Feeder Cattle Higher, Fed Cattle Lower

Fed cattle traded $1 lower ( FJ )

The fed cattle traded developed late on Friday at $121 live in the South, $1 lower than the previous week. Cattle sold dressed in the North at $193 per cwt., $2 lower.

While cash fed cattle traded lower the past two weeks, traders anticipate a higher market toward spring as cattle numbers tighten seasonally and beef demand improves.

Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection was estimated at 631,000 for the week, 9,000 less than last week and 6,000 more than a year ago.  On the week, Choice cutout closed $2.88 lower at $210.12, while Select was $6.77 lower at $203.89. The Choice-Select spread was $6.23.

Feeder cattle prices rebounded the week ending Feb. 7 after the previous week’s decline. Steers and heifers sold mostly steady to $3 higher, according to AMS reporters. Lighter calves suitable for grazing saw good demand in the Dakotas. Heavier feeders ready to go into feedyards are still in demand, “just not at the handsome prices seen the beginning of January,” AMS said.

“Cost of gains are increasing as the winter has taken its toll on pen conditions in several areas this winter,” AMS said. “The extra mud does takes energy away from weight gain and steer carcass weights declined to 901 pounds for week ending January 25, 2020, six pounds lower than the previous week and 13 pounds heavier than a year ago.”

For the first 4 weeks in January, the industry’s average steer carcass weight were nearly 20 pounds heavier than a year ago.

CME Cattle closed mixed and feeders ended lower on Friday. April live cattle closed up 5 cents to $119.80 and up 12.5 cents for the week. March feeders fell 70 cents to $135.20 and down 87.5 cents for the week. Since January 13, the front five Live Cattle contracts have been devalued $6.10 to $8.50; while the February through May Feeder cattle contracts have diminished $11.63 to $12.55.