Sunday, January 2, 2011

Live Cattle Futures Rally

Last week, February 2011 Live Cattle futures rallied more than $3/cwt, led by fund buying in the middle of the week.

On Wednesday, nearby futures gained $1.75/cwt, which helped spurred sharply higher cash trade in the middle of the week. Active trade began on Wednesday at $163-164/cwt (dressed) or $103/cwt (live) in Nebraska. Trade in the Southern Plains also developed on Wednesday, with Kansas sales averaging $102-103/cwt, and Texas $103-104/cwt.

Despite active trade volume on Wednesday, prices continued higher on Thursday. For the week, live sales in the 5-area market average $102.51/cwt, up $2.83 from the previous week. Dressed prices averaged $4.51/cwt higher at $163.68/cwt. Choice boxed beef averaged $3.33/cwt lower last week and the spread between the Choice and Select cutouts decreased $3.52/cwt.

In a holiday-shortened week for feeder cattle sales, stronger undertones were noted where sales were reported. In Nebraska, steer calf prices advanced more than $7/cwt last week, and yearling steer prices increased $2/cwt. Feeder cattle buyers continued to bid higher for the shortening supply of feeder cattle despite higher feedstuff prices.

For the week, corn prices were $0.21/bu higher, basis Omaha, NE. Prices for DDGS and WDGS were also up $8.80/ton and $3.10/ton, respectively, in Nebraska by the end of last week.

Source: Darrell R. Mark, Ph.D.,Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
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