Cattle markets finally found some support today. A total of 17,844 head of cash cattle traded today, compared to the measly numbers earlier in the week. However, prices are still disappointing, ranging from $102-105. Dressed purchases traded from $165-168.
On the formula cattle side, 12,600 head averaging 885 lbs. sold for $179.82.
Live cattle futures contracts gained some support today, with the December contract up 18 cents to $108.78 and the February contract up 90 cents to $113.78.
“The futures market’s support comes at a pivotal time as cash cattle trade is really starting to test the week. For those feedlots who sold earlier in the week for $3 to $5 lower, they look at Wednesday’s board and wonder if they pulled the trigger too soon,” commented DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart in her midday comments.
Boxed beef prices are slightly lower today, with the Choice cutout down $1.60 to $207.22 and the Select cutout down 11 cents to $192.09 on 143 loads. Projected slaughter for the day is at 120,000 head, on trend with last week but slightly behind last year.
“It didn’t look like the support was going to come through earlier Wednesday morning as traders were quiet and the complex was left with few other options but to trade lower,” Stewart noted. “But as the market has progressed through the day, traders have stepped up and are willing to reinvest in the cattle contracts.”
The January feeder cattle contract was up 75 cents to $140.85 and the March contract was up $1.08 to $141.98. The latest CME Feeder Cattle Index was down 5 cents to $136.64. The corn contract has bounced back up again, settling at $4.27, an increase of two-and-a-half cents from yesterday.
Winter Livestock in La Junta, CO, sold 3,322 head yesterday. Compared with last Tuesday: All weights of steer calves under 700 lbs. sold mostly steady except for 450-500 lbs. sold $2 lower. Heifer calves under 600 lbs. sold mostly steady, with instances of $5 higher on 450-500 lbs.; and 600-700 lbs. sold $2-3 lower. Feeder steers over 700 lbs. sold steady to $1 higher. Feeder heifers over 700 lbs. sold $2-3 lower. Benchmark steers averaging 786 lbs. sold between $133.50-142.75, and averaged $136.68
Bassett Livestock Auction in Bassett, NE, sold 2,185 head today. Compared with last week, 500-700-lb. steers traded unevenly steady and there were no comparable offerings for heifers. Demand was good with several buyers and high internet bidding. Benchmark steers averaging 711 lbs. sold between $148.75-155.25, and averaged $154.72.
Winter Livestock in Dodge City, KS, sold 1,337 head today. Compared to last week, feeder steers 400-950 lbs. sold steady to $3 higher. Feeder heifers 700-950 lbs. sold $4 higher. Heifer calves 400-700 lbs. sold $4 lower. Benchmark steers averaging 733 lbs. sold between $131.50-141.75, and averaged $138.74. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor