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Cattle Outlook: Cattle slaughter up this week

USDA's April cattle on feed report said the number of steers on feed was up 5.4% at the start of April while the number of heifers in large feedlots was down 10.1%. That gap of 15.5 points is the largest since October 2005. The number of heifers on feed, 3.342 million, was only 44.8% of the number of steers on feed, 7.455 million. This is the first time the heifer/steer ratio has been under 50% since USDA started this data series in 2001. Both percentages are obvious indications of aggressive heifer retention and upcoming herd growth.

Markets

Soy complex turns lower Friday afternoon

Fine planting weather depressed corn futures again Friday. One might blame a portion of Friday’s corn weakness on the rebounding U.S. dollar, but resurgent equity indexes seemingly made that less likely. It’s much more probable that forecasts continually pointing to conditions conducive to rapid corn planting and a good emergence during early May undercut the crop markets. July corn futures dropped 3.25 cents to $3.63/bushel at Friday’s close, while December lost 3.25 to $3.8025.

Markets

Wheat futures under pressure Friday at midday

Fine planting weather is still depressing corn futures. One might blame a portion of Friday’s early corn weakness on the rebounding U.S. dollar, but resurgent equity indexes seemingly make that less likely. It’s much more probable that forecasts continue pointing to conditions conducive to rapid corn planting and a good emergence during early May. July corn futures dropped 4.75 cents to $3.615/bushel around midsession Friday, while December lost 5.0 to $3.785.

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