
800-900 lbs. $146.11 –    $3.37

South Central

Steers-Cash Dec. 14 Change
500-600 lbs. $156.73 +   $1.74
600-700 lbs. $145.47 +   $0.39
700-800 lbs. $144.12 +   $1.61

Southeast

Steers-Cash Dec. 14 Change 
400-500 lbs. $147.51 +   $0.14
500-600 lbs. $141.97 +   $2.35
600-700 lbs. $139.00 +   $5.29

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Dec. 147 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $210.96 –   $3.33
Select $203.14 +  $2.64   
Ch-Se Spread $7.82 –   $5.97

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Dec. 14 Change
Jan ’19 $147.575 +   $3.190
Mar $145.775 +   $3.900
Apr $146.250 +   $3.725
May $146.350 +   $3.500
Aug $149.825 +   $2.725
Sep $149.400 +   $2.625
Oct $149.025 +   $2.450
Nov $148.450 –    $2.475

 

Live Cattle   Dec. 14 Change
Dec $119.175 +   $1.275
Feb ’19 $122.400 +   $0.875
Apr $124.500 +   $0.975
Jun $116.075 +   $1.450
Aug $113.675 +   $1.325
Oct $114.950 +   $1.200
Dec $116.825 +   $0.325
Feb ’20 $118.025 +   $0.950
Apr $118.500 +   $0.450

 

Corn futures Dec.14 Change
Dec $3.766 + $0.026
Mar ’19 $3.846 –  $0.008
May $3.922 –  $0.004
Jul $3.986 –  $0.006
Sep $4.000 + $0.008
Dec $4.036 + $0.006

 

Oil CME-WTI Dec. 14 Change
Jan ’19 $51.20 –    $1.41
Feb $51.47 –    $1.34
Mar $51.76 –    $1.29
Apr $52.06 –    $1.25
May $52.39 –    $1.19
Jun $52.68 –    $1.14

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Dec. 14 Change
Dow Industrial Average  24100.51 –     288.44
NASDAQ     6910.67 –        58.58
S&P 500     2599.95 –         33.13
Dollar (DXY)          97.06 +          0.35
December 16th, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Dec. 07, 2018

Last week’s cattle markets unfolded against the backdrop of extreme volatility on Wall Street, tied in part to inversion of the yield curve, which some fear points to domestic economic recession sooner rather than later. Otherpressures included lingering, unresolved trade issues, and signs of slowing global economic growth.

Calf and feeder cattle prices came under pressure from hectic volume the previous week, wobbly cattle futures and a market channel clogged by winter weather the previous weekend.

Overall, steers and heifers traded $3-$8/cwt. lower in most areas, but held to unevenly steady in the North Central states, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Feedyards took money off orders as areas that were snowy last week

have awfully muddy pen conditions,” AMS analysts explained. “Prior to the large snowstorm that moved across the Plains last week, temperatures weren’t cold enough to get the ground frozen before the snow flew…Daily gains are greatly affected and those cattle that are in the latest stages of finish will have expected out-dates adjusted.” 

Heading into the most recent weekend, widespread snow, ice, rain and freezing rain were expected across the Southern Plains and Southwest.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.00 lower week to week on Friday, likely pressured some from the steady increase in grain prices the last couple of weeks. Spot Dec corn on the CME, for instance closed the week 15¢ higher compared to two weeks earlier.

“Given that calf prices have been sluggish this fall, producers still hanging on to the calf crop may benefit from hanging on a little longer, as January generally brings slightly higher prices,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments.

Fed Prices Firm

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained mostly undeveloped through Friday afternoon, according to USDA reports, but early indications were for steady to higher money than the previous week’s higher prices.

For instance, there was some light to moderate trade in the western Corn Belt at $115-$117/cwt., which was $1 higher than the previous week. Early dressed sales were steady at $183-$185. By late in the day, AMS reported some dressed trade in Nebraska at $187, which was $2-$4 more than the previous week.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.27 higher week to week on Friday across the front half of the board and then an average of 40¢ higher (7¢ to 65¢ higher) except for 65¢ lower in the back contract.

Wholesale beef prices provided a modicum of support for at least one more week.

“Boxed-beef cutout values continue to hold together, for the most part, but have started to feel some pressure as last-minute buying for upcoming holidays is happening,” said AMS analysts. 

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.68 higher Friday afternoon at $214.29/cwt. Select was $2.09 higher at $200.50.

“The domestic cattle markets continue to be supported by international beef demand, based on strong October export quantities and values,” Griffith says. From January through October, the United States has exported 1.91 billion lbs. of beef (not including variety meats), which was 12% higher than the same 10 months one year ago. Similarly, the value of beef exports from January through October of 2018 was 19% greater than the same months in 2017 and totaled $6.19 billion.”

October beef exports totaled 117,838 metric tons (mt), up 6% from a year ago, valued at $727.4 million, which was 10% more year over year and the second-highest monthly total on record. That’s according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef export value equated to $317.53 per head of fed slaughter in October, up 5% from a year ago. For January through October, the per-head average was up 15% to $320.50.

“Demand for U.S. beef continues to climb in nearly every region of the world, with annual records already falling in some markets,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Per-head export value will also easily set a new record in 2018, which illustrates the strong returns exports are delivering for cattle producers and for the entire supply chain.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Dec. 07

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

330,400

(+40,900)

51,000

(+1,600)

3,600

(-40,200)

385,000

(+2,300)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Dec. 05 Change
  $145.53   –  $1.94

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Dec. 07  Change 
600-700 lbs. $156.66 +   $1.60
700-800 lbs. $151.44 –    $0.99
800-900 lbs. $149.48 –    $2.41

South Central

Steers-Cash Dec. 7 Change
500-600 lbs. $154.99 –    $3.60
600-700 lbs. $145.08 –    $3.25
700-800 lbs. $142.51 –    $4.64

Southeast

Steers-Cash Dec. 07 Change 
400-500 lbs. $147.37 –    $9.40
500-600 lbs. $139.62 –    $6.73
600-700 lbs. $133.71 –    $2.82

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Dec. 07 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $214.29 +  $1.68
Select $200.50 +  $2.09   
Ch-Se Spread $13.79 –   $0.41

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Dec. 07 Change
Jan ’19 $144.375 –    $0.850
Mar $141.875 –    $0.975
Apr $142.525 –    $1.100
May $142.850 –    $1.100
Aug $147.100 –    $1.075
Sep $146.775 –    $1.000
Oct $146.575 –    $0.950
Nov $145.975 –    $0.950

 

Live Cattle   Dec. 07 Change
Dec $117.900 +   $0.975
Feb ’19 $121.525 +   $1.025
Apr $123.625 +   $1.625
Jun $115.100 +   $1.450
Aug $112.225 +   $0.650
Oct $113.625 +   $0.550
Dec $115.625 +   $0.325
Feb ’20 $117.075 +   $0.075
Apr $118.050 –    $0.650

 

Corn futures Dec.07 Change
Dec $3.740 + $0.076
Mar ’19 $3.854 + $0.078
May $3.926 + $0.076
Jul $3.992 + $0.078
Sep $3.992 + $0.052
Dec $4.030 + $0.034

 

Oil CME-WTI Dec. 07 Change
Jan ’19 $52.61 +   $1.68
Feb $52.81 +   $1.72
Mar $53.05 +   $1.82
Apr $53.31 +   $1.95
May $53.58 +   $2.08
Jun $53.82 +   $2.22

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Dec. 07 Change
Dow Industrial Average  24388.95 –       949.51
NASDAQ     6969.25 –       361.29
S&P 500     2633.08 –       127.09
Dollar (DXY)          96.71 –           0.49
December 8th, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Nov. 30, 2018

Cash prices for calves and feeder cattle ran counter to futures expectations, which gained less support than some expected from the previous week’s friendly Cattle on Feed report.

Steers and heifers sold steady to $3/cwt. higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). That was with 264,500 more receipts (auction, direct, video/net) than the previous holiday-shortened week.

“Buyers have become more meticulous when purchasing calves having a health program and ample time weaned,” AMS analysts say. “In times past, a 30-to-45 day weaning period was sufficient, however buyers are now almost demanding a calf that is 60 days weaned with at least two rounds of recent vaccinations.”

Winter weather impacted sales and buyer attitudes in some areas.

“Blizzard conditions on Sunday and Monday, from basically I-70 to I-80 hardened up some of the fleshy calves as cold temperatures moved in directly after snow dumped across the Plains,” AMS analysts say. “Another winter storm is forecasted to move through the Northern Plains this weekend and some feeders are content to have cattle sold before the brunt of the storm rolls through.” 

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $2.57 lower week to week on Friday ($1.77 lower at the back to $4.15 lower in spot Jan).

“Though there was softening, the futures market continued to trade above prices from two weeks ago,” says Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The Thanksgiving holiday shut down several auction markets, while the futures market kept chugging along which impacted trends on the cash market.”

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained largely undeveloped through USDA’s late-afternoon report Friday. There were some live sales in the western Corn Belt at $115/cwt., unevenly steady with Wednesday’s $114-$116, which was $1-$2 higher than the previous week. There was some early dressed trade in Nebraska at $183, but too few transactions to trend (prices the previous week were at $180-$185, mostly $185.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.07 lower week to week on Friday (17¢ lower in spot Dec to $1.77 lower). 

“Cattle feeders and packers were slow to agree on a price with cattle feeders asking for prices $4 to $5 higher than the previous week, while packers were bidding $3 lower than the prior week,” Griffith explains. “It is highly unlikely the market will move much in either’s favor compared to week-ago prices, given the somewhat stagnant nature of live cattle futures following the Thanksgiving holiday. Cattle feeders should still hold some leverage over packers at this point in the game as holiday-season buying and restocking of beef counters post-holiday will keep the beef market supported. Cattle feeder leverage may be further sustained during the winter months if poor winter feeding conditions result in lighter weights.”

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.24 lower Friday afternoon at $212.61/cwt. Select was 10¢ lower at $198.41.

In the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) note that since early August, Choice wholesale beef cutout prices stayed well above year-earlier levels. 

“In fact, the weekly beef cutout price for the week ending Nov. 9 climbed to within June price levels despite higher year-over-year beef production for third-quarter 2018 and higher expected production in fourth-quarter 2018,” ERS analysts say.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Nov. 30

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

289,500

(+191,800)

49,400

(+28,900)

43,800

(+43,800)

382,700

(+264,500)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Nov. 29 Change
  $147.13   –  $1.14

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 30  Change 
600-700 lbs. $155.06 +   $3.15
700-800 lbs. $152.43 +   $2.04
800-900 lbs. $151.89 +   $0.61

South Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 30 Change
500-600 lbs. $158.59 +   $2.05
600-700 lbs. $148.33 +   $3.88
700-800 lbs. $147.15 +   $1.87

Southeast

Steers-Cash Nov. 30 Change 
400-500 lbs. $156.77 +   $2.33
500-600 lbs. $146.35 +   $1.20
600-700 lbs. $136.53 –    $1.36

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Nov. 30 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $212.61 –   $1.24
Select $198.41 –   $0.10   
Ch-Se Spread $14.20 –   $1.14

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Nov. 30 Change
Jan ’19 $145.225 –    $4.150
Mar $142.850 –    $3.075
Apr $143.625 –    $2.625
May $143.950 –    $2.550
Aug $148.175 –    $2.275
Sep $147.775 –    $2.125
Oct $147.525 –    $1.975
Nov $146.925 –    $1.775

 

Live Cattle   Nov. 30 Change
Dec $116.925 –    $0.175
Feb ’19 $120.500 –    $0.425
Apr $122.000 –    $1.150
Jun $113.650 –    $1.775
Aug $111.575 –    $1.750
Oct $113.075 –    $1.525
Dec $115.300 –    $0.950
Feb ’20 $117.000 –    $1.000
Apr $118.700 –    $0.875

