TCR's Weekly Market Summary... 

For the week ending March 2, 2018

  • Subscribe to TCR's Weekly Market Summary
  • Delivered via e-mail Saturday mornings around 7:30 AM

For the week... 

The Choice Cutout was over $4 per cwt. higher while cattle futures were $2 & $3 lower.  Slaughter steers traded $2 lower with feeder & stocker cattle slightly lower to slightly higher. The combination of a sliding Dow Jones and the beating of trade war drums has created anxiety and uncertainty, an atmosphere that markets don't like.
10 Day Market Trendline


Change from Previous Day: -0.93%
Change from 10 Days Ago: -2.72%
Change from 60 Days Ago: +2.45%
60 Day Market Trendline

Trendlines display the daily market factors for the past 10 & 60 days.
Each factor is the weighted total of the Gain/(Loss) for 12 major market indicators compared to the previous trading day.

Regular Contents:

Articles of interest...

The articles below are included in the WMS because we found them to be of interest but the content does not necessarily reflect the views of The Cattle Range.

Weekly Market Overview:

National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:

RECEIPTS:    Auctions   Direct   Video/Internet  Total
This Week     227,800     44,200        300           272,300
Last Week     222,100     44,900   39,000           306,000
Last Year       255,600     42,600    34,400          332,600
Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves sold steady to 5.00 higher and feeder steers and heifers sold steady to 5.00 lower. Buyers were more reserved on feeders headed straight to the feedyard as the CME futures markets were volatile all week long, however, demand was good to very good on calves suitable for grazing. In the North Central part of the country, market reporters noted that there were fewer farmer-feeders in the seats as pens have started to thaw out and get greasy leading to some cattle now starting to carry some mud on them. Quality in the auctions continues to be attractive to buyers for the most part, however with some areas having a little 'tag' on the hide, the matting of cattle’s hair coats tend to take some of the shine off the luster. Fewer thin fleshed cattle in the offering this week as temperatures have been conducive to feeders showing the extra flesh they have on them.
Thursday was a very good day for feeder steer prices this week as three auctions listed sold light 8-weight steers for a nice figure considering the bearishness in the marketplace this week. At Napoleon Livestock Auction in Napoleon, ND a package of 834 lb fancy steers sold for 154.00. At Ogallala Livestock in Ogallala, NE a load of 824 lb steers sold at 152.00 while a half-load of steers weighing 813 lbs at Denison Livestock in Denison, IA also sold at 152.00. Fewer heifers tagged as replacements this week in the country, however there were still a few around and they continue to sell well above their steer mates. On Tuesday, at Philip Livestock in Philip, SD a half-load of 874 lb replacement heifers sold at $1400 per head or 160.18/cwt. On Wednesday at Hub City Livestock in Aberdeen, SD another half-load of replacement heifers weighing 816 lbs sold at $1300.00 per head or 159.31/cwt.
Boxed beef continues on its upward trend which analysts had predicted the Choice to top somewhere around 225.00. Even though we have not gotten to that level, lower cash fed cattle prices are expanding packer margins as boxed-beef values have continued higher which continues to keep packers in very good shape. With the higher boxed-beef values higher and with Easter fast approaching, beef could find some stiff competition from the retail section with cheaper pork and poultry prices. Feedyards will need to continue to stay current to keep a significant price drop at bay which typically happens when the market starts staring at the June being the front contract month. For the week, Choice boxed beef closed 4.14 higher at 222.52, while the Select cutout closed 1.82 higher at 214.64. Fed cattle moved on Wednesday this week when the CME April Live Cattle contract was quoted at 123.00 or below. Cash cattle traded 2.00 lower in the Southern Plains at 126.00 while the Northern Plains dressed trade was reported steady to 1.00 lower at mostly 204.00. Auction volume this week included 63 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 44 percent heifers.

