Higher boxed beef prices last week couldn’t lift a slumping fed cattle market. Cash fed cattle were called $2 to $3 per hundredweight lower, with prices in the south at $119 and trade in the north at $121 to $122, and dressed sales at $191 to $194 per hundredweight. Trading thoughout the week was light.
Boxed beef cutout values gained throughout the week, and Choice boxed beef traded Friday at $190.27 per hundredweight, up $2.26 from the previous Friday. The Select price on Friday was $186.05 per hundredweight, an increase of $1.66 from the previous week. The Choice-Select spread was $4.22 per hundredweight, compared to $3.62 the previous week.
Stocker and feeder cattle sold steady to $3 per hundredweight lower last week. Early week prices were as much as $6 lower, with a rebound later in the week. Lower auction receipts indicate the heavy spring runs are over, though feeder cattle numbers at a handful of the nation’s largest auctions were heavy.
“Nationwide auction receipts were 16 percent lighter as marketing seasonally slows,” says USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall. “So far this year, receipts are running 4.8 percent lighter than last year and 7.8 percent lighter than the five-year average. Many producers were busy planting corn in fair weather (last week) and making huge strides, whether they were making 6-row or 36-row passes.”
Last week’s auction receipts totaled 161,800 compared to 193,400 the previous week and 172,400 last year. Direct sales of stocker and feeder cattle totaled 34,400, with video/Internet sales at 45,300. The weekly total was 241,500, compared to 269,000 last year.
Slaughter cows sold steady on tight supplies. Corn prices were steady to lower last week, with Omaha cash corn at $6.31 per bushel on Friday, 2 cents per bushel lower than the previous week.
The announcement of the fourth BSE case in the United States on Tuesday of last week caused immediate knee-jerk reaction of futures prices and some jitters among cattlemen. But the market was quick to settle down as the media generally reassured consumers of the safety of the U.S. beef supply. Foreign trade was generally unaffected by the news by week’s end.