Cash cattle trade was light all week, with prices seen mostly at $103-108. Dressed purchases moved steadily lower from $166-168.
Futures did find some momentum Thursday, but not much. Thursday trade concluded with the December contract at $107.93. The February contract settled at $111.85.
“The market can comfortably move higher for a while, until reaching resistance levels, at which point the cash cattle market and boxed beef prices would need to change their current direction in order to break through those current levels,” remarked ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, in her Thursday afternoon comments.
“It’s unlikely at this point with a considerable amount of cattle traded that feedlots will be able to push the market higher, but they may be able to keep the market from continuing scaling lower this week.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the Choice cutout was at $214.59 and the Select cutout hit under $200 at $198.47. Slaughter numbers have held steady, with a total of 474,000 head processed as of Thursday afternoon. This number is a few thousand short of the week prior, and 17,000 short of last year.
Feeder cattle futures followed the same path as live cattle, although were a little greener throughout the week. Thursday closed with the January contract at $137.60, a few dollars short from the week prior. The March contract settled at $139.25, a quarter off from the previous week.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index lost all week, settling at $137.11 on Thursday. The corn contract traded mostly sideways all week and lost some ground, but ultimately made its way back to $4.20.
Kansas: Winter Livestock in Dodge City sold 3,573 head Wednesday. Compared with the previous sale, feeder steers 500-900 lbs. sold $2-5 lower. Feeder heifers 700-900 lbs. sold $3-6 lower. Heifer calves 300-500 lbs. sold $6 higher. Heifers 500-700 lbs. sold steady. Benchmark steers averaging 789 lbs. sold for $135.83.
South Dakota: Hub City Livestock Auction in Aberdeen sold 4,655 head Wednesday. Compared to the prior sale, yearling steers 850-1,000 lbs. sold $3-5 lower. Steer calves 500-550 lbs. sold mostly steady; 551-700 lbs. sold $2-5 lower. Heifer calves 400-450 lbs. and 551-600 lbs. sold mostly steady; 501-550 lbs. sold $2-4 lower. Steers averaging 765 lbs. sold for $135.23.—Anna Miller, WLJ editor