Stocker Steers: 

Feeder Steers:

Stocker & Feeder Cattle Weekly Receipts: 

Weekly sales of Stocker Calves & Feeder Cattle sold via auctions, direct country sales, and video/Internet sales as reported by the UDSA Market News

Five Year Moving Average...
Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers:

Cattle Futures Summary: Live cattle futures were down anywhere from 7 cents to $1.15 on Friday, with the front two contracts in triple digit territory. Feeder cattle futures were off $.80 to $1.47. The CME feeder cattle index was down $1.30 cents on March 1 at $146.03. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Friday morning. Choice boxes were up 22 cents at $222.52, with Select boxes $0.96 lower at $214.64. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter was 608,000 head, up 6.3% from last week and up 3.8% from the same week in 2017. Total commitments for beef exports are now 19.3% larger than the same time a year ago. Cash cattle trade was mostly $126 on Friday, with $203-205 reported in the north. 
Commitment of Traders...

Mexican Feeder Cattle Weekly Import Summary: 

Receipts EST: 19,000     Week ago Act: 20,913     Year ago Act: 22,403
Compared to last week, steer calves and yearlings steady.  Heifers steady.  Trade moderate to active, demand moderate to good.  Supply consisted of steers and spayed heifers weighing 300-600 lbs.    
Feeder steers: Medium and large 1&2, 300-400 lbs 185.00-200.00; 400-500 lbs 165.00-180.00; 500-600 lbs 145.00-160.00; Medium and large 2&3, 300-400 lbs 175.00-190.00; 400-500 lbs 155.00-170.00; 500-600 lbs 135.00-150.00.
Feeder heifers: Medium and large 1&2, 300-400 lbs 158.00-168.00; 400-500 lbs 148.00-158.00; 500-600 lbs 138.00-148.00.

Selected Auction Reports:

Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX
Receipts:  4506    Last Week:  2314    Year Ago:  2513
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers sold mostly steady; heifers sold 1.00 to 3.00 higher.  Trade was very active on good demand.  The trading area remains extremely dry and pushing cattle off of short wheat.


Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS
Receipts:  4971    Last Week:  2716    Year Ago:   4733
Compared to last week: Steers 700-1000 lbs 2.00-8.00 lower; 700 lbs and under steady undertone noted. Heifers 700-950 lbs 1.00-2.00 lower; 700 lbs and under lower undertone noted.
Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE
Receipts:  3958    Last Week:  4085    Year Ago:  2989
Compared to last week, steers and heifers under 650 lbs sold unevenly. Steers over 650 lbs sold steady to 3.00 lower except a flat 8 weight sold 6.00 lower. Heifers over 650 lbs sold 2.00 to 3.00 lower.
El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK
Receipts           Week Ago             Year Ago
  6,570                 9,958                  13,955
* Final report *** Compared to last week:   Feeder steers traded mostly steady.   Feeder heifers sold 1.00-4.00 higher on limited offerings.  Steer and heifer calves very lightly tested but traded with a much higher undertone for very light weight weight calves under 400 lbs over 400 mostly 3.00-5.00 higher.
Mitchell Livestock Wtd Avg Report - Mitchell SD
Receipts:  5366    Last Week:  6617    Year Ago:  6264
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers under 650 lbs not well compared,650-750 lbs 4.00 to 7.00 lower, over 750 lbs steady to 5.00 lower. Feeder heifers under 700 lbs not well compared, over 700 lbs mostly steady to 4.00 lower.
Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX
Cattle and Calves: 2491      Week ago: 2258      Year Ago:  2150
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers over 600 lbs firm; heifers over 600 lbs weak to 2.00 lower.  Steer calves under 600 lbs firm; heifer calves under 600 lbs 1.00-3.00 lower.
Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO
Receipts           Week Ago              Year Ago
 4,523                 9,172                     6,350
***CLOSE***   Compared to last week, steers under 800 lbs steady, over 800 lbs steady to 2.00 lower, heifers under 700 lbs steady to 3.00 higher, over 700 lbs 2.00 to 4.00 lower.  Demand moderate to good, supply moderate to light.
Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD
Receipts:  3633    Last Week:  5321    Year Ago:  2660
Compared to last week:  Steers 500-550 lbs 8.00 to 12.00 lower, 600-750 lbs steady to 4.00 lower, 750-850 lbs 4.00 to 8.00 lower with couple instances seen to 12.00 lower, 900-1000 lbs 1.00 to 4.00 lower.
Winter Livestock - La Junta CO...
Receipts:  2511    Last Week:  2571    Year Ago:  1645
Compared with last Tuesday: Steers under 700 lbs mostly steady except for 550 to 650 3.00 to 5.00 lower, 700 to 800 lbs 3.00-5.00 lower, over 800 lbs steady to 1.00 lower.
Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA
Receipts:  1908    Last Week:  3272    Year Ago:  2155
Compared to the sale last week: Feeder steers under 750 lbs.mostly steady, feeder strs over 750 lbs. mostly 2.00-5.00 lower and feeder hfrs mostly steady.
Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City, OK
Receipts           Week Ago             Year Ago
 2,633                  10,151                  7,529
*** Add Close Updating with Actual Receipts *** Compared to last week:   Feeder steers over 700 lbs traded 3.00-4.00 lower, grazing cattle under 700 mostly steady.  All classes of feeder and heifer calves were too lightly tested for trends.
Cullman Stockyard - Cullman AL
Receipts:  505    Last Week:  670    Year Ago:  527
Compared to last week: Slaughter cows and bulls 2.00 to 4.00 higher. Feeder bulls and steers sold steady to 2.00 higher. Feeder heifers sold steady. Replacement cows and pairs sold steady.
Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA
Receipts:  1000    Last Week:  925    Year Ago:  1200
Compared to last Thursday at the same market, not enough stocker or feeder cattle for an accurate market test. As most interests are waiting for the March 6, 2018 Carlot feeder cattle sale.
Blue Grass South Livestock Market - Stanford KY
Receipts:  370    Last Week:  326    Year Ago:  907
Compared to last Monday:Feeder steers 1.00-2.00 higher,Feeder heifers 2.00-4.00 higher,Good demand for feeder classes.Slaughter cows and  bulls steady,Good demand for slaughter classes.
Tri-State Livestock Auction Market - McCook NE
Receipts:  2070    Last Week:  2445    Year Ago:  1850
Not enough to show a comparison, except for 750 weight steers were 4.00 lower and 650 weight heifers were 4.00 higher. Demand was moderate to good. Steers accounted for 68 percent and heifers 32 percent of the offering.
Weights over 600 lbs 84 percent of the offering today.
Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM
Receipts:  2581       Last Week:  2457        Year Ago:  3111
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers under 700 lbs mostly 6.00 higher; over 700 lbs 3.00 lower. Heifers under 600 lbs steady to 2.00 higher on 400-500 lbs.  Over 600 lbs mostly 5.00 lower.
Green Forest Livestock Auction - Green Forest AR
Receipts:  749    Last Week:  518    Year Ago:  686
Compared to one week earlier, slaughter cows 4.00 to 6.00 higher, slaughter bulls mostly steady, feeder steers and steer calves lightly tested, feeder bulls and bull calves steady, feeder heifers and  heifer calves unevenly steady, replacement cows mostly steady.
Pratt Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction - Pratt, KS
Receipts:  6616    Last Week:  0000    Year Ago:  6012
Compared to two weeks ago: Feeder steers 650-1000 lbs 4.00-8.00 lower. Feeder heifers firm to 2.00 higher. Steer and heifer calves 600 lbs and under firm to higher undertone noted on a light test.
Valentine Livestock Auction Market - Valentine NE
Receipts:  791 Two weeks ago: 5410 Last year: 0
Todays Bred cow and heifer auction consisted mostly of black and bwf offering bred to lbw black bulls to calve in March. A full crowd on hand and several buyers today.
Denison Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Denison IA
Receipts:  2309
No comparison due to no recent sale.  Offerings of feeder cattle over 00 pounds was 90.8 percent with 64.8 percent steers and 35.2 percent heifers.

Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:

WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts: 2,262     Week Ago: 270     Year Ago: 1,215 
Too few of sales last week for an adequate market trend. Demand was light to moderate this week as many contacts continue to say “pen” space is rather tight.
AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri)
Confirmed 1840
Compared to last week, not enough compareble sales traded to compare to.  Trade and demand moderate.  Supply consisted of HOlstein steer calves weighing 275-350 lbs for current-July delivery.
IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon)
Receipts:  0    Last week: 333     Last Year:  300
Compared to the last report:  Feeder steers and heifers not  tested.  Prices based on net weights FOB after a 3 percent shrink or equivalent and 5-10 cent slide on calves and 4-6 cent slide on  yearlings from base weights.
Eastern Cornbelt Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
This week: 1,523      Last week: 1,750      Last Year: 378
Compared to last week:  Not enough comparable current FOB delivered cattle this week for an accurate market trend.  Supply included 100 percent over 600 lbs; 100 percent heifers.
Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts: 3,678        Last Week 719          Last Year 3,126 
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not well tested on a Current FOB Basis last week.  Demand remains moderate.  Supply consisted of 95 percent over 600 lbs; 90 percent heifers.
Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
Receipts:  2,044        Last Week: 1,554         Last Year:  3,192
Compared with last week: Feeder steers and heifers not well tested for current delivery, however a lower undertone is noted.  A decline on the futures board and lower cash slaughter cattle prices this week has led to a decline in the demand for feeders.
Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
Receipts: 555          Last Week 0              Last Year 0 
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers not tested last week.  Supply includes 100 percent over 600 lbs and 100 percent heifers.  Unless otherwise stated prices are FOB weigh point with a 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 8-12 cent slide on calves and 4-8 cent slide on yearlings from base weights.
New Mexico Feeder Cattle Report (Mon)
Receipts:  1600    Last Week:  2700    Year Ago:  200
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers sold 2.00 to 4.00 lower; heifers were not well tested.  Trade activity and demand were moderate.  Supply consisted of 78 percent steers and 22 percent heifers.  Approximately 61 percent of the offerings weighed over 600 lbs.
Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
Receipts:  700    Last Week:  1,500    Year Ago:  1,350
Compared to last week:  Supplies limited again this week and all classes lightly tested.  Few feeder steers 3.00-5.00 lower.  Feeder heifers not well tested.  Cattle futures traded mostly to the lower side and slaughter cattle traded lower as well.
Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
Receipts: 2,416        Last Week 3,952        Last Year 4,625 
Compared to last week:  Feeder steers were lightly tested on a Current FOB basis but a lower undertone was noted.  Feeder heifers were not tested on a Current basis.  Receipts this week consisted of 87 percent over 600 lbs and 22 percent heifers.
Texas Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
Receipts:  27,000    Last Week:  24,300    Year Ago:  25,300
Compared to last week:  Current FOB sales of steers and heifers sold mostly steady to 2.00 lower.  Trade was fairly active on moderate to good demand.  CME board struggled most of the week and fat cattle on negotiated cash lost 2.00 trading at 126.00 this week.

Representative Sales of Cows & Pairs:

Reported by USDA Market News for the week ending March 2nd
Oklahoma City, OK:
Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-6 yr old 800-1375 lb cow 3-7 months bred 825.00-1175.00; 4-5 yr old 1150-1175 lb cow 7 months bred 1250.00-1325.00 per head. 
Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yr old 1050-1100 lb black cow w/50-100 lb calf 1450.00-1575.00; 2-4 yr old 1000-1275 lb cow w/75-150 lb calf 1675.00-1725.00; pkg 8-9 yr old 1125 lb cow w/100 lb calf 1250.00 per pair.
Clovis, NM:
Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2: Young to long solid mouth 900-1365 lb cows 1-8 months bred, 800.00-1025.00, per head; young one ranch reputation cows 980-1306 lbs 3-8 months bred 1150.00-1600.00; middle aged short solid mouth 950-1334 lb cows 3-8 months bred 750.00-910.00, per head; aged 825-1300 lb cows 3-8 months bred 600.00-935.00, per head.  First Calf Heifers: 700-990 lb cows 3-8 months bred 825.00-975.00, per head.
Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2: Young 965-1145 lb cows w/90-300 lb calves 1525.00-1750.00, per pair; pkg young 900 lb cows 1-3 months bred with 400-500 lb calves 1825.00, per pair.  First Calf Heifers: 700-920 lb cows w/70-300 lb calves 1000.00-1675.00, per pair.
Roswell, NM:
Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 825-1335 lb cows 6-8 months bred 800.00-1175.00, per head; middle aged 805-1135 lb cows 3-8 months bred 710.00-925.00, per head; aged 980-1204 lb cows 3-8 months bred 650.00-910.00, per head.  First Calf Heifers: 685-890 lb cows 3-8 months bred 800.00-925.00, per head.
Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 825-850 lb cows w/300-350 lb calves 1100.00-1350.00, per pair; aged 950-1200 lb cows w/150-300 lb calves 1050.00-1150.00, per pair.
Joplin, MO:
Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  3 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1060-1360 lbs 1075.00-1450.00, 1st stage 1100-1290 lbs 900.00-1150.00; 7 yrs to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1100-1355 lbs 700.00-1025.00. Large 1-2  5-7 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1495-1770 lbs 1100.00-1375.00; short and solid mouth to aged 1585-1650 lbs 1070.00-1075.00. Medium and Large 2  2-5 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 760-1125 lbs 775.00-925.00, 1st stage 990 lb indiv. 850.00. Medium 1-2  3-4 yrs 3rd stage 820-1050 lbs 825.00-1100.00, 1st stage 850 lb indiv. 725.00; broken mouth 2nd stage 910 lb indiv. 555.00 per head.
Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium Large 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 900-1280 lb cows w/babies to 200 lb calves 1150.00-1385.00; short and solid mouth to aged 1080-1250 lb cows w/babies to 275 lb calves 1025.00-1125.00. Medium 1-2  4 yrs to aged 900-1000 lb cows w/baby calves 1025.00-1160.00 per pair.
West Plains, MO:
Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yr old 1024-1390 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 1000.00-1375.00 per head; Short-solid to broken mouth 1093-1400 lb cows mostly in the 3rd stage 900.00-1025.00 per head.  Medium and Large 2  2-7 yr old 790-1350 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 750.00-1000.00 per head, 1st stage 700.00-900.00 per head.  Short-solid to broken mouth 920-1370 lb cows in the 2nd-3rd stage 650.00-875.00 per head.
Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yr old 975-1245 lb cows with 100-200 lb calves 1300.00-1575.00 per pair; Seven yrs to broken mouth 1170-1305 lb cows with 150-250 lb calves 1225.00-1350.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 2  3-7 yr old 875-1225 lb cows with 100-300 lb calves 1150.00-1275.00 per pair; Short-solid to broken mouth 960-1110 lb cows with 125-300 lb calves 775.00-1050.00 per pair.
Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 year old 850-1250 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 108.00-118.00/1025.00-1125.00, first stage/open 78.00-88.00, 7-10 year old2nd-3rd stage 57.00-67.00/850.00-950.00 per head.
Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yr old 800-1200 lb cow w/100-200 lb calf 1200.00-1300.00, some to 1625.00, 200-300 lb calf 1300-1400.00 per pair.

Canadian Cattle:

Alberta Beef Producers: 
Alberta direct cattle sales Thursday saw light trade develop with dressed sales marked at 278.00 delivered, sales are positioned at the top end of last week's trading range. Light volumes of western Canadian fed cattle were sold into the US with prices compared with local sales. Higher prices and stronger basis levels did encourage producers to market cattle. A lot of the cattle that have been carried over for the past couple of weeks were sold this week.
Cattle Prices:
Prices have been converted to U.S. $/CWT. Grades changed to approximate U.S. equivalents
Exchange Rate: Canadian dollar equivalent to $0.7873 U.S. dollars
Prices for the week ending February 23rd 


USDA National Retail Beef Report:

Advertised Prices for Beef at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets


This week in Beef Retail, the Feature Rate fell by .7 percent, the Special Rate posted a 6.1 percent increase, and the Activity index rose by 2.0 percent. Corned Beef Brisket were noticed more on ads this week as retailers are preparing for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day. Cuts from the Rib, Chuck, Loin, and Brisket saw more ad space, while cuts from the round and ground beef saw less. Cattle slaughter under federal inspection saw a 6.3 percent increase when compared to last week.

