There was a fairly active cattle trade on Thursday in most regions. Trade volume totals continued to build throughout the day, and trade volume numbers will generally look decent when everything is said and done. Live sales in the South at 128.00 are fully 2.00 higher than last week. The practical top of the Northern trade is around 206.00 to 207.00, roughly 6.00 to 7.00 higher than last week’s top. Some cattle are selling at a lower prices if extended delivery is agreed upon, 200.00 to 202.00 for delivery in the first half of May. The kill totaled 114,000 head, 4,000 more than last week, but 6,000 greater than a year ago.
Boxed beef cutout value were steady to firm on moderate demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice beef was up .54 at 210.67, select 198.76, up .12.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled .32 to 1.17 higher. The market opened lower but turned higher near midmorning thanks to reports of improved feedlot sales. Futures were supported by short covering, bull spreading interest, and the most recent confirmation that decent packer spending is not going away anytime soon. June through December contracts once again set new contract highs.
Feeder cattle contracts settled .20 to .57 higher with price action generally slower than the live market. That is the opposite of what was seen Monday through Wednesday when futures played an outstanding role of bullish leadership. Thursday’s lag could be a function of pre-holiday profit taking and the unwinding of feeder/live spreads.
Feeder cattle receipts at the St. Joseph, Missouri Stockyards totaled 3,199 head. Compared to the light run last week, steers sold 4.00 to 8.00 higher, with some spots 9.00 to 10.00 higher on comparable sales. Heifers weighing 600 to 750 pounds were 8.00 to 10.00 higher, while other weights of heifers sold 4.00 to 6.00 higher. Demand was good for several loads and strings of calves and yearlings, weighing conditions were in the buyers favor. Feeder steers Medium and large 1 averaging 728 pounds brought 146.30 per hundredweight. Feeder heifers weighing 723 pounds averaged 129.70.