Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 27, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Cash transactions were once again limited and few trends were reported this week. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $163.98 for live sales and $260 for dressed, respectively, up $2.48 and $4.72. A few dressed sales in Nebraska  and the Western Cornbelt traded at $262-$263.

Steers in Mississippi auction markets were steady to higher. Calves were up $5-$12, lightweight feeders were steady, and heavy feeders were $10-$20 higher. Heifer calves were lower, and feeders were steady to higher. Oklahoma City feeder steers and heifers were $4-$8 higher, while calves were $1-$2 higher.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures ended the week higher, with most contracts up a modest $2 compared to last Friday’s close. Live cattle futures were steady to lower during the week, but ended slightly above last Friday’s close. Feeders took a dip mid-week as corn prices were on the rise, but a sharp loss in the corn pits on Wednesday provided support. Boxed beef prices were higher this week which provided some steam for live and feeder cattle.

Corn futures were flat again this week. Next Tuesday marks the release of the planting intentions report which will surely move the market. Early guesses have U.S. corn acres in the high 80 million acre range. Also, USDA will release their quarterly Grain Stocks report.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices improved this week. Choice boxes averaged $248.92, up $2.88. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $245.76, up $1.28.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 20, 2015

Cash Cattle:

The trend of limited cash cattle trading continued this week. The five-area fed steer price (which encompasses cash and formula priced cattle) ended the week at $161 for live sales, and $255.28 for dressed; respectively, up $0.22 and down $3.81. A few dressed sales in Nebraska traded at $258-$260.

Demand for summer grazing calves continues to show up in auction markets across the U.S. Steers and heifers in Mississippi auction markets were steady to higher. Heavy weight steers and heifers were 5% to 7% higher, while lightweight calves were mostly steady. Oklahoma City feeder steers were steady to $7 higher, while feeder heifers were $1-$2 lower.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures ended the week higher, with most contracts up $5-$6 compared to last Friday’s close. Live cattle futures were higher by a slightly smaller number, with most contracts up $3-$5. Temperatures look to be on the rise and that typically provides a spark to beef demand as a result of increased grilling. Also, the value of the U.S. dollar weakened most of the week, which makes our goods less expensive overseas and that helped provide hope for beef exports. Friday afternoon’s Cattle on Feed report from USDA came in right around expectations and should not drive futures markets in either direction on Monday. For details on the report CLICK HERE.

Corn futures remained in a steady state this week. Reports are trickling in regarding the Prospective Plantings report that will come out March 31. Most reports are looking for a decrease in corn acres due to the lower price. The comparison of corn prices versus soybeans remains in-line with history so there is no clear indication for one crop over the other. For more on this week’s grain market CLICK HERE for Dr. Brian Williams’ commentary.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices mostly steady. Choice boxes averaged $246.04, down $0.55. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $244.48, down $0.64.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.

March Cattle on Feed Report Recap

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (Mar 20). The report revealed that 10.658 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on March 1, 2015. Placements into feedlots during the month of February totaled 1.523 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.516 million head.

[ … For detailed numbers and charts CLICK HERE … ]

Placements totaled 1.523 million head, a decrease of 8.1% from February 2014 and a 6.6% decrease from the five-year average of 2010 to 2014. Market analyst expected placements to come in at 1.541 million head, so the reported value was slightly lower than anticipated. Texas placements were drastically lower, down 30.5% compared to last year. Placements of cattle into Kansas feedlots were higher in February, the only major feeding state to see an increase during the month. Across the U.S., lighter placements (those under 700 pounds) were much lower, while placements of cattle over 800 pounds were 2.9% higher versus last year. The average placement weight for February cattle was 724 compared to 714 last year and an average of 713 from 2010 to 2014.

Cattle marketed in February totaled 1.516 million head, down 2.1% versus last year and down 9.9% compared to the average from 2010 to 2014. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 2.6% lower than the same period last year.

The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.658 million head, down 1.2% versus March 1, 2014 and 4.1% lower than the five-year average.  Market analysts expected a 0.4% year-over-year decrease in cattle inventories.

A break down on the numbers can be found at this link: http://goo.gl/1M4YXv

Crop Market Update: March 20, 2015

Corn is slightly lower than a week ago with Greenville cash corn selling six cents lower than a week ago at $3.95/bu on Wednesday. Nearby May futures contracts also down 14 cents on the week. Corn prices have remained relatively steady over the last several weeks, likely in an effort to buy some acres back from soybeans. The first USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report for Mississippi was released earlier this week, however the rainy conditions over the last few weeks have prevented most Mississippi producers from making it into the fields to get the corn crop in the ground.

Soybean markets have continued their trend lower, with Greenville soybeans trading 21 cents lower as of Wednesday. Nearby May soybean futures are also trading 26 cents lower than a week ago. Large carryover from last year’s crop along with expectations of increased acreage this year have largely kept the soybean market from improving, although many traders are looking forward to the USDA’s prospective planting’s report due out later this month before making any major market moves.