 

Corn futures Nov. 30 Change
Dec $3.664 + $0.074
Mar ’19 $3.776 + $0.072
May $3.850 + $0.068
Jul $3.914 + $0.060
Sep $3.940 + $0.050
Dec $3.996 + $0.044

 

Oil CME-WTI Nov. 30 Change
Jan ’19 $50.93 +   $0.51
Feb $51.09 +   $0.50
Mar $51.23 +   $0.47
Apr $51.36 +   $0.45
May $51.50 +   $0.44
Jun $51.60 +   $0.43

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Nov. 30 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25538.46 +    1252.51
NASDAQ     7330.54 +      391.56
S&P 500     2760.17 +      127.61
Dollar (DXY)          97.20 +          0.26
December 1st, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Nov. 23, 2018

There was no national price trend for calves and feeders, given the limited receipts during the Thanksgiving Day break. Where auctions did occur, trends appeared mostly to the upside, buoyed by recent futures strength.

“This is the first week where the market showed positive trends in most weights of feeders,” explained the AMS reporter on hand for Saturday’s auction in Kist, ND.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.95 higher week to week on Friday.

Heading into the new week, logic suggests calves and feeders should receive support from last week’s friendly Cattle on Feed report, as well as stronger cash fed cattle prices.

There were 2.25 million head placed in October, which was 6.06% less than last year, according to the report. Analyst estimates ahead of the report were for an increase of 1% more.

Cattle marketings in October were slightly more than expected at 1.89 million head, which was 4.78% more than last year.

Cattle on feed Nov. 1 of 11.69 million head were 3.18% more than last year, about 1% less than many expected.

Fed Cattle and Beef Prices Gain

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade for the week ended up mostly $2-$3 higher on a live basis at $116-$117/cwt. ($113-$114 in the western Corn Belt), and $2-$7 higher in the beef at $180-$185.

Except for an average of 56¢ higher in the back three contracts, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.52 higher week to week on Friday. 

Wholesale beef values managed week-to-week gains, too.

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was 94¢ higher Friday afternoon at $213.85/cwt. Select was 94¢ higher at $198.51.

Commercial red meat production was record high in October at 4.90 billion lbs., which was 6% more than the previous year, according to USDA’s most recent Livestock Slaughter report. For January through October, commercial red meat production of 44.4 billion lbs. was 3% more than the previous year.

Beef production for the month of 2.43 billion lbs. was 5% more than the previous October. Cattle slaughter of  2.96 million head was 6% more.

Pork production of 2.45 billion lbs. (up 6%), was record large, too. Hog slaughter of 11.6 million head was 6% more than the previous October.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Nov. 23

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

97,700

(-210,000)

20,500

(-8,600)

0

(-31,600)

118,200

(-250,200)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Nov. 22 Change
  $148.27   +  $0.44

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 23  Change 
600-700 lbs. $151.91 –    $5.10
700-800 lbs. $150.39 +   $0.33
800-900 lbs. $151.28 –    $0.12

South Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 23 Change
500-600 lbs. $156.54 +   $0.49
600-700 lbs. $144.45 –    $2.52
700-800 lbs. $145.28 –    $0.35

Southeast

Steers-Cash Nov. 23 Change 
400-500 lbs. $154.44 –    $1.23
500-600 lbs. $145.15 +   $1.71
600-700 lbs. $137.89 +   $3.66

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Nov. 23 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $213.85 +  $0.94
Select $198.51 +  $0.94   
Ch-Se Spread $15.34 0

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Nov. 23 Change
Jan ’19 $149.375 +   $2.850
Mar $145.925 +   $1.950
Apr $146.250 +   $1.925
May $146.500 +   $2.025
Aug $150.450 +   $2.075
Sep $149.900 +   $1.750
Oct $149.500 +   $1.500
Nov $148.700 +   $1.500

 

Live Cattle   Nov. 23 Change
Dec $117.100 +   $1.750
Feb ’19 $120.925 +   $1.200
Apr $123.150 +   $1.600
Jun $115.425 +   $1.900
Aug $113.325 +   $1.450
Oct $114.600 +   $1.225
Dec $116.250 +   $0.525
Feb ’20 $118.000 +   $0.575
Apr $119.575 +   $0.575

 

Corn futures Nov. 23 Change
Dec $3.590 –  $0.056
Mar ’19 $3.704 –  $0.052
May $3.782 –  $0.052
Jul $3.854 –  $0.046
Sep $3.890 –  $0.030
Dec $3.952 –  $0.028

 

Oil CME-WTI Nov. 23 Change
Jan ’19 $50.42 –    $6.26
Feb $50.59 –    $6.29
Mar $50.76 –    $6.31
Apr $50.91 –    $6.34
May $51.06 –    $6.37
Jun $51.17 –    $6.41

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Nov. 23 Change
Dow Industrial Average  24285.95 –     1127.27
NASDAQ     6938.98 –       308.89
S&P 500     2632.56 –       103.71
Dollar (DXY)          96.94 +          0.51
November 25th, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Nov. 16, 2018

Prices for calves and feeder cattle softened last week, pressured by seasonals, delayed wheat pasture and the lack of bounce in fed cattle prices.

Nationwide, steers and heifers sold $2-$6/cwt. lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Over the course of this fall, feeder cattle buyers have been more stringent on health protocols. Buyers now have orders that require calves have at least one, preferably two rounds of shots, and be weaned 60 days or more,” explained AMS analysts. “In the Northern Plains, cold weather with poor yard conditions and many crops still waiting to be harvested have put a damper on procuring bawling calves at this time.”  

Not counting expiring or new away-Nov, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $1.28 higher week to week on Friday (57¢ to $2.72 higher).

Looking a little further ahead, analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) note in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook (LDPO). “Winter forage seems to be in better condition than last year, which could provide a home for calves to stock over the winter. While this may be a positive sign for feeder calf prices in the coming months, limiting factors are the record numbers of cattle already on feed at the beginning of October and expectations of higher feed prices.”

ERS left the projected fourth-quarter feeder steer price unchanged from the previous month at $151-$155/cwt. The 2019 annual price forecast was lowered to $140-$151 on slightly higher anticipated feed costs and continued large feedlot numbers.

Fed Cattle Trade Unevenly Steady

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade remained undeveloped through late Friday afternoon. Although too few to trend, early prices in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt were unevenly steady to a touch softer than the previous week. Early dressed sales were at $178/cwt. in both regions. Early live sales in the western Corn Belt were at $111.50-$112.00. Late Friday, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association reported its members trading at $114, just a touch lower than the previous week’s weighted average.

Although the estimated number of cattle outside feedlots Oct. 1 (30.1 million head) was similar to last year, ERS analysts pointed out cattle are staying on feed longer. The estimated percentage of cattle on feed for more than 150 days in October was around 17%, which was approximately 3% more than last year; slightly above the average for 2013-2017, but less than in 2016.

Except for 5¢ and 2¢ lower in Aug and Oct, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 89¢ higher week to week on Friday (42¢ to $1.92 higher). 

In the meantime, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University points out in his weekly market comments that total cattle so far this year is 2.7% more year over year.

“Increased cattle slaughter, combined with an average of 2.3 lbs. increase in cattle carcass weights, both contribute to a year-to-date increase in beef production of 2.7% year over year,” Peel explains. “Total 2018 beef production is projected to be 27.0 billion lbs., a new record beef production total for the U.S. Beef production is forecast to grow to another record level of 27.5 billion lbs. in 2019.”

Wholesale beef prices continued softer after apparently reaching their seasonal peak earlier than normal. Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $2.29 lower Friday afternoon at $212.91/cwt. Select was $1.15 lower at $197.57.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Nov. 16

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

307,700

(-22,100)

29,100

(-11,900)

31,600

(+25,100)

368,400

(-8,900)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Nov. 15 Change
  $147.83   –   $3.80

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 16  Change 
600-700 lbs. $157.01 +   $0.41
700-800 lbs. $150.06 –    $5.61
800-900 lbs. $151.40 –    $1.47

South Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 16 Change
500-600 lbs. $156.05 –    $3.45
600-700 lbs. $146.97 –    $4.53
700-800 lbs. $145.63 –    $5.51

Southeast

Steers-Cash Nov. 16 Change 
400-500 lbs. $155.67 +   $0.21
500-600 lbs. $143.44 –   $2.66
600-700 lbs. $134.23 –   $3.28

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Nov. 16 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $212.91 –   $2.29
Select $197.57 –   $1.15   
Ch-Se Spread $15.34 –   $1.14

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Nov. 16 Change
Jan ’19 $146.525 +   $2.725
Mar $143.975 +   $1.800
Apr $144.325 +   $1.050
May $144.475 +   $0.575
Aug $148.375 +   $0.725
Sep $148.150 +   $0.775
Oct $148.000 +   $1.725
Nov $147.200 n/a

 

Live Cattle   Nov. 16 Change
Dec $115.350 +   $0.775
Feb ’19 $119.725 +   $1.925
Apr $121.550 +   $1.300
Jun $113.525 +   $0.825
Aug $111.875 –    $0.050
Oct $113.375 –    $0.025
Dec $115.725 +   $0.450
Feb ’20 $117.425 +   $0.425
Apr $119.000 +   $0.500

 

Corn futures Nov. 16 Change
Dec $3.646 –  $0.050
Mar ’19 $3.756 –  $0.056
May $3.834 –  $0.058
Jul $3.900 –  $0.060
Sep $3.920 –  $0.060
Dec $3.980 –  $0.044

 

Oil CME-WTI Nov. 16 Change
Dec $56.46 –    $3.73
Jan ’19 $56.68 –    $3.68
Feb $56.88 –    $3.68
Mar $57.07 –    $3.68
Apr $57.25 –    $3.70
May $57.43 –    $3.73

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Nov. 16 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25413.22 –      576.08
NASDAQ     7247.87 –       159.03
S&P 500     2736.27 –         44.74
Dollar (DXY)          96.43 –           0.48
November 18th, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Nov. 9, 2018

Steers and heifers sold steady to $5/cwt. lower, weighed down by volume, seasonal pressure and the weather in some cases. 

“An established pre-weaning and vaccination program has become a must for producers to receive top dollar this time of year (in between Halloween and Thanksgiving),” explain analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Many feedyards in the Upper Midwest and the Northern Plains have seen

their fair share of snow already this year…Muddy pens are sure to be a concern moving forward as the days get shorter, however temperatures in the teens in the midsection of the country may bring a welcomed freeze to ground conditions,” AMS analysts say. “Wind chills will be a concern this week, especially on incoming feedlot cattle, but it could be a blessing in disguise if copious amounts of precipitation can hold off for a little while longer.” 

Cash prices for calves and feeder cattle also were pressured by crumbling Cattle futures and a growing sense by some that the supportive fundamentals of snugger fed cattle supplies may have been priced in long ago, with trader attention now focused on increasing supplies next year.

Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $5.43 lower week to week on Friday.

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices lost ground. Live sales were mainly $1-$2 lower at mostly $114-$115/cwt. ($111-$113 in the western Corn Belt). Dressed trade was steady to $3 lower at $177-$180.

Live Cattle futures closed an average of $2.62 lower week to week on Friday ($1.40¢ to $4.40 lower). 

“Many cattle feeders were asking as high as $118 through most of the week but settled for lower money as packer bids were lower due to the failure of wholesale beef prices escalating,” explains Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, in his weekly market comments. “The price decline also coincides with live cattle futures losing value. The December live cattle contract traded near $117 most of last week, but it lost big on Monday and spent much of the week between $115 and $116 before surging higher on Thursday. Friday futures trade was not kind to cattle feeders as live cattle prices took another nosedive. It is perceived this weakness will be short lived.”

