Cash Fed Cattle 5 Weeks Steady

The first week of March brought more of the same to cattle markets. Cash fed cattle prices remained frozen at $114 for the fifth consecutive week. Trade in the South was called light to moderate at $114. Trade in the North was $113 to $114 and $180 dressed, steady to $2 lower than the previous week.

Boxed beef values are correcting lower, down nearly $10 from the recent top. Choice boxed beef closed Friday at $233.13 per cwt., down $8.11 from last Friday. Select boxed beef closed at $220.73 per cwt., down $9.05 from the previous week.

April live cattle rose 47.5 cents to $119.025, paring its weekly decline to 97.5 cents. June cattle formed a daily reversal higher on Friday, ending up $1.025 at $118.00, but still down 42.5 cents this week. May feeders jumped $2.50 to $145.15 and ended the week 7.5 cents higher. Light feedlot placements last fall are likely to provide support moving forward. But for now, futures remain at a premium to cash bids and will limit rallies. Steer carcass weights have been record-heavy all year. However, the late-February bitter cold and a light weekly kill pulled steer and heifer weights down 10 lbs. in the week ended Feb. 20. That trend will likely continue, providing cash market support amid improving demand.

Estimated weekly cattle slaughter was 665,000 head compared to 649,487 head last year. The total year to date was 5.829 million head, down 3.5%.

Feeder cattle sold steady to $4 lower.


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