Weekly US Cattle Outlook - Futures market for live cattle shows minimal reaction

US Weekly Cattle Outlook, 30th March 2007 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 2 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Cattle feeders placed some heavier-weight cattle on feed during February. The number placed on feed weighing less than 600 pounds was down 8.5 percent from a year earlier. However, cattle placed weighing 600-699 pounds were up 11.3 percent from 12 months earlier. The number weighing 700-799 pounds was the same as in 2006, and the number placed weighing over 800 pounds was up 15.6 percent in February from last year.

Of the major cattle feeding states, only Arizona, California and Kansas placed fewer cattle on feed during February this year than in 2006. However, even though the Kansas placements were down four percent from 12 months earlier, Kansas still placed more cattle on feed than any other state.

Wholesale beef prices were pushed lower again this week. Choice beef at $151.67 per cwt Friday morning was down $6.46 per cwt from a week earlier. Select beef at $147.83 per cwt was down $5.67 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Cow slaughter continues to run well above a year earlier. For the year through the week ending March 10, total cow slaughter was up 13.4 percent from a year earlier. Dairy cow slaughter was up 12 percent and beef cow slaughter was up 14.6 percent from 12 months earlier.

Short forage supplies and higher prices are believed to be the major reasons for the larger cow slaughter, which has short-circuited the growth in the cow herd for at least some time.

Feeder steer prices this week at Oklahoma City were $1 to $3 higher. Heifers were lightly tested but were steady to $1 higher, and stocker cattle and calves were $4 to $6 per cwt higher than a week earlier.

Cash fed cattle prices were pushed some lower this week. For the week through Thursday, the weighted average live price for the five-market area at $95.75 per cwt was down $2.35 per cwt from a week earlier. The weighted average carcass price for the five-market area was down $3.00 per cwt at $154.50 per cwt Friday morning compared to seven days earlier.

The prices for medium and large frame no. 1 feeder steers at Oklahoma City this week by weight groups were: 400-500 pounds $132-$145 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $123-$134.50 per cwt, 600-700 pounds $110-$127 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $103.50-$115.75 and 800-1,000 pounds $94-$105.50 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 620 thousand head, up 1.1 percent from a year earlier.

Cattle producers received good news Friday morning. Weather permitting, corn producers plan to plant 90.45 million acres to corn in 2007. This is nearly 2.5 million acres above the average of the trade estimates and 12.15 million acres above the 2006 corn-planted acreage.

This level of plantings plus good weather will not push corn prices back to early-2006 levels but will be helpful. The six nearby corn futures contracts were down the $0.20 per bushel limit at 1:00 p.m. Central time Friday.

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