Fed cattle prices started last week steady with the prior week. Compared to the previous week, live sales sold $1 lower at $125 in Kansas. In Nebraska, dressed sales sold $1-2 lower at $202 with live sales on Wednesday from $126-127.
“It looks like a lot of eastern Corn Belt farmers are hoping to have some early-harvested corn to use in capturing old-crop premiums before the main harvest season gets underway.Things could get exciting in the markets if there would happen to be widespread frost in late April,” according to Bob Wisner, Iowa State University.
Texas is by far the leading lamb-producing state, so what happens there also affects the entire country. On Jan. 1, 2011, there were 515,000 ewes in Texas, which is more than the next two leading states combined (California with 273,000 and Wyoming with 220,000).
Beef projections are expected to be slightly higher from February with prices getting stronger. Export is expected to remain unchanged, but domestic slaughter is expected to be low. Slight overall increase is small, but still well below numbers from past years.
Ideas that the early warm weather across the central part of the U.S. could spark early summer-type demand helped support last week’s market. In addition, a more active volume of trade in the boxed-beef market boosted support levels. A positive tilt to equity markets and weakness in the U.
Cash live cattle markets were in trouble after last Monday’s futures markets closed sharply lower, offering no support to cash trade for the balance of the week. Cattle feeders were eager sellers on Tuesday, concerned that markets could move even lower during the week and that $127 would be about it for the week’s trade.
Fed cattle prices jumped to their highest levels in history a week ago, as short-bought packers purchased for the short slaughter week. Sales in the south ranged between $128 to $129.50, mostly $5 higher than the previous week. Dressed deals in the north were mostly $203, or $6 higher.
Last week’s USDA-issued cattle on feed report was in keeping with earlier predictions. Cattle on feed were up; placements were down due to reduced supplies of feeder cattle. Fed cattle marketings were down slightly with one less trading day which put the marketing rate in line with projections.
The previous week, live sales ended mostly at $126 in the Southern Plains and in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, live sales traded mostly from $125-126 with dressed sales mostly at $202. In Colorado for the previous week, live sales traded from $125.
The new year has started off slow in the fed cattle arena, seeing very little movement last week, with inactive to light demand in the southern and northern Plains, as well as the western Corn Belt. The previous week’s market saw sales at $122 in the Texas Panhandle, and in Kansas and Colorado, live sales traded at $121.
Fed cattle trade remained quiet last week. Iowa saw a few Holstiens trading for $1.80 on Tuesday. Nebraska and Iowa trade on Wednesday saw a few hundred head sold for $123.5-124 live and $1.95 dressed.
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 totaled 11.3 million head on Oct. 1, 2011. The inventory was 5 percent above Oct. 1, 2010, and the second highest October inventory report since the series began in 1996.
Despite the lower cutout values last week, fed cattle prices were higher. The fed cattle market strengthened at $1 to $2/cwt. higher last week with sales at $120-121 in the south Plains and $120-122 in the Corn Belt. Dressed sales were reported at $189 to $192/cwt.
Futures markets were steady to mixed as futures traders waited for the cash markets to develop most of the week. With packer margins continuing to be in the red, tight cattle supplies were looking for firm cash prices.
Analysts have suggested for weeks the fed cattle market could rally this fall as supplies of market-ready cattle would tighten. Aggressive packer bidding the past two weeks, despite flat wholesale beef prices, is seen as evidence packers are hunting a little harder for the cattle they need, according to analysts.
Cattle futures traded higher last week, pulling the live and dressed cash markets with it. The October contract was trading at $122.20 Thursday and deferred contracts were trading in the same range. April seems to be where the next price advance is and was trading at $126.
Trade remained sluggish most of last week with only a few token packer bids of $116 live and $1.83- 1.84 dressed being passed by bullish feedlot managers asking $120 live and $1.90 dressed. "The way it looks right now, a $118/$1.86-$1.88 trade seems reasonable," according to Troy Vetterkind with Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage.
Fed cattle markets were slow to develop again last week. Futures markets were showing some strength early last week until Thursday when the news of a broader equity market sell-off took place, dragging nearly all commodities down.
Fed cattle trade was slow to develop last week after lackluster meat sales over the Labor Day weekend. Futures markets were stronger on live cattle, setting the stage for stronger fed trade later in the week.
Cash fed cattle trade was slow to develop last week coming into a Labor Day-shortened production week. Cattle feeders were offering cattle at $114 live and $181 dressed but packer offers were at $110-111 and $177-178, respectively. Trade was expected to be steady to $1 lower than the prior week.