Cattle Quick Thoughts
The February meat exports report was released this week by USDA. Overall, the trend of strong export numbers continued. Total beef exports in February 2017 were 9 percent higher than February 2016. The value of U.S. beef exports totaled about $505 million, 16 percent higher than the same period last year. The U.S. Meat Export Federation estimated that the value of exports per head of fed cattle to be $278, up 16 percent from last year. Year to date 2017, beef exports are 13 percent higher in volume and 17 percent higher in volume than a year ago. February exports accounted for about 13 percent of total beef production, similar to a year ago.
Cash traded fed cattle were down $6.17 to an average of $121.71 for live sales. Dressed steers were down $7.97 to an average of $197.37. Fed cattle trade volume was just over 17,000 head.
Mississippi feeder steers weighing 450-500 pounds were down $4 this week to average $150.50 while 750-800 pound steers were down $3 at $119.50. Average feeder prices in Oklahoma City for 500-550 pound steers were up $5.56 to $165.56 while OKC 750-800 pound steers were down $1.58 from last week to $135.38.
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Cattle futures prices were mostly steady to slightly higher this week. April live cattle were up 8 cents to $120 while June live cattle were up 90 cents to $111.78. April feeder cattle were down 10 cents to $133.65 while May feeder futures were up $1.40 on the week to $132.80. Corn futures prices were down this week with May and July futures each down a nickel to $3.59 and $3.67, respectively.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower this week. Choice boxes averaged $209.99, down $7.16 from a week ago. Select boxes ended the week at an average of $200, down $9.79 from last week. The choice-select spread was $9.99, up $2.63 from 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.