Cash fed cattle prices traded at $125 per cwt., $4 to $5 higher than the previous week. Cattle sold on a dressed basis at $195 to $197 per cwt, $5 to $7 higher. The Choice beef cutout price quoted Friday was $198.96 per cwt., $8 higher than the previous Friday. The Choice/Select spread was $3.48. The rally fuels a rumor mill that feedyards will ask $130 next week.
It could have been an “all-skate” Friday, except CME futures prices were mostly lower, with February the only contract recording gains.
Friday also delivered USDA’s Cattle on Feed report at 101% of year ago totals. January placements were 11% higher than a year ago, though analysts note the 2016 placement number was historically light, the fifth smallest since 1996. January marketings were 10% higher than in 2016.
The cattle rally extended to auction markets across the country where steers and heifers traded steady to $4 per cwt. higher, and instances of $6 to $10 higher. Agricultural Marketing Service reporters said, “Active trading this week in the major marketing areas as the feeder cattle market continues to rally” and follow the fed cattle market.
“Demand remains good for calves and stocker cattle weighing 500-700 lbs, with the best demand for those that are long time weaned and good weighing conditions,” AMS reporters said.
USDA’s National Cutter Cow Carcass cutout value on Friday was $165.08, up $0.41 from the previous week.