The fed cattle market was steady to
instances of $1 lower this week. In the
South cattle traded hands at $128, while
sales in the North were collected at $203
to tops of $204. Boxed beef values were
sharply higher this week, fueled by light
production over the last couple of weeks
due to the recent storms, as well as a
start to spring grilling demand. Feeder
cattle prices were quoted steady to $2
higher, while calves were steady to $5
firmer. Slaughter cows were even to $4
higher. Light supplies and the higher fed
cattle market a week ago helped firm
feeder cattle prices. Recent moisture in
the Central Plains increased interest for
lighter weight cattle as turnout nears. Corn
prices were lower on the week as demand
Bred Cow Update
It is calving season for the majority of the industry so activity is light at best. Domestic beef cow slaughter continues to slow relative to a year ago, which is not bad news. Recent bull sales have been robust - a good foreshadow if moisture cooperates. Moreover, some winter moisture is certainly not bad news; however, more moisture is needed for female values to outperform feeder cattle and fed cattle values.
If Mother Nature cooperates, females are likely to be $300+/head higher than they are today following calving season.
Unfortunately the fed cattle and cull cow markets have clearly been underperforming futures market expectations. Values are expected to remain above year-ago levels, but without moisture disappointment can be expected.