Feedyards couldn’t capitalize on the surging boxed beef market last week as sales in the south struggled to match the previous week’s price. Southern feedyards shipped cattle at $121 to mostly $122 per hundredweight, while northern feeders traded at $123 to $124 live and $198 to $200 per hundredweight dressed.
Boxed beef cutout values gained throughout the week, and Choice boxed beef traded Friday at $188.01 per hundredweight, up $9.50 from the previous Friday. The Select price on Friday was $184.39 per hundredweight, an increase of $7.03 from last week. The Choice-Select spread was $3.62 per hundredweight, compared to $1.18 the previous week.
Feeder cattle and calves were called firm to $3 higher for the week. “Calf offerings were spotty this past week and overwhelmingly dominated by new-crops which have mostly enjoyed a mild environment so far in life, leaving them rather soft and fleshy,” says USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall.
“Feeder buyers pushed price levels to fill a few more vacant pens before marketing slows to a crawl as producers turn their attention to corn and soybean planting in the Midwest, wheat harvest in the Southern Plains, and hay production across the southern tier of the United States,” Wall says.
Wall noted that South Dakota cowmen “remain bullish on the future of the cattle business in Aberdeen at the Hub City Livestock Auction where a short load (62 head) of 586-pound replacement-quality heifers stirred cell phones by bringing $1190 per head.”
Last week’s auction receipts totaled 193,400, compared to 166,500 the previous week and 222,200 last year. Direct sales of stocker and feeder cattle totaled 28,800, with video/Internet sales at 2,100. The weekly total was 224,300, compared to 270,500.
Slaughter cows sold steady on tight supplies. Corn prices moved lower last week, with Omaha cash corn at $6.33 per bushel on Friday, 14 cents per bushel lower than the previous week.
USDA’s monthly cattle on feed report were called relatively neutral to the market by analysts. Total cattle on feed was estimated at 11.48 million, 2 percent higher than last April. Placements in March were 1.79 million, down 6 percent from a year ago, and marketings were 1.91, down 4 percent from a year ago.