NATIONAL FEEDER & STOCKER CATTLE SUMMARY – WEEK ENDING 07/18/2014
RECEIPTS: Auctions Direct Video/Internet Total
This Week 155,500 32,300 306,100 493,900
Last Week 190,700 86,200 48,900 325,800
Last Year 168,500 66,300 212,400 447,200
Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle sold weak to 5.00 lower while calves traded 5.00-10.00 lower after moving briskly higher every week for three straight months. Auction receipts were fairly light as most of the industry was expecting lower cash markets this week, following a major selloff of CME Feeder Cattle futures last week. However, the Board showed some footing this week and the few sellers left are not overly concerned that they missed the boat. The overwhelming majority of summer and fall delivery yearlings have already been sold and many of the better fall delivery calves. Most market fundamentalists expect the record price levels to return after a minor correction. Ideal growing conditions continue to push feed/grain prices lower and most don’t expect this year’s corn crop to see 4.00/bu again. Packers tipped their short-bought hand this week by coming out and buying cattle only slightly lower on Wednesday and paying roughly an extra dollar for a two week delivery. It’s very unusual to see shrewd packers paying extra for out-front cattle in a downward market, especially when the cash trade is at a sizeable premium to the spot Live futures contract. Direct slaughter cattle in the 5 Area feeding region sold steady to 1.00 lower from 155.00-157.50, mostly 246.00-248.00 dressed. This action sent CME cattle futures sharply higher on Thursday and made cattle feeders feel good about the physical commodity directing traffic on the paper trade for a change. Cooler weather and cooler heads prevailed across cattle country this past week and, although the feeder market remains very strong, few sales reached excitable levels after the headlines from the last few weeks.
But, Western Video Market held a nice three-day 95,000 head sale based out of Reno, NV with over 70 percent of the consignments coming from areas west of the Rockies. One load of 430 lb weaned Idaho steer calves brought 367.50 for December delivery. Year-to-date beef cow slaughter through the first six months of 2014 was down 15 percent from a year ago (17 percent lower than the average of the previous five years) and the boneless beef market is doing its best to lure cows out of the pasture. It’s not uncommon for high dressing cows in the salebarns to bring near 130.00 on the hoof and heavy-muscled lean slaughter bulls are routinely selling up to and over 150.00. Despite vigorous attempts at herd rebuilding, ranchers are unlikely to give older cows another chance when they come up open at preg-checking time. Beef prices are testing consumer budgets in the stores and restaurants, but pork cut-outs reached their own all-time record high this week and most folks can’t survive on bread alone. This week’s reported auction volume included 45 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.
AUCTION RECEIPTS: 155,500 Last Week: 190,700 Last Year: 168,500