Cattle markets, end of holiday week

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were narrowly mixed on spread trade and general consolidation. It was a pretty quiet, low volume end to the holiday week. August was down $.17 at $114.77 and October was $.05 lower at $113.82.

Feeder cattle were mixed, also on spread trade and general consolidation activity in low trade volume. August was up $.40 at $145.02 and September was $.25 higher at $145.02.

Direct cash cattle markets were quiet Friday after Thursday’s mostly moderate business. Trade was down mostly $2 from last week, primarily at $117 to $118 on the live basis in the South and $188 to $189 dressed in the North. Friday’s trade was limited to clean-up in Nebraska at $188 on the dressed basis. Packer margins are still good, but not as good as in previous weeks following the drop in the wholesale market. Given the moderate activity, it looks like at least a few cattle will be pulled into next week. Both sides are watching weather and what should be a hot, dry period in the U.S. Plains.

At the Valentine Livestock Auction feeder sale in Nebraska Thursday, compared to the last test two weeks ago, steers were unevenly steady with no comparable test for heifers. The USDA says demand was good and feeders made up the entire offering. 87% of the supply were steers and almost 91% of the run weighed more than 600 pounds. 730 to 800 pound feeder steers sold at $164.50 to $174.50 and 810 to 900 pounds ranged from $144 to $170. A group of feeder heifers averaging 514 pounds brought $185 and a group averaging 660 pounds was reported at $157.50 to $157.75.

Source: Brownfield