The livestock contracts traded mixed today, although live cattle contracts found themselves lower while feeder cattle contracts caught a break.
Cash cattle trade finally found some momentum today, with 31,331 head sold. Steers traded between $106-110 and averaged $109.88. Dressed steers were priced between $171-173 and averaged $172.64. A total of 18,400 head of formula cattle averaging 904 lbs. sold for an average of $180.67.
The Fed Cattle Exchange hosted their weekly online auction and listed 1,532 head for sale. Of that, 580 head sold from $109-111.
Live cattle contracts took a dip today, with the February contract down 22 cents to $112.25 and the April contract down 17 cents to $117.47.
“It would help the cash cattle market if the futures market could find some support and close modestly higher,” remarked DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart in her midday comments.
Boxed beef prices were higher today, with the Choice cutout up $1.86 to $211 and the Select cutout was up 97 cents higher to $199.06 on 143 loads.
“It's positive to again see boxed beef prices higher, but packers know that the first quarter can be a hard time for them to earn the lofty profits they're used to, and they've taken a hard stance on this week's cash cattle trade,” Stewart said.
Slaughter for the day is projected at 118,000 head. USDA revised yesterday’s slaughter estimate for the second day in a row, knocking it down to 115,000 head.
“The feeder cattle contracts have finally found some support after sinking lower all throughout the earlier part of the week,” Stewart said.
Although the corn contract did increase another 7 cents to $5.24 after skyrocketing 25 cents yesterday, both nearby feeder cattle contracts were higher. The January contract was up 35 cents to $133.57 and the March contract was up 35 cents to $134.50.
Colorado: Winter Livestock in La Junta sold 7,452 head yesterday. Compared with the prior Tuesday: Steer calves under 500 lbs. sold steady with instances of $9 higher on 400-450 lbs; five-weights sold $5-8 lower; six-weights sold $2-4 lower; seven-weights sold $3-5 lower; and over 800 lbs. sold $1-2 lower. Heifer calves under 400 lbs. sold $3-5 higher; 400-700 lbs. sold $2-5 lower, except 500-600 lbs. sold $5-8 lower; and over 700 lbs. sold mostly steady. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor