A fairly active week for cash traded cattle this week. Live cattle in the Texas Panhandle, Kansas and Nebraska all were at $95, $1 higher in Texas and Nebraska compared to last week and $2 higher in Kansas. Dressed cattle in Kansas were $4 above last week at $151. Iowa and Minnesota trade came in at $94, live, and $150-152 dressed. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers and heifers were steady to $1 higher and calves were steady to $2 lower. Mississippi markets were $1 to $5 higher for feeders and $2 to $5 lower for cull bulls and cows.
Live cattle contracts were higher to start the week with help from higher boxed beef prices and some optimism stemming from Wall Street. Prices pulled back just a bit Thursday as stocks fell and ahead of this month’s Cold Storage and Cattle on Feed reports from USDA released Thursday and Friday, respectively (more on these below).
Feeder cattle were higher throughout the week getting support from higher live cattle prices and a sell-off in the corn market.
Corn was under pressure from the weather early in the week as rains fell across much of the Corn Belt. When wheat began to rally mid-week corn followed suit but the increases were short lived as weather and economic pressure continued to mount.
Wholesale beef prices inched higher early in the week despite typical seasonal pressure. Stocks moved higher each day excluding Thursday which bode well for expected demand but support primarily came from growing exports which were reported to be 26% higher during the first half of 2010 compared to January thru June 2009. After peaking at $155.52 for Choice beef on Wednesday prices slid $0.86 and posted a weekly average price of $154.94.
Cattle on Feed:
For the second straight month the number of cattle on feed grew compared to the previous year. Cattle on feed July 1 totaled 10.07 million head, up 3.3% from last year and exactly in-line with the average of pre-report estimates. The higher on feed number is likely the result of a surge of cattle placed during May. Cattle placed on feed during June were expected to be up 20.3%, but came in a tad lower at 17% above 2009, or 1.63 million head. (Keep in mind placements during this time period last year were quite low.) Cattle marketed during June totaled just under 2 million head, up 0.4%, which was less than expected. Cattle on feed in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas (the states with the bulk of the cattle) saw a jump of 5%, 4% and 4%, respectively from the previous year.