Following several weeks of seasonally higher prices, wholesale beef value faltered.

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $3.30 lower Friday afternoon at $215.20/cwt. Select was $2.75 lower at $198.72.

Griffith suspects the Choice cutout reached its fourth-quarter price peak since holiday purchasing will begin to slow.

“The Choice beef market has been driven by the rib and loin primals with a little bit of help from the brisket. The next round of support for the beef market will be from the restocking of meat counters following consumer holiday purchasing. However, the restocking of the counter will come in the form of end meats including chucks and rounds,” Griffith explains. “As this shift begins, the Choice-Select spread will narrow, and most of the narrowing is likely to come from lower Choice prices rather than a strengthening Select beef market. Change is soon to occur but the beef market is strong.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Nov. 9

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

329,800

(-8,000)

41,000

(-2,200)

6,500

(-16,500)

377,300

(-26,700)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Nov. 8 Change
  $151.63   –   $2.26

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 9  Change 
600-700 lbs. $156.60 –    $2.56
700-800 lbs. $155.67 –    $3.88
800-900 lbs. $152.87 –    $2.44

South Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 9 Change
500-600 lbs. $159.50 –    $0.79
600-700 lbs. $151.50 –    $2.32
700-800 lbs. $151.14 –    $1.60

Southeast

Steers-Cash Nov. 9 Change 
400-500 lbs. $155.46 +   $0.87
500-600 lbs. $146.10 –   $0.98
600-700 lbs. $137.51 –   $0.79

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Nov. 9 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $215.20 –   $3.30
Select $198.72 –   $2.75   
Ch-Se Spread $16.48 –   $0.55

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Nov. 9 Change
Nov $149.000 –    $3.500
Jan ’19 $143.800 –    $5.950
Mar $142.175 –    $6.075
Apr $143.275 –    $6.175
May $143.900 –    $5.975
Aug $147.650 –    $5.200
Sep $147.375 –    $5.200
Oct $146.725 –    $5.350

 

Live Cattle   Nov. 9 Change
Dec $114.575 –   $2.500
Feb ’19 $117.800 –   $4.400
Apr $120.250 –   $3.475
Jun $112.700 –   $3.275
Aug $111.925 –    $2.300
Oct $113.400 –    $2.075
Dec $115.275 –    $2.075
Feb ’20 $117.000 –    $1.975
Apr $118.500 –    $1.500

 

Corn futures Nov. 9 Change
Dec $3.696 –  $0.016
Mar ’19 $3.812 –  $0.020
May $3.892 –  $0.020
Jul $3.960 –  $0.010
Sep $3.980 + $0.004
Dec $4.024 –  $0.012

 

Oil CME-WTI Nov. 9 Change
Dec $60.19 –    $2.95
Jan ’19 $60.36 –    $2.92
Feb $60.56 –    $2.85
Mar $60.75 –    $2.81
Apr $60.95 –    $2.76
May $61.16 –    $2.68

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Nov. 9 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25989.30 +      718.47
NASDAQ     7406.90 +        49.91
S&P 500     2781.01 +        57.95
Dollar (DXY)          96.91 +         0.41
November 10th, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Nov. 2, 2018

Feeder cattle weighing more than 800 lbs. sold steady to $2 higher last week, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Feeders weighing less than 800 lbs. sold steady to $2 lower. Steer and heifer calves sold unevenly steady. 

“Demand for feeder weight cattle was very uneven and mainly depended on age,” say AMS analysts. “Especially 6-weight cattle that were either too young for the feedyard or too big for new wheat. Typically, this time of year, buyers are looking for cattle 60+ days weaned. However, this year, due to the wet and muddy conditions in many areas, 120 days seemed to be the earmark for numbers of days weaned. Demand for heavier weight cattle and those that would finish in April was very good.”

Not counting $2.30 lower in spot Nov, Feeder Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed week to week on Friday, from 12¢ lower to 42¢ higher.

“With ample wheat pasture virtually assured at this point, producers may stock wheat pastures a bit heavier than usual, leading to additional stocker demand in the coming weeks,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University, in is weekly market comments.

Although ultimately more than promising, early wet weather continued to delay wheat planting and development through Oct. 29, according to USDA’s Crop Progress report. At the time, 78% of winter wheat was planted, which was 5% less than last year and 7% less than the average. Emergence at 63% was the same as the previous year, but 4% less than the average.

There was no direction from negotiated cash fed cattle trade through late Friday afternoon, although general speculation was for prices to be at least steady, if not higher than the previous week’s mostly $114-$115/cwt. on a live basis and $180 in the beef.

Not counting recently minted away-Apr, week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 77¢ lower across the front half of the board (7¢ to $1.32 lower) and then an average of $1.01 higher.

Although Live Cattle futures continue to languish in a well-worn narrow channel, they and the cash market should continue to receive support from seasonally higher wholesale beef values.

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.03 higher Friday afternoon at $218.50/cwt. Select was $2.64 higher at $201.47.

Although domestic and international demand for U.S. beef remains strong, same-store restaurant sales and traffic declined in September, according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) most recent Restaurant Performance Index (RPI). It was 0.9% less than the previous month at 101.1.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Nov. 2

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

341,400

(-16,300)

43,200

(-14,400)

23,000

(+6,500)

407,600

(-24,200)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Nov. 1 Change
  $153.89   –   $0.12

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 1  Change 
600-700 lbs. $159.16 –    $3.17
700-800 lbs. $159.55 +   $1.21
800-900 lbs. $155.31 –    $0.83

South Central

Steers-Cash Nov. 1 Change
500-600 lbs. $160.29 –    $0.87
600-700 lbs. $153.82 –    $1.58
700-800 lbs. $152.74 –    $2.13

Southeast

Steers-Cash Nov. 1 Change 
400-500 lbs. $154.59 –   $0.46
500-600 lbs. $147.08 –   $0.12
600-700 lbs. $138.30 –   $1.99

