Cattle, Beef Sharply Lower As April Begins

Fed cattle declined $7 to $10 ( CAB )

Cash fed cattle traded in the South at $112 to $113 per cwt., a decline of $7 to $10 from the previous week. Northern cattle traded at $113, with a small group at $114. Dressed trade occurred at $175 to $180 per cwt., $5 to $15 lower.

The Choice beef cutout fell $20. 93 per cwt. for the week, closing Friday at $230.44. Select fell $20.05 for the week to $15.84. The Choice/Select spread was $14.60 per cwt.

April live cattle futures closed down the $4.50 daily trading limit Friday, at $88.325. June live cattle fell $2.225 at $80.85. For the week, April futures plunged $12.625. May feeder cattle futures on Friday fell $3.55 at $108.10 and for the week lost $12.825. All three futures contracts hit new lows today.

Feeder steers sold at auction $5 to $17 lower while feeder heifers sold $7 to $15 lower in the North Central and South Central areas, according to Agricultural Marketing Service reporters. The largest declines appeared on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Some auctions on Thursday indicated values from $20 to $27 per cwt. lower,” AMS said. “Steer and heifer calves in the Southeast traded eneven – steady to $5 higher early in the week to steady to $5 lower later in the week.”

AMS called demand moderate to good, despite the lower prices. Auction numbers rebounded significantly from last week, yet still fell 25% lower than the same week a year ago. Receipts totaled 175,100 head, which compared to 87,200 the week before. The same week a year ago saw auction receipts total 233,200.

Cattle slaughter under federal inspection is estimated at 626,000 head for the week, 50,000 less than last week and 1,000 less than a year ago.

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