Weather forecasts and corn market expectations were key drivers for the feeder cattle market last week with upcoming feed supplies pushed and pulled by a bumper corn crop threatened by continued dryness.
Feeders remain in demand for the fourteenth consecutive week in northern states on better pasture conditions and access to good corn yields. Trade was busy at the start of last week following news of lower projected crop yields threatened by continued dryness and the potential for an early frost. Grain prices settled down as the week progressed and yearling feeder prices marched on.
According to USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall last week’s trade proceeded with caution for the first time in 14 weeks. Most yearling feeder markets started the week steady to $3 lower in the Southern Plains while Northern Markets moved $3 to $7 higher. On average, cattle sold last week for between $123 and $123.50.
Although cattle prices tend to peak in August, tight supplies as revealed by the previous Friday’s Cattle on Feed report will likely prevent prices from declining too quickly moving into the fall.
“On Thursday in Valentine, NE 800-900 lb steers sold in a range from 162.75-170.00 with the 850-900 lbs steers having a weighted average price of 166.99,” Wall said.
Although it’s hard to determine crop yields until combines get to work, Wall said the Pro-Farmers’s annual crop tour set estimates for corn at 154.1 bushels per acre. Low pod counts set less impressive expectations for soybeans.
Auction receipts last week totaled 165,200, increasing over last week’s 160,000 but lower than 187,400 during the same week last year. Direct trade totaled 31,800 with video/Internet booming to 203,800 for a total of 400,800. Last week’s receipts totaled 275,600; last year’s total was 265,800.
Cash cattle prices remained steady at $123, even with the previous week with light-to-moderate trade in the Texas panhandle and active bidding in Kansas on moderate demand. Dressed sales were mostly a dollar lower, trading at $196.
Boxed beef prices trended lower last week, but posted marginal gains on Friday. Choice boxed beef prices decreased by 52 cents, ending the week at $195.67. Select cuts also declined last week, moving $1.43 lower than the previous week to finish at $182.66. The Choice-Select spread was wider last week, increasing by 91 cents to $13.01.
Slaughter cows and bulls continue to sell steady. The USDA’s cutter cow cut-out value Friday morning was down $1.29 from a week earlier at $166.59.