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Nov. 2 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $218.50 +  $5.03
Select $201.47 +  $2.64   
Ch-Se Spread $17.03 +  $2.39

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Nov. 2 Change
Nov $152.500 –    $2.300
Jan ’19 $149.750 +   $0.050
Mar $148.250 +   $0.425
Apr $149.450 +   $0.125
May $149.875 –    $0.125
Aug $152.850 –    $0.075
Sep $152.575 +   $0.150
Oct $152.075 +   $0.150

 

Live Cattle   Nov. 2 Change
Dec $117.075 –   $1.325
Feb ’19 $122.200 –   $1.250
Apr $123.725 –   $0.450
Jun $115.975 –   $0.075
Aug $114.225 +   $0.600
Oct $115.475 +   $0.750
Dec $117.350 +   $1.200
Feb ’20 $118.975 +   $1.475
Apr $120.000 n/a

 

Corn futures Nov. 2 Change
Dec $3.712 + $0.036
Mar ’19 $3.832 + $0.032
May $3.912 + $0.032
Jul $3.970 + $0.034
Sep $3.976 + $0.016
Dec $4.036 + $0.012

 

Oil CME-WTI Nov. 2 Change
Dec $63.14 –    $4.45
Jan ’19 $63.28 –    $4.47
Feb $63.41 –    $4.43
Mar $63.56 –    $4.37
Apr $63.71 –    $4.30
May $63.84 –    $4.21

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Nov. 2 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25270.83 +      582.52
NASDAQ     7356.99 +      189.78
S&P 500     2723.06 +        64.37
Dollar (DXY)          96.50 +         0.09
November 3rd, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Oct. 26, 2018

Calves and feeder cattle sold $2 lower to $2 higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), amid increased auction volume as the fall run picked up steam.

“Auction receipts were the largest since January,” said AMS analysts. “Several auctions in South Dakota had two sales this week to accommodate producers willing to sell cattle and the state accounted for over 18% of the auction receipts.” 

The lack of trucks stalled demand in some areas. As the AMS reporter on hand for Thursday’s sale at Billings Livestock Commission in Montana explained, “Transportation continues to be an issue as trucks are tight with many contract calves moving in the country. Buyers are reluctant to purchase calves they do not have immediate transportation for as heath concerns snowball the longer calves are under stress.”

As for demand, Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University pointed out in his early-week market comments, “Stocker budgets for winter grazing still look quite favorable, unless grazing delays stretch out too long and cut days available for winter grazing down excessively.”

Not counting expiring October or newly minted away October, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 88¢ higher week to week on Friday.

Fed Cattle Mostly $3-$4 Higher

Negotiated cash fed cattle prices finally busted from the steady trench of recent weeks, gaining $3-$4 on a live basis in most regions at $114-$115/cwt—$2-$3 higher in the western Corn Belt at $112-$113. Dressed sales were $6 higher at $180.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.49 higher.

“Cattle slaughter continues along at a pretty good clip that packers have found to be advantageous to their bottom line,” according to AMS analysts. “Packer margins have been on the positive side for many months now, and they have done an excellent job of managing their inventory since Labor Day. Steer dressed weights for the week ending Oct. 13 were 899 lbs., 4 lbs. below the previous week.  Muddy pen conditions and lower temperatures nationwide the first week in October were contributing factors in the drop in weights.”

Fed cattle prices gained support from the seasonal boost to wholesale beef values.

Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.54 higher Friday afternoon at $213.47/cwt. Select was $4.59 higher at $198.83.

In his weekly market comments, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee explains middle meats are driving the increase in wholesale beef values.

“Middle meat purchases in October are generally due to entities preparing for the holiday season and trying to purchase inventory before rib and loin prices reach their apex,” Griffith says. “Thus, restaurants and retailers are trying to avoid being short bought and forced in to high-priced spot market purchases. At the same time, this purchasing habit generally leads to increases of beef in cold storage which generally peaks in the fourth quarter.”

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Oct. 26

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

357,700

(+87,400)

57,600

(+32,200)

16,500

(-11,200)

431,800

(+108,400)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Oct. 25 Change
  $154.01   –   $1.35

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Oct. 26  Change 
600-700 lbs. $162.33 +   $2.54
700-800 lbs. $158.34 –    $1.45
800-900 lbs. $156.14 –    $0.59

South Central

Steers-Cash Oct. 26 Change
500-600 lbs. $161.16 +   $0.91
600-700 lbs. $155.40 +   $0.03
700-800 lbs. $154.87 +   $0.11

Southeast

Steers-Cash Oct. 26 Change 
400-500 lbs. $155.05 –   $1.83
500-600 lbs. $147.30 –   $0.24
600-700 lbs. $140.29 +  $0.97

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Oct. 26 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $213.47 +  $5.54
Select $198.83 +  $4.59   
Ch-Se Spread $14.64 +  $0.95

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Oct. 26 Change
Nov $154.800 +   $0.700
Jan ’19 $149.700 +   $0.950
Mar $147.825 +   $0.775
Apr $149.325 +   $1.050
May $150.000 +   $1.225
Aug $152.925 +   $0.875
Sep $152.425 +   $0.625
Oct $151.925 n/a

 

Live Cattle   Oct. 26 Change
Oct $113.875 +   $1.625
Dec $118.400 +  $1.625
Feb ’19 $123.450 +  $2.300
Apr $124.175 +  $2.000
Jun $116.050 +   $1.525
Aug $113.625 +   $1.200
Oct $114.725 +   $1.025
Dec $116.150 +   $1.050
Feb ’20 $117.500 +   $1.100

 

Corn futures Oct. 26 Change
Dec $3.676 + $0.006
Mar ’19 $3.800 + $0.006
May $3.880 + $0.010
Jul $3.936 + $0.010
Sep $3.960 + $0.016
Dec $4.024 + $0.024

 

Oil CME-WTI Oct. 26 Change
Nov $67.59 –    $1.69
Dec $67.75 –    $1.60
Jan ’19 $67.84 –    $1.55
Feb $67.93 –    $1.50
Mar $68.01 –    $1.45
Apr $68.05 –    $1.41

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Oct. 26 Change
Dow Industrial Average  24688.31 –       756.03
NASDAQ     7167.21 –       281.82
S&P 500     2658.69 –       109.09
Dollar (DXY)          96.41 +         0.74
October 28th, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Oct. 19, 2018

Steer and heifer calves sold steady to $5/cwt. lower, while yearlings traded steady to $3 lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). That was with about 75,000 head more selling at auction than the previous week as the fall calf run ratchets up.

