The cattle market complex continued to dance on either side of the market, with most impacts a result of the ever-growing price of corn. The cash cattle market remained quiet.
The February contract settled at $112.07 and the April contract at $117.22.
Cash cattle asking prices hovered around the $106-110 mark, although some cattle in the South sold for $112. Dressed cattle prices ranged from $171-173.
“Even with boxed beef prices being higher, the cash market sits idly as packers are reluctant to spark too much interest in the cash market,” remarked ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, in her Thursday comments. “With the trade that’s developed over the last two days, it’s appearing that the week’s cash trade could be essentially over other than a little clean up business here and there.”
Boxed beef prices traded higher, with the Choice cutout closing Thursday at $213.37 and the Select cutout at $201.07.
Through Thursday, a total of 469,000 head had been processed, on trend with the week prior, but 20,000 head behind the same time last year.
As of Thursday afternoon, the March corn contract was sitting at $5.34. In response, feeder cattle contracts have traded back and forth, but mostly sideways. The January contract closed at $132.60 and the March contract at $133.37. Thursday’s CME Feeder Cattle Index was reported at $135.49.
“Feeders continue to count their blessings and are thankful that the demand in the countryside has been as strong as it has, but with buyers having restocked a lot of their empty pens many are worried about the weeks to come with corn prices showing no intentions of retracting,” Stewart commented.
Kansas: Winter Livestock in Dodge City sold 4,283 head Wednesday. Compared to the last sale, feeder steers 400-950 lbs. sold $2-6 lower. Heifer calves 400-500 lbs. sold $1-2 higher. Feeder heifers 500-950 lbs. sold $3-7 lower. Benchmark steers averaging 729 lbs. sold between $132-140, and averaged $136.29.
Nebraska: Bassett Livestock Auction in Bassett sold 3,780 head Wednesday. Compared with the prior week, steers 500-700 lbs. traded steady to $12 lower and heifer offerings traded unevenly steady. Benchmark steers averaging 732 lbs. sold for $139-149, and averaged $144.41.
Wyoming: Torrington Livestock in Torrington, WY, sold 8,459 head Wednesday. Compared to the last sale, yearling steers and heifers traded unevenly steady. Steer calves under 650 lbs. traded $4-7 higher. Steer calves over 650 lbs. traded unevenly steady. Heifer calves under 500 lbs. traded
$3-8 higher. Heifer calves over 500 lbs. traded unevenly steady. Benchmark steers averaging 717 lbs. sold between $140-148.25, and averaged $145.09. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor