Cash traded fed cattle down this week. The five-area fed steer price for the week of April 14-21 averaged $125.58 for live sales, and $205.46 for dressed; respectively, down $8.39 and $8.87. Total volume sold was up 39,000 head from a week ago and up 43,000 head from last year.
Feeder steer cattle and calves were lower across the U.S. this week. Oklahoma City feeder cattle were $10.00 lower for lightweights and $10.00 to $11.00 lower for heavier cattle. Mississippi pasture conditions are relatively good this spring with 70% rated good or excellent, unchanged from a week ago. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were down $17.50 from a week ago, averaging $162.50, while heavy steers were averaging $129.00, down $8.50 from last week.
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Live cattle futures and feeder futures were lower this week. June live cattle were down $7.58 on the week and $36.73 lower than a year ago at $114.45, while August live cattle were down $6.55 from last week and down $38.15 from a year ago. Feeder cattle were also lower this week with May futures down $8.25 from last Friday and down $71.68 from a year ago at $154.80 while August futures are down $9.42 on the week. Nearby corn futures are down $0.06 from a week ago at $3.71 while September futures are down $0.07.
Wholesale boxed beef prices are higher compared to a week ago. Choice boxes averaged $222.27, up $0.76 from a week ago and $36.93 lower than a year ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $213.27, up $1.31 from last week. The choice-select spread narrowed from $9.55 a week ago to $9.00 this week.
April Cattle on Feed
The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (April 22, 2016). The report revealed that 10.853 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on April 1, 2016, up 0.52% from a year ago. Placements into feedlots during the month of March totaled 1.892 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.747 million head, up 4.59% and 7.11% from a year ago, respectively. All numbers were well within the range of analysts’ expectations.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel, unless stated otherwise.