Cattle Outlook

US - Ron Plain reports on last weeks' cattle market.
calendar icon 29 December 2010
clock icon 2 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

USDA's latest Cold Storage report indicates there was 441 million pounds of beef in cold storage at the end of November. This was 6.3 per cent more than the month before and 2.3 per cent more than a year earlier. Frozen stocks of chicken were also up while the amounts of pork and turkey in cold storage were down compared to a year earlier.

The December cattle on feed report said placements were up 6.2 per cent during November and fed cattle marketings were up 8.5 per cent. There was one extra weekday this November than last. The total number of cattle on feed was up 2.9 per cent compared to December 1, 2009. The inventory of cattle on feed has been above the year-earlier level for the last seven months.

The boxed beef cutout value moved lower last week. On Thursday afternoon the choice boxed beef carcass cutout value was $1.5892/pound, down 4.02 cents for the week. The select cutout was down 0.6 cents from the previous Friday to $1.5264 per pound.

Despite, lower cutout values, fed cattle prices were higher last week. The 5-area daily weighted average price for slaughter steers sold through Thursday of last week on a live weight basis was $102.51/cwt, up $2.83 from a week earlier. Steers sold on a dressed weight basis last week averaged $163.68/cwt, $4.51 higher than the week before. The same week last year, slaughter steer prices averaged $82.04/cwt live and $131.47/cwt dressed.

Last week's cattle slaughter totaled 548,000 head, down 16.8 per cent from the week before but up 17.6 per cent compared to the same week last year. This was the 24th consecutive week with cattle slaughter above the year-earlier level.

Steer carcass weights averaged 855 pounds during the week ending December 1 That was up 3 pounds from the week before and 5 pounds heavier than a year ago.

Because of the holiday schedule, the Oklahoma City stockyards are closed for two weeks. Missouri feeder cattle prices were steady to $1 higher last week with price ranges for medium and large frame #1 steers: 400-450# $131-$154, 450-500# $128-$158.50, 500-550# $125-$145.50, 550-600# $122-$140, 600-650# $118-$133, 650-700# $110-$129.50, 700-750# $112-$128.60, 750-800# 108-$127.75, and 800-1000# $100.25-$121.50/cwt.

The December fed cattle futures contract ended last week at $104.00/cwt, up $1.83 from a week ago. The February contracted closed out the week at $107.57/cwt, up $3.07 and April settled at $111.40/cwt. All live cattle futures contracts ended last week above $107/cwt except for December 2010.

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