Cash fed cattle prices slipped mostly $1 lower for the week, with trade in the South at $108 per cwt., and trade in the North at $107 to $108 per cwt., with dressed cattle mainly at $169 per cwt. Texas sold some cattle at $109 in early week trade.
Agricultural Marketing Service reported the week ending Oct. 16 represents the fifth consecutive week of negotiated cash sales in excess of 105,000 head.
Boxed beef prices continued lower, with this week’s Choice trade closing at $210.03 per cwt., $4.03 lower than the previous Friday. Select closed at $193.52 per cwt., $6.30 lower than the previous week. Over the past two weeks Choice has declined $9 per cwt., and Select has declined more than $14.
Futures prices traded lower most of the week, with Dec LC down nearly 400 points from last Friday’s close. The heavy selling in the futures this week represents a large exit from long positions in the live cattle contract. Contracts into 2021 were also called week and traded below their 100-day moving averages. Feeder cattle futures were much softer, trading at levels not seen since June.
Grain markets were all higher, with Chicago wheat futures reaching 5-year highs on Thursday. Corn futures climbed to 14-month highs and soybeans also pushed higher.
Weekly cattle slaughter was estimated at 654,000 head, down 11,000 head from the previous week. Year-to-date cattle slaughter was 25.467 million head, down 3.9% compared to last year.
Auction markets saw steers and heifers trading steady to $3 lower. AMS reporters said the best demand was on a limited supply of yearlings. The bulk of feeder cattle offered consisted of calves as the percentage over 600 pounds continues a seasonal decline.
“The demand for calves continues to be very dependent upon the health program of the originating producer,” AMS said. This week has ended with much cooler temperatures as an Arctic blast brought frost to a good portion of the Plains. Lack of moisture continues to avoid the areas that need it the most and the drought areas are slowing intensifying each week. In Missouri, reports of some hay feeding taking place and the next thing in line would be water concerns for some producers.”
Auction receipts total ed 243,900 head, compared to 228,400 last week and 274,000 last year.