Cattle Quick Thoughts
This week marked the fourth consecutive weekly increase in choice wholesale boxed beef prices. In total, choice boxed beef averaged $32.63 higher in the week ending March 17th than in the week of February 17th. The fact that boxed beef prices have increased is not necessarily surprising – prices followed a similar trend during this time last year (click HERE to see this in a chart). However, what is different this year is the magnitude of the rally and that it has occurred with larger beef production. The four consecutive weekly price increases from February 19th to March 18th in 2016 saw the average choice boxed beef price go up a total of $17.93. Also, average weekly beef production is 33 million pounds (7 percent) higher over the past four weeks of 2017 as compared to the same weeks in 2016. These are good signs for the current state of beef demand and welcome news for cattle prices.
Cash traded fed cattle were up $3.50 to an average of $128.75 for live sales while dressed steers were up $6.46 to an average of $208.03. Fed cattle trade volume was about the same as last week at just under 105,000 head.
Mississippi feeder steers weighing 450-500 pounds were up $3.50 to $157.50 while 750-800 pound steers were down $4.50 to $116.50. Average feeder prices in Oklahoma City for 500-550 pound steers were down $5.16 to $152.68 while OKC 750-800 pound steers were up $1.89 over last week to $129.95.
[ … For more in depth Livestock Prices and Production data and trends CLICK HERE … ]
Futures prices again finished the week higher across the board. April live cattle were up $1.45 over last week to $119 while June live cattle were up $1.78 to $109.38. Feeder cattle futures showed even more impressive gains. March feeder cattle were up $3.65 from last Friday to $131.20 while April feeder futures increased $4.70 on the week to $131.50. Corn futures prices were up slightly this week with May and July futures each up 3 cents to $3.67 and $3.75, respectively.
Wholesale boxed beef prices continued to rally this week. Choice boxes averaged $221.56, up $7.44 from a week ago. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $213.54, an increase of $6.28 from last week. The choice-select spread increased to $8.02, up $1.16 over last week.
Note: all cattle and beef prices are quoted in dollars per hundredweight and corn prices are quoted in dollars per bushel unless stated otherwise.