Photo of the Week:

  • Link

"Shootin' the Bull" Weekly Analysis:

In my opinion, the cattle market has some headwinds that are anticipated to produce a lower price.  Here are my reasons.  Further talk of just how much better the economy could improve over say the next 6 months is the forefront of my analysis.  I believe the economy will continue to stay strong, but how much stronger is what everyone wants to know.  It has taken all of the increases in employment, wages, and tax breaks for the demand to keep the supply in check.  With 2nd quarter production slated higher, there is going to be some marketing to get done.  With no further increase of significance in disposable income or looser discretionary spending habits foreseen, beef is anticipated weaken.  Next is the hog market.  Competing meats are always of importance.  Where as just a few weeks ago I didn't worry too much about this, but now I do.  I've seen charts of the increases in production and decreases in the cut out.  They really caught my attention.  Then recall last weeks cold storage increases for pork.  With the discrepancy wide between pork and beef at the retail grocer, the consumer may begin to think with their pocket book over palate. Just the smallest of change will have large impacts on beef with increasing supplies.
On Friday morning, I made the recommendation to sell hogs. ***This is a sales solicitation.***  This is a rarity for me to comment on other markets, but it seems very pertinent at this time to do so.  The chart pattern looks eerily like feeders did between October of '14 and June of '15.  June of '15 was the wave B high when I called for the feeder price to decline.  So, a collapsing hog market won't be good for beef.  Lastly, the charts on the fats and feeders suggests that the rally from the December low in feeders and January low in fats was completed at the highs made on Tuesday, February 20.  This is confirmed by the movement of the oscillator now back below the zero line.  It completes a wave sequence.  Since this up wave sequence was littered with overlapping price movement, it didn't take long to decipher the next most probable move once sentiment changed on Wednesday, February 21st.  So, a defensive position was recommended last week and carried through all of this week.
I continue to recommend remaining defensive until the ball is back in the bulls hands.  It will take trades above this weeks high to even suggest this may occur.  Yes, if you are touting seasonality's, they are starting higher right about now.  I fear this year will be counter seasonal and make for a very difficult environment from which to trade in.  I am not bearish, but I am in no way bullish at this time either.  Markets don't need much of a reason to go down.  They need everything they can get their hands on to go up.  Bull markets must be fed every day bullish news.  At this time, there is nothing that I can see that is bullish beef.  More competing meats and slowing economic growth at the moment is anticipated to make the next 6 weeks a tough environment in which to market inventory into.
Feeder cattle have a problem, that is, the fats are no longer at a level that invites "bettin' on the come" and feed costs have risen.  That is except in most of Nebraska where they simply open the silo door by leaning out the kitchen window.  This could be a problem as more weight in this area is probable than in the rest of the cattle feeding areas.  The feeder index has begun to move lower now as sales all this week appeared to be lower. Of the most interest though is the heifers.  Heifer placement has been enormous recently.  With only 4% more placed in January and an elevated heifer placement, are we running thin on steers?
Cow/calf operators continue to suffer from years ago when heifer and cow price was elevated and the price of money was cheap.  Today, heifer and cow prices are sharply lower and the price of money much higher.  It does not look to me like expansion can stay around much longer.  Once the corner is turned, and we are killing more than birthing, I would not anticipate a rush to go back to expansion.  Financially, it would be difficult.  The chart pattern on the feeders is unfolding as being an A, B, C correction.  Wave A terminated at the 12/22/17 low and wave B at the 2/20/18 high.  This leads me to anticipate a wave C with a termination target of equal to the wave A low at $139.20 May, or 100% of the A wave minus the B wave high to $134.90.  Take up a defensive position and hold the line.
Grains gave back some of their gains on Friday.  Beans soared higher on Thursday night and into Friday morning.  By the close, November was down on the day and front months off highs greatly.  I have been recommending this week to visit with your elevator to book basis, price, or something to capture a portion of this rally in beans.  I continue with this recommendation.  Corn is just holding its own until closer to planting.  It has been some trouble for southern producers as the rains have disrupted river traffic, costs of freight higher and now price about $.20 higher off the lows.  The wheat remains on the front burner and still turned on high.  Today's break lower is perceived as an opportunity to own more.
On Friday, I recommended to buy MGE wheat due to it just now starting to react to the drought.  Grown primarily in the Dakota's, Montana, and most all of the southern portions of Canada, it won't be planted until this spring.  The issue being, will they have enough moisture to plant?  It has taken it until the first of March to react as now planting season is soon upon us.  So, try not to be short wheat.  You can market inventory into it, but don't be short it.   Energy was volatile this week, but ended quite a bit lower.  At today's close, diesel was about a nickel off the low made on 2/12/18.  One may want to consider topping off farm tanks again here, or if attempting to get greedy, maybe  a double bottom at $1.83 or just under could still materialize.
Christopher B. Swift is a commodity broker and consultant with Swift Trading Company in Nashville, TN. Mr. Swift authors the daily commentaries "mid day cattle comment" and "Shootin' the Bull" commentary found on his website @
An investment in futures contracts is speculative, involves a high degree of risk and is suitable only for persons who can assume the risk of loss in excess of their margin deposits.  You should carefully consider whether futures trading is appropriate for you in light of your investment experience, trading objectives, financial resources and other relevant circumstances. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

