“An absence of much volume Wednesday—especially an absence of willing buyers—has allowed livestock contracts to chop lower through the early part of the trading session, giving back much of the gains made previously in the week,” reported Elaine Kub, DTN contributing analyst.
However, a higher volume of cash cattle traded today compared to the earlier part of the week, with a total of 28,586 head trading hands between $106-111, averaging $109.63. Dressed prices moved between $168-172. A total of 16,800 formula cattle sold, averaging $176.33.
The Fed Cattle Exchange offered 930 head today in their weekly online sale, with 543 head selling at $110.25.
“The cash cattle market continues to give hints that a steady tone in line with last week’s numbers (mostly $172 dressed in the North and mostly $110 live in South) could be the path taken later this week when most cash trade will take place,” Kub said.
Live cattle futures have traded mostly sideways this week with the December contract down 60 cents to $110.65 and the February contract down 37 cents to $113.15.
Slaughter for the day is projected at 119,000 head, a few thousand head higher than last week, likely in preparation of the short kill week next week. Boxed beef prices are mixed, with the Choice cutout up $2.12 to $235.84 and the Select cutout down 34 cents to $213.62 on 142 loads.
“Choppy price movement amid light trade has allowed feeder cattle futures to slip continually lower through the Wednesday session, giving back all of Tuesday’s gains,” remarked Kub.
The November contract was down 35 cents to $137.03, while the deferred contracts were down over $2 to $127.30 and $136.90, respectively. The December corn contract was down 5 cents to $4.25 and the latest CME Feeder Cattle Index was down 17 cents to $137.38.
Roswell Livestock Auction in Roswell, NM, sold 2,681 head yesterday. Compared to last week, steer calves 300-400 lbs. sold $3-8 lower; 400-600 lbs. sold $2-9 higher, with the most advance on 550-600 lbs. Steers over 600 lbs. sold $5 higher on comparable quotes. Heifers under 500 lbs. sold unevenly steady; over 500 lbs. sold $2-6 higher on comparable quotes. A small group of benchmark steers averaging 737 lbs. sold for $129.
Winter Livestock in La Junta, CO, sold 1,134 head yesterday. Compared with last Tuesday, steer and heifer calves sold mostly steady. Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady. Demand was moderate to good. Benchmark steers averaging 678 lbs. sold between $129-132.50, averaging $130.51. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor