Cattle markets took a downward dip today, with live cattle and feeder cattle each losing support.
“As the live cattle contracts rest from their recent run of higher prices, once again the market’s eyes fall to the cash cattle market as packers hate the idea of the market trading much higher, but feedlots know they need to capitalize on this opportunity to gain some market share,” remarked ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, in her midday comments.
Live cattle contracts lost steam today, with the February contract down 55 cents to $116.45 and the April contract down 47 cents to $122.62.
Negotiated cash trade has yet to develop, with only 1,467 head trading hands. Last Wednesday, a total of 14,639 head sold. Prices today ranged from $112.75-113, and there were not enough dressed purchases for a market trend.
On the formula cattle side, a total of 12,100 head averaging 887 lbs. sold for $178.48.
The Fed Cattle Exchange listed 1,570 head today for their weekly online auction, of which 1,128 head sold. Texas sold 901 head for $112.75-113 and Oklahoma sold 227 head for $113.
Boxed beef prices continue to gain support. The Choice cutout was up 60 cents to $229.66 and the Select cutout was up $1.66 to $218.99 on 121 loads.
Today’s slaughter is estimated at 119,000 head—slightly behind last week and last year’s pace.
Feeder cattle contracts also lost support today, although likely not as a result of the March corn contract, which was down a penny to $5.34. The January contract was down 2 cents to $135.62 and the March contract down $1.40 to $140.07. The latest CME Feeder Cattle Index was down 13 cents to $134.83.
“If the cash cattle market can indeed secure higher profits this week, the momentum will help the overall morale of the feeder cattle contracts,” Stewart commented.
Colorado: Winter Livestock in La Junta sold 1,959 head Tuesday. Compared with the prior sale, steer calves under 700 lbs. sold steady to $2 higher. Heifers calves under 600 lbs. sold steady to $2 lower; six-weight calves sold $3-4 higher. Feeder steers over 700 lbs. sold $3-4 higher. Feeder heifers over 700 lbs. steady to $2 higher. Benchmark steers averaging 714 lbs. sold between $136-142, and averaged $137.81.
Kansas: Winter Livestock in Dodge City sold 869 head Wednesday. Compared to the week prior, feeder steers 600-950 lbs. sold steady. Steer calves 450-600 lbs. sold $2-4 lower. Heifer calves 450-650 lbs. sold steady. Heifers 650-775 lbs. sold $2-3 higher. Benchmark steers averaging 730 lbs. sold between $137-143, and averaged $139.80. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor