Compared to last week, feeder cattle and calves sold steady to mostly 5.00 lower to start the week, after cattle futures last Friday declined sharply with near limit losses on the feeder cattle contracts. Market watchers were also disappointed by limited cash trade and lower prices paid on fed cattle as weekly slaughter was very light at 502,000 head. Momentum redeveloped across the live and feeder cattle futures to start the week and gained ground until this Friday’s collapse.
By Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri
The average price of fresh beef in grocery stores was a record $6.079 per pound during March. That was up 6.2 cents from the previous record set the month before.
Retail prices for choice beef averaged $6.282 per pound during March. That was up 1.2 cents from February, up 56.2 cents compared to March 2014, but 5.1 cents below the record set in January. Ground beef prices averaged $4.20 per pound in March, down 3.8 cents from the month before.
Rainy weather may have affected corn futures. The corn market seemingly had few reasons to rally Friday, especially with the stock market diving and the U.S. dollar rebounding. The yellow grain may simply have reacted to firm soy and wheat quotes, but one also has to wonder if the early strength reflected ongoing planting delays and forecasts for wet, cool weather into early May. May corn futures rose 3.5 cents to $3.7975/bushel in late Friday action, while December added 3.0 to $4.0325.
By John Michael Riley, Mississippi State University
The United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) recently released two highly anticipated reports for the crop sector one week ago, on Tuesday, March 31. The first was the annual Prospective Plantings report, which highlights crop producer's intentions on acreage allocations. The second was the quarterly Grain Stocks report.