Cash Cattle Weaker As Grain Rallies
Cash cattle prices slipped daily most of the week. Cattle in the South began at $111 on Tuesday, saw $110 on Wednesday and bids of $109 Thursday, $1 to $3 lower for the week. Cattle in the North began at $110 on Tuesday but sold for $108 by Thursday. Dressed cattle sold for $172 to $174 per cwt., $1 to $4 lower.
Packer demand was called moderate and supplies plentiful.
Boxed beef values pushed higher during the week, with Friday’s Choice at $213.62 per cwt, $6.82 higher than last week. Select closed at $203.15 per cwt, $6.46 higher.
CME Live cattle finished 45 cents to $1.325 higher through the December contract on Friday. Feeder cattle posted gains of $1.70 to $2.45 through the October contract. But for the week, April live cattle dropped $1.10, while March feeders fell $1. Feeder cattle futures remain highly responsive to price movements in the corn market. March corn closed 35 cents higher on the week to $5.31 ½.
Grain markets rallied after USDA slashed its estimate of 2020-21 supplies by 402 million bushels, based on a smaller crop and unexpected cut in beginning stocks. USDA also reduced its projected useage forecast by 250 million bushels, yet U.S. carryover is set to fall to the smallest in seven years.
Feeder cattle sold at auction $1 to $7 lower. Calves were called mixed from $3 lower to $3 higher.
Cattle slaughter was estimated at 651,000 head, compared to 632,987 last year. The year-to-date total was 1.369 million head, 236,000 short of last year.
Markets and government offices will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.