U.S. Dollar - 6 Month Chart:

Over the past 5 years, an average of around 10% of U.S. beef production has been exported, making exports an extremely important factor affecting beef and cattle prices.  A strong dollar depresses export demand.
U.S. Dollar Index

Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers:

Boxed beef cutout values steady on Choice and lower on Select on light to moderate demand and light offerings. Select and Choice rib, chuck, and round cuts steady to weak. Choice loin cuts firm while Select weak. Beef trimmings higher on moderate demand and light offerings.

The average value of hide and offal for the five days ending Fri, Mar 02, 2018   was estimated at 10.23 per cwt., down 0.03 from last week and down 1.70 from last year.

Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation:

Historically, the value of 25 bushels of corn is approximately equal to the price per cwt. for feeder steers.

Slaughter Cows & Bulls:

Slaughter cows sold mostly 1.00 to 5.00 higher.  Slaughter bulls steady to 3.00 higher.  Packer demand good.  Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value on Friday 171.59 -- Up 0.85
                Weight         Colorado       Oklahoma     Alabama 
Breakers  1100-1600  70.50-73.00   68.00-71.00  58.00-63.00 
Boners     1000-1450  70.00-74.00   67.00-70.00  60.00-65.00
Lean         1000-1300  69.00-73.00   66.00-70.00  54.00-58.00
Bulls         1300-2500  84.00-88.00   90.00-92.00  80.00-84.00


Daily Direct Cow & Bull Negotiated Report:
            Confirmed Week Ago Year Ago  YTD   Year Ago
National   7,338       7,434       7,973     39,023   21,328
S Central 2,236       2,238       2,378     10,594     5,728
N Central   819           814          870       4,322     2,656
East        1,712        1,498       1,414     10,072     4,617
West          901        1,074       1,442       5,659     3,556
Midwest  1,670        1,810       1,869       8,376     4,771

Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection:

Total red meat production under Federal inspection for the week ending Saturday, March 03, 2018 was estimated at 1021.2 million lbs. according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 3.5 percent higher than a week ago and 4.7 percent higher than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 2.9 percent higher compared to the previous year.

 Weekly Hay Reports: "Click" on links for detailed report

Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review:

The USDA reports feed ingredient prices for the week ending February 27, 2018 were mixed.
Soybean Meal was 3.90 to 22.90 higher. Cottonseed Meal was steady to 15.00 higher.  Canola Meal was steady to 14.70 higher. Linseed Meal was 15.00 lower to 10.00 higher. Sunflower Meal was steady to 15.00 higher.
Whole Cottonseed was steady to 4.00 higher.
Crude Soybean Oil was 8 to 83 points higher. Crude Corn Oil was 336 points lower.
Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was mixed, 20.00 lower to 25.00 higher. Ruminant Blood Meal was not well established. Feather Meal was steady to 80.00 higher. Menhaden Fishmeal was not well established.
Corn Hominy was steady to 5.00 lower. Corn Gluten Feed was 20.00 lower to 20.00 higher. Corn Gluten Meal was 55.00 lower to 35.00 higher.
Distillers Dried Grain was mixed, 4.00 lower to 5.00 higher, mostly steady.
Wheat Middlings were steady to 10.00 lower. Wheat millrun was steady.

