US - Last week cattle futures prices were pulled much higher week-over-week, the driver was two consecutive weeks of strong cash markets, report Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.
Hog contracts softened in tandem with cash prices. Using the averages of the daily closes, the April Live Cattle contract jumped up $2.97 per cwt. for the week averaging $121.03. The June Live Cattle contract averaged $112.06 per cwt., up $3.59 week-over-week. In the Feeder Cattle contracts, April averaged $134.47 per cwt. (up $5.19 for the week).
The September Feeder Cattle contract, which producers with stocker animals on a full summer grazing season program can use to hedge their selling price, averaged $133.46 per cwt. last week (up $4.94 from the prior week’s). For the Hog futures, the April contract declined by $1.73 per cwt. week-over-week, while October’s slipped by $0.85.
Turning to the USDA-NASS monthly Cattle on Feed report released last Friday (the full report is available here), expectations were confirmed. For the month of February, cattle marketed were up 3.6 per cent year-over-year and daily average marketings rose a robust 8.8 per cent. The number of cattle placed into feedlots dropped 1 per cent compared to a year ago. As of 1 March, in the monthly reported feedlots, the on-feed count was 10.78 million head, only 0.7 per cent above 2016’s.
As depicted in one of the accompanying graphics, marketings as a percentage of the number of cattle on-feed provides useful insight. For the last seven consecutive months that percentage has been above a year ago. Further, for 11 of the last 12 months, that percentage has posted year-over-year increases. We would classify that as a timeframe of relatively aggressive marketings. In contrast, prior the cattle market collapse in late 2015, it was a much different story. From October 2014, for 13 consecutive months, fed cattle marketings as a percentage of cattle-on-feed was down year-over-year.
There are cumulative impacts of timely, and most importantly not delayed, marketing of harvest-ready animals month-after-month. This year, and especially during recent weeks, cattle prices have responded positively to the economic environment and market participant decisions that have facilitated relatively aggressive fed cattle marketing rates. A key result is that the on-feed count has been kept in check, even as we are faced with large cattle supplies.
Below, we have included our weekly summary of production and price data gleaned from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (Market News Division) reports. Those are critical reports that facilitate efficient and effective livestock and meat markets. Don’t overlook the dedicated Federal employees that provide all market participants with unbiased and timely data.
TheCattleSite News Desk