Perhaps the subdued reaction by markets to last Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report—September placements 13.5% higher—serves to underscore the current fundamental strength of the market. The news pressured Cattle futures lower Monday morning, as expected, but prices regained much of the lost ground by the end of the session.
Futures prices continued to gain during the week, supported by higher wholesale beef values and the apparent front end of seasonally fewer market-ready fed cattle. Positioning and profit taking helped take prices a touch lower to end the week.
Steers and heifers sold uneven, from $3 per cwt lower to $3 higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
“Most of the lower trending markets occurred early in the week prior to the surge in the CME Cattle complex,” AMS analysts say. “Demand was moderate at best for spring calves and moderate to good for yearling cattle as they are getting harder and harder to come by this time of year. The long-weaned calves are in much more demand than the un-weaned, fleshy bawlers that will become more prevalent as the calendar moves towards Thanksgiving. However the health on short-weaned calves will get an extra boost as an Alberta Clipper is hitting the Northern Plains and Midwest late this week.
Demand for replacement heifers ran strong in some parts of the country, too. At Mobridge Livestock Exchange in South Dakota on Tuesday, for instance, a strong test of 5-weight replacement-quality heifers brought $193-$195 per cwt.
Not counting newly minted away Oct, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.00 higher week to week on Friday ($1.49 to $4.85 higher).
Listen to Wes Ishmael's Cattle Market Weekly Audio Report every Saturday morning on the BEEF magazine website. This is your report for Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017.