Wheat was trading slightly higher on the week with Greenville cash wheat trading four cents higher than a week ago. The Mississippi wheat crop was rated as 38% good or excellent condition in the latest crop progress report but the two week forecast remains dry for much of the Southern Plain’s winter wheat.

Cotton has had a strong week with cash cotton prices in the south delta trading $1.26/cwt higher on the week. A weaker dollar and strong exports on the week have helped to provide a boost to markets.

For more detail on crop futures and Mississippi local crop prices click here.

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 13, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Fed cattle traded relatively steady this week, while dressed cattle were much higher. Both continued to see limited cash activity. The five-area fed steer price (which encompasses cash and formula priced cattle) ended the week at $157.87, live, and $250.00, dressed; respectively, up $2.91 and up $9.09. Kansas cattle sold at $161. Other regions did not report enough trade.

Steers in Mississippi auction markets were higher, while heifers were mostly lower. Lightweight steers (300-400 pounds) were up about $15-$20, Heavy steers (500-700) were up about $8-$12. Oklahoma City cattle were higher but no trend was called due to the limited trade from last week.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures were ended the week mildly higher. Live cattle futures were a touch lower. Both took a hit on Friday as limited cash trading has the market uncertain of where prices will move. Feeder prices were marching higher until Thursday and Friday as supplies — fresh off a sluggish week of trading due to winter weather last week — had buyers itching to start filling pastures.

Corn futures were mostly even this week. USDA released their monthly supply and demand report on Tuesday (Mar 10). Very little was changed in the report compared to last month. For more on the report CLICK HERE for Dr. Brian Williams’ commentary.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower. Choice boxes averaged $246.59, down $2.32. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $245.12, down $0.67.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.

Few Changes Made to Balance Sheets in March WASDE

Corn disappearance was increased in the March USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), leaving ending stocks 50 million bushels lower than last month’s estimates. Feed and residual use was revised up by 50 million bushels while corn used in ethanol production was revised down by 50 million bushels. Fewer planted acres this year has caused the USDA to lower food, seed, and industrial use by 50 million bushels as well. Corn exports were increased by 50 million bushels while imports and production remained unchanged. Global ending stocks for the 2014/15 crop were lowered by 4.36 million metric tons from last month, mostly due to both lower production and increased feed use. The report would be considered slightly bullish for corn.

The soybean balance sheet remained unchanged from February’s report. The lack of changes in the latest report surprised many, given the strong export numbers that soybeans have been putting up lately. Global soybean ending stocks are up by 0.27 million metric tons with a slight decrease in crush. Overall, the report could be slightly bearish since expectations heading into the report were that ending stocks would be lower.

The new crop 2014/15 remained relatively unchanged as well. U.S. wheat ending stocks were revised down by 1 million bushels as a result of increased seed use. Wheat production estimates remained unchanged this month, as did exports, food use, and feed and residual use. Global wheat stocks were revised down by 0.14 million metric tons with most areas of the balance sheet only seeing minor revisions. The report would be considered slightly bullish for wheat since many traders were expecting an increase in ending stocks.

For more detail on crop futures and Mississippi local crop prices click here.

Cattle Market Notes: Week Ending Mar. 06, 2015

Cash Cattle:

Those fed cattle that actually traded hands were mostly steady once again this week, however very little trade developed. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $157.87, live, and $250.00, dressed; respectively, up $1.18 and down $1.37. There was too little cash trades in state/regional markets to establish more local price levels.

Steers in Mississippi auction markets were steady to lower with very light (300-400 pounds) being down about $15 and middle weight (500-650) being down about $7. Four weight steers were up $2. Heifers in Mississippi were higher, with light weights up about $5 and heavy weight heifers up almost $20. Similar to fed trade, Oklahoma City experienced very limited sales this week as a result of winter weather. Total receipts in OKC registered 1,316 compared to 4,121 last week and 2,294 the previous year.

[ … For Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]

Futures:

Feeder futures were much stronger this week and live cattle futures contracts were mildly higher.After stalling a bit on Monday, both live and feeder markets surged on Tuesday and remained strong the rest of the week. Limited trade across some regions as a result of winter weather held feeders at bay early. However, outside of these areas, prices were higher as Spring and Summer grazers began to stock-up. On the live cattle front, light cash trade until Friday kept a lid on futures, but high wholesale beef prices were encouraging. Then, on Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced yet another strong month for job growth, a net gain of 295,000 jobs in February, while a separate survey revealed that the U.S unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 5.5%. The job growth was well above the average expectation of +235,000 and unemployment was expected to be 5.6%. Both provide support for beef demand.

Corn futures slid mildly lower and soybean prices were much lower. Prices for these two crops are under the microscope as farmers nail down their planting decisions. Soybeans have been losing ground, figuratively, as its price has slid more when compared to corn price the past few weeks.

Beef:

Wholesale boxed beef prices were higher. Choice boxes averaged $248.91, up $3.63. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $245.79, up $2.30.

Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.