Cash cattle trade ended on a much better note last Wednesday after a grim start to the week.
“Feedlots have seen their Christmas wishes come true as the cash cattle market jumps $2 higher in the South while the North has yet to test this week’s market,” remarked ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, in her Wednesday midday market comments.
Negotiated cash trade traded between $105-110 and dressed purchases sold from $168-172. Formula cattle traded consistently in the mid $170s. Stewart noted the next week’s trade is anticipated to be sizable.
“It's been helpful that Wednesday’s futures complex has traded higher and continues to do so rolling into the afternoon.”
There was finally a little more green on the futures board, after trading mostly sideways Monday and Tuesday. The December contract closed on a higher note at $111.93. The February contract settled at $114.72.
The Fed Cattle Exchange was able to sell cattle today, after several incidences of technical difficulties. Out of 803 offered head, 545 head sold for $110, “which has feedlots grinning from ear to ear as the market should be able to trade fully higher, especially considering that the board is trading positively,” commented Stewart.
Slaughter for the shortened holiday week was estimated at 354,000 head as of Wednesday.
Boxed beef prices have traded mostly sideways in their seasonal downtrend, with the Choice cutout closing at $207.54 and the Select cutout at $197.93.
“The market has had phenomenal technical support over the last month and really has blazed a path for strong fundamental support to carry feeder cattle prices higher throughout the countryside,” Stewart said.
Feeder cattle contracts were trading in the $140s all week, and the January contract closed at $140.27 and the March contract at $142.22. The CME Feeder Cattle Index was up, settling at $139.99.
Corn prices continue to surge, and the March contract settled at $4.47 Wednesday afternoon—an increase of nearly 10 cents from the week prior. Next year’s feed prices are looking grim for livestock producers.
Most auction markets already wrapped up their year and only a handful of markets had sales last week. A snowstorm was expected to roll across the Great Plains Christmas weekend, making travel difficult.
Tri-State Livestock Auction in McCook, NE, sold 1,775 head this week. Compared to the week prior, steers were steady to $6 higher. Heifers were mostly steady. Demand was good, on a nice selection offered. Steers averaging 773 lbs. sold between $148-148.75, averaging $148.46.
WLJ will be enjoying the Christmas holiday on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so happy holidays to you and yours! — Anna Miller, WLJ editor