“Receipts were much larger than last week as road conditions improved dramatically in certain areas, with dryer and warmer weather across the Plains,” explained AMS analysts. “In the Northern Plains, calf runs are just getting started and high quality weaned calves are in demand. The demand for un-weaned calves this week was moderate while demand for preconditioned and weaned calves was moderate to good.”

Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee notes that promising wheat pasture conditions in the Southern Plains and positive fall forage conditions in the Southeast continue to provide support to calf prices.

“Despite calf demand support, freshly weaned steer and heifer values have the potential to fall below $750 and $650 per head respectively, which would equate to prices declining $5/cwt.,” Griffith says, in his weekly market comments. “The risk of prices declining more than $5/cwt. on freshly weaned calves moving through the rest of fall is relatively small and will likely be short lived if it actually occurs.”

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 85¢ lower (5¢ to $1.92 lower)—an average of $4.79 lower in the last two weeks.

Fed Cattle Steady Again

Negotiated cash fed cattle traded about steady for the sixth week in row. Live prices were steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $109-$111 per cwt, and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $109-$110. Dressed trade was steady in Nebraska at $174; steady to $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $173-$174.

“Prices for live cattle will be expected to move in a positive direction during the fourth quarter,” Griffith says. “The results of the last month and a half may be indicating a moderate fourth quarter increase or it could be setting the stage for a violent surge in prices.”

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, but mostly lower from an average of 42¢ lower to an average of 52¢ higher.

“The October CME Live Cattle contract continues to run at a premium to cash cattle and nearly 150 certificates were tendered for physical delivery of cattle so far this month,” note AMS analysts.

Wholesale beef value showed signs of seasonal life. Week to week, Choice boxed beef cutout value was $5.22 higher Friday afternoon at $207.93 per cwt. Select was $1.96 higher at $194.24.

“Demand has been a strong supporter of beef prices in 2018, and the expectation is for continued support. However, the market is also aware of increasing production, which will temper the price impact of demand,” Griffith explains. “Similarly, the red meat market is heading into the seasonal production peak for pork. Pork production is seasonally lowest in the summer months before peaking in November and December. The lower prices on hams and other pork products result in serious interest from red meat consumers. Thus, red meat production will keep beef prices from exploding to the upside.”

Feedlot Placements Decline

Feedlot placements in September ran against expectations and recent-month trends with 2.05 million head placed in feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity. That was 4.60% less (-99,000 head) than a year earlier. Keep in mind there was one less weekday in September this year, according to the most recent Cattle on Feed report.

September marketings of 1.72 million head were 3.59% less (-64,000 head) than the previous year. Expectations ahead of the report were for marketings to be about even.

Cattle on feed Oct. 1 were 11.40 million head, which was 5.43% (+587,000 head) more than last year. Most analysts expected to see about 6% more. Still, it’s the largest Oct. 1 inventory since the data series began in 1996.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Oct. 19

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

270,300

(+75,300)

25,400

(-7,100)

27,700

(+21,600)

323,400

(+89,800)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Oct. 18 Change
  $155.36   –   $2.12

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Oct. 19  Change 
600-700 lbs. $159.79 –    $6.68
700-800 lbs. $159.79 –    $3.14
800-900 lbs. $156.73 –    $4.79

South Central

Steers-Cash Oct. 19 Change
500-600 lbs. $160.25 –    $0.86
600-700 lbs. $155.37 –    $1.45
700-800 lbs. $154.76 –    $0.14

Southeast

Steers-Cash Oct. 19 Change 
400-500 lbs. $156.88 –   $0.83
500-600 lbs. $147.54 –   $1.00
600-700 lbs. $139.32 –   $2.22

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Oct. 19 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $207.93 +  $5.22
Select $194.24 +  $1.96   
Ch-Se Spread $13.69 +  $3.26

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Oct. 19 Change
Oct $154.650 –    $0.050
Nov $154.100 –    $0.525
Jan ’19 $148.750 –    $1.000
Mar $147.050 –    $1.925
Apr $148.275 –    $1.525
May $148.775 –    $1.100
Aug $152.050 –    $0.275
Sep $151.800 –    $0.375

 

Live Cattle   Oct. 19 Change
Oct $112.250 –   $0.075
Dec $116.775 +  $0.600
Feb ’19 $121.150 +  $0.750
Apr $122.175 +  $0.200
Jun $114.525 –   $0.350
Aug $112.425 –    $0.625
Oct $113.700 –    $0.525
Dec $115.100 –    $0.450
Feb ’20 $116.400 –    $0.475

 

Corn futures Oct. 19 Change
Dec $3.670 –  $0.066
Mar ’19 $3.794 –  $0.062
May $3.870 –  $0.056
Jul $3.926 –  $0.050
Sep $3.944 –  $0.052
Dec $4.000 –  $0.044

 

Oil CME-WTI Oct. 19 Change
Nov $69.12 –    $2.22
Dec $69.28 –    $1.90
Jan ’19 $69.35 –    $1.73
Feb $69.39 –    $1.60
Mar $69.43 –    $1.51
Apr $69.46 –    $1.43

 

Equities

Equity Indexes Oct. 19 Change
Dow Industrial Average  25444.34 +     104.35
NASDAQ     7449.03 –        47.86
S&P 500     2767.78 +         0.65
Dollar (DXY)          95.67 +         0.41
October 21st, 2018|Weekly Market Highlights|

Cattle Current Weekly Highlights-Week ending Oct. 12, 2018

Except for $2 higher in the North Central Plains, steers and heifers sold $1-$5/cwt. lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Along with seasonal pressure, wet, muddy and wintry weather curtailed receipts and demand—from Hub City Livestock Auction at Aberdeen, SD to Winter Livestock in Dodge City, to Tulia Livestock Auction in Texas, and beyond.

