“Maybe the old-time saying of, ‘high corn, high cattle,’ hit in a nerve in the cattle contracts Tuesday morning and has since led both the live cattle and feeder cattle contracts higher,” ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, began in her midday comments today.
Live cattle contracts were able to recover what they lost yesterday, with the February contract up $2.75 to $115 and the April contract up $2.85 to $119.10.
Cash cattle trade has still been light, with only 166 head selling today—not enough trades to set a market trend. Dressed steers sold for $175. A smaller volume of formula cattle sold today, with 13,400 head averaging 870 lbs. priced at $176.05.
“With so many feedlots growing and raising corn, it would really be advantageous for feedlots to see both markets scale higher, but not just the corn market, and cattle prices have a lot of catching up to do if that’s going to be achieved,” Stewart remarked.
Boxed beef prices were mixed today: The Choice cutout lost 8 cents to $209.87 and the Select cutout dropped 88 cents to $196.53. Today’s slaughter is projected at 118,000 head, a few thousand head above last week, but several thousand head down from last year. Yesterday’s slaughter was revised to 112,000 head from 115,000 head.
“As this week is expecting a large movement of feeder cattle throughout sales, sellers are praying that the market’s surge in confidence continues and consequently trickles into the countryside,” Stewart said.
The corn contract has reached nearly $5 a bushel, and likely will by tomorrow afternoon if it continues its trend of gaining nearly 10 cents a day. The March contract closed today at $4.93. Feeder cattle contracts stayed green, gaining back a dollar and a half from yesterday’s losses of more than $4. The January contract closed $1.72 higher to $136.67 and the March contract closed $1.40 higher at $137.42. The latest CME Feeder Cattle Index was reported yesterday at $136.55.
Iowa: Russell Livestock in Russell sold 4,679 head Monday. Compared to two weeks prior, steers under 700 lbs. were mostly $2.50-5 higher. Heifers 400-500 lbs. were $3-5 lower while the 500-600-lb. heifers were $3-7 higher. Benchmark steers averaging 726 lbs. sold between $132.75-145.75, averaging $140.62.
New Mexico: Roswell Livestock Auction in Roswell sold 1,257 head Monday. Compared to the last sale: Feeder steers and calves under 700 lbs. sold $1-3 lower except 300-450 lbs. sold $3 higher. Feeders over 700 lbs. sold $3 higher. Heifer calves under 600 lbs. sold $1-2 lower, except 300-400 lbs. sold $3 higher. Over 600 lbs. sold steady, except a few 700-750 lbs. sold $4 higher. A small group of steers averaging 777 lbs. sold between $120.50-125.50, averaging $122.13. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor