Cattle markets continued under pressure from a variety of directions this week, including worries about international trade, surging late-week grain prices and, of course, the looming increase in fed cattle supplies.
Feeder steers and heifers sold $1-$5 per cwt lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Prices for lighter calves were as much as $8 lower in the Southeast.
“Feeder buyers have been more willing to dip down and procure smaller packages of top quality cattle as the numbers at auctions are sure to dwindle in the coming months,” AMS analysts say. “Demand was moderate to good at most auctions this week, with calves suitable for grass having the best demand.”
Other than $1.92 lower in expiring March, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $4.40 lower week to week on Thursday. That’s an average of about $11 lower over the last three weeks.
Cattle feeders sell more ahead
Negotiated cash fed cattle prices dropped hard. Live prices were $5 lower in the Southern Plains at $121 per cwt; $3-$4 lower in Nebraska at $120-$122. Dressed trade ended in Nebraska at $190, which was $10-$13 less than the previous week.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $4.62 lower through the front five contracts week to week on Thursday and then an average of $2.42 lower. AMS analysts point out the June contract closed the week at the lowest level since late April of last year.
Listen to Wes Ishmael's Cattle Market Weekly Audio Report every Saturday morning on the BEEF magazine website. This is your report for Saturday, Mar. 31, 2018.