Cattle Markets Soften

Cash cattle markets were mostly weaker, with CME futures prices lower before turning sharply higher Friday. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Cattle trade was light throughout the week, with a few sales at $110 to $111 per cwt. Those prices are $4 to $5 lower than last week, and $4 to $5 short of feedyard asking prices. The dressed trade was at $176 to $177 per cwt. Packer profitability remains at a high level.

At auction markets across the nation, steers sold $3 lower to $3 higher, while heifers were steady to $3 higher. AMS reporters said, “Another week away from Memorial Day and the aggressive movement of cattle out of feedlots brought good demand for offerings at auctions this week.  Heat has become a concern in the Central Plains recently as summer-like temperatures have become very evident even though the calendar hasn't reached the summer solstice.”

Volatility remains in the CME futures market with $3 to $4 losses in the Feeder Contracts from Monday to Thursday, followed by a rally of $4-plus on Friday.

The Choice cutout closed on Friday at $221.59 per cwt., down $5.38 from the previous Friday. Select cutout traded at $202.73, down $0.47 from the previous week. The choice/Select spread was $18.86 versus $23.03 the week before.