Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle traded firm to 5.00 higher with instances 6.00-8.00 higher. Direct sales were very active this week and posted the full advance on feeder cattle. Steer and heifer calves sold mostly steady to 5.00 higher. Buyers flexed their muscle in pursuing all classes of feeder cattle this week.
By Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri
Retail beef prices were record high for the third consecutive month during February. The price of fresh beef in grocery stores averaged $6.028 per pound. That was 4.1 cents higher than the month before and 75.7 cents higher than in February 2014. Choice beef at retail averaged $6.27 per pound.
Corn traders may have squared positions before the weekend. After exhibiting considerable strength over the previous week, corn futures declined Thursday and continued sliding today. There was little fresh news, and the financial markets essentially stalled. Thus, today’s corn slippage probably resulted traders and funds squaring positions before the weekend and next Tuesday’s important USDA reports. May corn futures slipped 0.25 cent to $3.91/bushel at Friday’s CBOT settlement, while December stalled at $4.1475.
Outside of New England, prices at most locations remain flat with warmer temperatures. Natural gas prices at most trading locations remained at or near their report week start point, Wednesday to Wednesday, as seasonal temperatures held through the week. With the exception of New England, most locations stayed within 10¢ of their price last Wednesday through the report week. The Henry Hub spot price last Wednesday was $2.77/MMBtu and gained 5¢ through Friday, before dropping to end the week at $2.74/MMBtu.
Boxed beef is seeing a decline across the board on Friday. Choice boxed beef prices are down 53 cents on Friday, leaving the price at $250.43. Similarly, select boxed beef hit $246.62 on Friday from $247.26 on Thursday, a 64 cent decline. This left the 27-day average price at $244.65.