Markets continued on mostly solid footing, although the sudden and steep drop in cattle futures at midweek added to wariness of increasing cattle and beef supplies.
Calves and feeder cattle sold from $2 lower to $3 per cwt higher, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Part of the pressure stemmed from winter weather and an ice storm that curtailed receipts and demand at some auctions in the Southern Plains and parts of the Midwest.
Feeder Cattle futures basically gave back about what they gained the previous week, closing an average of $3.44 lower week to week on Friday ($2.82 to $4.02 lower).
More feedlot placements than the trade expected will likely add to uncertainty at the beginning of the coming week.
The hard break in futures prices on Wednesday enticed some cattle feeders to pull the trigger early, while the recent jump in wholesale beef values encouraged packers to do the same.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $8.49 higher week to week on Friday at $218.37 per cwt. Select was $7.70 higher at $212.82. Cash fed cattle trade was mainly $2 lower on a live basis at $128 per cwt. Dressed trade was steady to $1 lower at $204-$205.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of $1.76 lower week to week on Friday ($1.07 to $2.80 lower).
Compared to last year, cattle and beef prices continue at a significantly stronger pace.
Listen to Wes Ishmael's Cattle Market Weekly Audio Report every Saturday morning on the BEEF magazine website. This is your report for Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.