Compared to last week, the bulk of the steer and heifer calves traded 5.00- 10.00 lower with instances 15.00 lower; then on Wednesday the futures rebounded many calves throughout the trade area turned steady to 5.00 lower. On a light test yearlings traded steady to 5.00 lower, instances 10.00 lower for the week. Direct trade was mostly 4.00-11.00 lower.
Last Friday’s cattle futures ended the week with a crash and then tanked again on Monday pressuring feeder cattle markets. Tuesday saw a rebound in the cattle futures but failed to inspire much confidence in the markets as over the last couple of weeks limit moves up and down (with more down) are taking a toll on cattle feeders and producers. Regaining market position when the market has lost so much ground will take significant buying support.
Cattle futures turned green on Wednesday with sharp triple-digit gains seem to inspire some confidence in the market as many auctions reported a recovery and increasing demand, hopefully to build on and not some elusive mirage. It seems volatility has become commonplace in the cattle complex as market behaviors look for explanations trying to find some balance if it exists. Market psychology keeps focus on bearish fundamentals with heavy slaughter weights, plentiful supplies and lower prices for competing meats, struggling outside markets and lower meat exports keeps the focus on trading the current market.
The fat cattle market continues to offer little or no support for the feeder cattle and those purchasing feeder cattle to feed out continue to see break evens fall apart. Corn harvest is winding down across the country with 96 percent completed and should cause many farmer/feeders to enter the market to buy calves. Over the last several weeks there has been many high quality calves offered throughout the Northern and Southern Plains with many light calves suitable to head south to the wheat fields to graze or to graze as yearlings next year. The market remains most active for long time weaned calves with vaccination programs along with reputation strings of ranch calves coming to auctions.
Boxed-beef values continue to see retail interest tied up in turkeys and ham as retail beef prices remain in choppy waters and trending lower this week. Hopefully retailers will start featuring beef after the turkeys clear out and will see improving beef retail sales and cutout values.
Choice boxed-beef closed on Friday 1.69 lower at 203.14 compared to last Friday’s close at 209.30. Cattle on Feed Report was released Friday afternoon with all categories coming within trade expectations.
Cattle on feed came in at 102 percent, Placements at 96 percent and Marketings at 97 percent with Marketings the lowest total since the series began in 1996. Auction volume included 37 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 38 percent heifers.