Fed cattle take another hit; feeders, calves drift lower

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Cash fed cattle traded $3 lower last week at $116 per hundredweight. With most cattle coming to market carrying breakevens near $135 per hundredweight, losses are substantial. In what was described as a thin dressed trade in the north, prices were $188 to $190 per hundredweight, $2 to $3 lower than the previous week.

Boxed beef cutout values declined modestly to $196.63, which is $1.37 per hundredweight lower than the previous week. Select boxed beef traded at $180.09, down $1.02 from the previous week. The Choice-Select spread narrowed to $16.54 per hundredweight.

Yearling feeder cattle traded $2 to $4 per hundredweight lower and calves sold $3 to $7 lower. Stocker and feeder cattle continue to come under pressure from dry weather and lack of forage resources.

USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall noted the weather’s impact on the cattle industry. “Perhaps this year’s drought is not getting near the publicity of the record dry spell across the Southwest a year ago. But, the lack of rain is currently much more wide spread and includes some of the country’s most productive farm land. Out west and in the mountain states, producers are being forced to early-wean calves and sell-off a dramatic percentage of their cow herd.”

Wall reported record receipts at the Torrington, WY, Livestock Market for this time of year, a high percentage of which have been sales of cow-calf pairs. He says the market is already holding weekly feeder special sales, an activity that normally doesn’t start until September.

Last week’s auction receipts totaled 153,300, compared to 164,800 the previous week and 189,200 last year. Direct sales of stocker and feeder cattle totaled 23,000 with video/Internet sales at 34,100. The weekly total was 210,400, compared to 294,400 last year.

Slaughter cows and bulls were called stead. Cash corn prices declined 19 cents per bushel during the week, with Omaha closing at $6.23 per bushel on Friday.

Friday’s cattle-on-feed report was viewed as bearish by traders. The June 1 inventories were 101.7 per cent of a year ago at 11.1 million head. Placements during May were reported at 2.1 million head, 15 percent higher than a year ago. Marketings were counted at just above 2 million head, 0.6 percent above last year.



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