“Health concerns are the biggest factor, with the big temperature swings this time of year,” said AMS analysts. “Last week, temperatures were in the 80s, while lows in the 30s and 40s followed just a few days later.”

Although calf prices turned softer, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, points out in his weekly market comments that the decline is so far less than expected seasonally.

“If prices were declining to a great extent, then that would provide more reason to wean and precondition calves this fall and winter, but the decision is made more difficult with relatively strong calf prices,” Griffith says. “The expectation of relatively inexpensive forage makes the decision more difficult. Understanding that cost of gain is highly variable across producers and production systems, it is difficult to discuss it thoroughly. However, most producers using grass will have a cost of gain between 40¢ to 60¢/lb. of gain. Value of gain is not an exact science, but it is a little easier. The current value of gain for adding 100 lbs. of weight to steers starting from 475 lbs. to 625 lbs. ranges from $1.02 to $1.24/lb. of gain if prices are locked in today and no value added premium is added.”

Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.94 lower ($3.07 to $4.62 lower).

Fed Cattle Prices Continue Steady

Negotiated cash fed cattle trade for the week was mainly steady to weak with live sales at $111/cwt. in the Northern and Southern Plains; mostly $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $108. Dressed sales were $1 lower at $174.

“Fed Cattle prices normally have upside potential this time of year, however muddy pen conditions in all major feeding regions have left many fed cattle owners willing sellers at steady money,” explained AMS analysts.

Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.66 lower ($1.25 to $2.12 lower).

Likewise, the seasonals suggest wholesale beef value should start climbing sooner rather than later. As it is, Choice boxed beef cutout value was 54¢ lower week to week Friday afternoon at $202.71/cwt. Select was 54¢ higher at $192.28.

International demand continues to underpin domestic prices.

As reported in Cattle Current earlier in the week, U.S. beef exports topped $750 million in August for the first time, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Specifically, August beef export value was $751.7 million, which was 11% more than the previous year, easily exceeding the previous record of $722.1 million reached in May 2018. In terms of volume, August beef exports were 7% more than the previous year at 119,850 metric tons (mt).

For January through August, beef exports totaled 899,300 mt, up 9% from a year ago, while value climbed 18% to $5.51 billion.

“U.S. beef exports continue to achieve tremendous growth, not only in our mainstay Asian markets but in the Western Hemisphere as well,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “USMEF is excited about the recent market access developments achieved by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA, with favorable terms being preserved in Mexico, Canada and South Korea and trade talks getting underway with Japan. A trade agreement with Japan would bring opportunities for even greater expansion as U.S. beef becomes more affordable for Japanese consumers and is back on a level playing field with Australian beef.”

Beef export value averaged $320.92 per head of fed slaughter in August, up 11% from a year ago. The January-August average was $318.66 per head, up 16%. Through August, beef exports accounted for 13.5% of total U.S. beef production, which was 0.7% more than the previous year.

Friday to Friday Change*

Weekly Auction Receipts

Receipts

Oct. 12

Auction (head)

(Change)

Direct (head)

(Change)

Video/net (head)

(Change)

Total (head)

(Change)

 

195,000

(-54,600)

32,500

(-15,100)

6,100

(-33,100)

233,600

(-102,800)

 

CME Feeder Index

CME Feeder Index Oct. 11 Change
  $157.48   –   $0.70

*Thursday-to Thursday for CME Feeder Index

 

Cash Stocker and Feeder

North Central

Steers-Cash Oct. 12  Change 
600-700 lbs. $166.47 +   $0.18
700-800 lbs. $162.93 –    $0.68
800-900 lbs. $161.52 +   $1.93

South Central

Steers-Cash Oct. 12 Change
500-600 lbs. $161.11 –    $2.40
600-700 lbs. $156.82 –    $4.02
700-800 lbs. $154.90 –    $4.59

Southeast

Steers-Cash Oct. 12 Change 
400-500 lbs. $157.71 –   $2.66
500-600 lbs. $148.54 –   $3.27
600-700 lbs. $141.54 –   $1.42

(AMS National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary)

 

Wholesale Beef Value

Boxed Beef  (p.m.) Oct. 12 ($/cwt) Change
Choice $202.71 –   $0.54
Select $192.28 +  $0.54   
Ch-Se Spread $10.43 –   $1.08

 

Futures

Feeder Cattle  Oct. 12 Change
Oct $154.700 –    $3.075
Nov $154.625 –    $3.600
Jan ’19 $149.750 –    $4.625
Mar $148.975 –    $4.475
Apr $149.800 –    $4.175
May $149.875 –    $3.975
Aug $152.325 –    $3.800
Sep $152.175 –    $3.825

 

Live Cattle   Oct. 12 Change
Oct $112.325 –    $1.475
Dec $116.175 –   $1.975
Feb ’19 $120.400 –   $2.125
Apr $121.975 –   $1.625
Jun $114.875 –   $1.775
Aug $113.050 –    $1.625
Oct $114.225 –    $1.575
Dec $115.550 –    $1.475
Feb ’20 $116.875 –    $1.250

 

Corn futures Oct. 12 Change
Dec $3.736 +  $0.054
Mar ’19 $3.856 + $0.056
May $3.926 +  $0.056
Jul $3.976 +  $0.054
Sep $3.996 +  $0.042
Dec $4.044 +  $0.040

 

Oil CME-WTI Oct. 12 Change
Nov $71.34 –    $3.00
Dec $71.18 –    $3.08
Jan ’19 $71.08 –    $3.07
Feb $70.99 –    $3.06
Mar $70.94 –    $3.03
Apr $70.89 –    $2.99

 

Equities