Calf and feeder cattle prices softened this week, pressured in part by wintry, wet and muddy conditions across wide swaths of the nation that limited livestock movement and demand.
“Some areas of Missouri received 8-10 inches of rain,” explained analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). “Travel conditions were poor in Nebraska and South Dakota after rain and snow in some areas left backcountry roads impassable. Significant flooding has occurred in the Midwest. The swollen Mississippi River north of St. Louis is making grain shipments difficult, as well. There were limited receipts from the Carolinas and Florida due to Hurricane Michael.”
Steers and heifers sold $1-$5 per cwt lower nationwide, except for weak to $2 higher in the North Central Plains, according to AMS.
Moreover, Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee, says in his weekly market comments, “As expected, lightweight calf prices are slowly declining as the market moves through the month of October. However, prices are not declining as rapidly as is the seasonal tendency.”
Cattle futures moved lower much of the week, amid technical correction, sharply lower outside markets—tied to investor fears about rising interest rates—and plenty of wonderment about near-term direction. Firming grain prices at the end of the week added more pressure to Feeder Cattle futures.
Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of $3.94 lower ($3.07 to $4.62 lower).
Seasonally speaking, negotiated cash fed cattle and wholesale beef prices should be on the cusp of climbing higher. In the meantime, fed cattle prices continued to putter along the well-worn, mostly steady track of recent week.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mainly steady to weak with live sales at $111 per cwt in the Northern and Southern Plains; mostly $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $108. Dressed sales were $1 lower at $174.
Week to week on Friday, Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.66 lower ($1.25 to $2.12 lower).
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. 13, 2018.