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 Friday markets

Cattle markets ended the week unable to rally after a disappointing week. However, there was a small amount of cash trade that took place from $120-124.

Live cattle futures were disappointing throughout the entire week, and Friday was no better. The April contract was down 75 cents to $120.85 and the June contract was down 47 cents to $119.17.

As ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, reflected in her midday comments, “Man, has it been a tough week!”

“After a long, gruesome week in the cattle futures, watching the contracts trade steadily lower into Friday afternoon feels like a brutal punishment and watching paint dry,” she remarked.

A small amount of cash trade was able to take place today: A total of 10,967 head sold between $120-124. Dressed steers sold between $193-195. On the formula side, 28,400 head averaging 847 lbs. sold for $194.27.

Boxed beef prices were mixed, with the Choice cutout down 57 cents to $276.05 and the Select cutout up 67 cents to $269.10 on 88 loads.

Today’s slaughter is projected at 113,000 head, a couple thousand head ahead of the same time last week. Tomorrow’s slaughter is estimated at 70,000 head, bringing the week’s projected total to 640,000 head.

Feeder cattle

Feeders suffered the same continuing disappointment as live cattle today. The April contract was down 42 cents to $139.62 and the May contract was down 70 cents to $143.72. CME’s latest Feeder Cattle Index was down 62 cents to $141.68.

“Without much incentive from the cash cattle market, and even though corn prices are trading lower heading into the afternoon, the market still must weigh the facts that inputs are high compared to their returns on cattle at this point,” Stewart commented.

The May corn contract lost about 4 cents, bringing the price down to $5.86.

Nebraska: Bassett Livestock Auction in Bassett sold 6,300 head Wednesday. Compared with two weeks ago, 500-lb. steers traded steady; 600-800-lb. steers traded $8-15 higher; 450-650-lb. heifers traded $7-15 higher. Benchmarks teers averaging 769 lbs. sold between $151-157. — Anna Miller, WLJ managing editor

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