Weekly Livestock Comments
By Dr. Andrew P. Griffith
Listen to the comments or download the file
FED CATTLE: Fed cattle were steady compared to last week. Prices on a live basis were mainly $131 to $132 while dressed prices were $208 to $210. The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $131.89 live, down $0.77 from last week and $209.10 dressed, down $0.39 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $123.76 live and $196.00 dressed. Steady cattle prices are not necessarily a bad thing if they maintain this level for cattle feeders, and such prices are not too raw of a deal for packers if beef prices remain strong. Though beef prices have steadied, it will be interesting to see if the slow moving wintery weather stretched across the eastern half of the country slows beef movement in the people dense Northeast. It does not appear the weather has had tremendous negative repercussions on cattle in the feedlot, but cold weather can decrease feed efficiency as cattle need a larger portion of their diet to contribute to maintenance of current body weight.
BEEF CUTOUT: At midday Friday, the Choice cutout was $202.02 down $0.39 from Thursday and down $0.96 from last Friday. The Select cutout was $187.68 down $1.94 from Thursday and down $2.60 from last Friday. The Choice Select spread was $14.34 compared to $12.70 a week ago. Choice beef has traded over the $200 mark the past two weeks and has characteristically demonstrated some strength following Thanksgiving. Prices are fairly flat compared to a week ago, and it appears that beef prices may struggle to push higher at this point as hams will start to take center stage on the meat counter as retailers begin setting hams out for holiday meal purchases. Hams receive a lot of attention from consumers this time of year because many consumers serve ham as the centerpiece of Christmas dinner. However, high quality beef also receives some attention from consumers as beef is the meat protein served at many pre and post-holiday gatherings. The popularity of beef for these holiday gatherings plays a major role in the Choice Select spread which had been contra-seasonally been narrowing until last week. However, it appears consumers are starting to purchase some of the higher quality beef which has resulted in the Choice Select spread seasonally widening.
TENNESSEE AUCTIONS: On Tennessee auctions this week, feeder steers and bulls under 600 pounds were $1 to $7 lower while those over 600 pounds were $1 to $4 higher. Heifers were steady to $4 lower. Slaughter cows were $1 higher while bulls were $1 to $2 higher. Average receipts per sale were 816 head on 10 sales compared to 380 head on 5 sales last week and 825 head on 12 sales last year.
OUTLOOK: Local markets were a mixed bag compared to two weeks ago. Lighter weight calf prices have found a spot of weakness as many stocker producers in the Southeast and the Southern Plains have probably made the majority of their fall purchases already. This is not an unexpected decline in prices as it relates to calves. In actuality, calf prices remained contra seasonally strong for the majority of the fall months, and it appears we are now starting to witness a small decline in calf prices. Calf prices may struggle the next few weeks as we approach the end of the year. Prices will remain strong relative to previous years, and are likely to strengthen after the first of the year with a price surge when green grass begins to return. Feedlots continue to maintain interest in heavier feeder cattle. A number of load lots marketed this week in Tennessee demonstrate the desire feedlots have to purchase cattle ready to enter the pens. A load of 800 pound steers brought $154.25 per hundredweight which is $1,234 per head while a load of 900 pound steers sold for $151.35 per hundredweight which is a sales price of $1,362 per head. Many feedlot managers know they will not be able to fill all the pens the next couple of years, but they are willing to enter into a few bidding wars for top notch feeder cattle that grow and grade well. It is also evident that managers are paying strong prices for good animals even if they are of a lesser quality when compared to the “best.” Even though numbers are tight, few feedlot managers have interest in poor quality calves and prices are indicative of this observation. Market cows continue to defy the odds of making a seasonal price plunge. Prices for market cows have remained strong the entire fall. If prices return to their seasonal trend then market cows may be setting records in May and June of 2014, but we will have to give it some time before we see how the market moves.
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING: Based on Thursay’s closing prices, December closed at $132.73. Support is at $131.92 then $130.62. Resistance is at $133.22, then $134.52. The RSI is 45.70. February closed at $134.43. Support is at $133.35, then $131.67. Resistance is at $135.02, then $136.70. The RSI is 45.57. April closed at $133.75. Support is at $133.70, then $132.75. Resistance is at $134.90, then $134.95. The RSI is 46.69. January feeders closed at $165.05. Support is at $164.11, then $162.28. Resistance is at $165.93, then $167.76. The RSI is 47.58. March feeders closed at $165.35. Support is at $164.44, then $162.82. Resistance is at $166.07 then $167.69. The RSI is 49.36. May feeders closed at $165.90. Support is at $165.88, then $165.85. Resistance is at $167.13 then $167.25. The RSI is 50.00. Friday’s closing prices were as follows: Live/fed cattle –December $131.43 -0.23; February $132.85 -0.05; April $133.70 -0.05; Feeder cattle - January $164.48 +0.35; March $164.68 +0.25; May $166.25 +0.35; August $167.08 +0.20; December corn closed at $4.24 up $0.01 from Wednesday.
- Analysis & Comments
- Farmers Market Report
- Focus on Feedlots
- Livestock Monitor
- Market News Links
- Milk Market News
- Monthly Crop Outlook
- Tennessee Market Highlights
- Weekly Crop Comments
- Weekly Livestock Comments