5 Year Bullish/Bearish Consensus Charts:

The theory behind the "Bullish/Bearish Consensus" indicator is when the public reaches a consensus, they are usually wrong:
They get too bullish after prices have risen and too bearish after they have already fallen.
Because of this tendency, there are often extremes in opinion right before major changes in trend:
When the public reaches a bullish extreme, i.e., a great majority thinks prices will keep rising, then prices often decline instead.
And when they become too bearish, then prices tend to rise.
So when Public Opinion moves above the red dotted line in the chart, it means that compared to other readings over the past year, you're seeing excessive optimism. You also want to look at the absolute level of Opinion, too - if it's at 90%, then there's no question we're seeing an historic level of bullish opinion.  Watch for readings above 80% (or especially 90%) to spot those dangerous times when the public is overly enthusiastic about a commodity.
Conversely, when Public Opinion moves below the green dotted line, then the public is excessively pessimistic about the commodity's prospects for further gains compared to their opinion over the past year.  Looking for absolute readings under 20% (or especially 10%) often indicates an upturn in the market.


Stock Markets & Economic News: 

T. Rowe Price
Stocks recorded sharp losses for the week. Information technology and consumer staples shares held up best in the S&P 500 Index, while industrials and business services shares fared worst. A decline in industrials giant Caterpillar weighed especially on the narrowly focused Dow Jones Industrial Average, while the smaller-cap benchmarks and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fared best.
The week started out on a strong note, although on light trading volumes. T. Rowe Price traders noted that there did not seem to a single catalyst behind the gains, but rather an overall sense that the factors that drove the market higher in recent months -- including global economic strength, strong earnings growth, and enthusiasm over tax cuts -- would help stocks recover from recent volatility.
Worries over heightened trade frictions also seemed to drag down shares late in the week. According to the firm’s traders, rumors that President Trump would announce a new round of tariffs weighed on sentiment as early as Monday, but most investors were taken by surprise when the president announced on Thursday afternoon that he would institute tariffs on steel imports and aluminum imports. Shares in steel and aluminum makers jumped on the news, but the stocks of automakers and other heavy steel users fell. Industrial exporters such as Caterpillar were dealt a double blow, facing the threat of both higher input costs and retaliation against their products in overseas markets.
The market's declines continued in futures trading Friday morning after the president tweeted that “when a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker fired back the first salvo Friday afternoon, announcing plans to raise tariffs on imports of U.S. whiskey, motorcycles, and blue jeans. Stocks finished the week off their Friday morning lows, however, led by small-caps, which are typically less reliant on overseas sales.

U.S. Stocks:

"Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the last 12 weeks
Over the next week, a few more storm systems are forecast to affect the central, southern, or eastern parts of the continental United States. A low pressure system and associated cold front are expected to trigger additional rainfall from east Texas into the mid-South from Wednesday into Thursday.
The active pattern is forecast to continue into next week as a stronger low pressure system will likely emerge into the Great Plains. With this system may come additional rain and snow in the central third of the continental United States, though the exact storm track and associated precipitation remain uncertain at this time. Conditions in the West will likely stay generally cooler than normal, while temperature swings are more likely east of the Rocky Mountains as the next few storm systems and associated fronts move across the country.

Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)

Closeout projections are for cattle placed on feed by a cattle owner at a commercial feedyard and not for cattle owned by a feedyard and fed at cost or a farmer/feeder utilizing his own feed.


Typical closeout for un-hedged steers sold this week:
  • Placed on Feed 165 days ago = September 18th
Cost of 750 lb. steer delivered @ $151.44 per cwt:  $1,135.80
Feed Cost for 600 lbs. @ $73.39 per cwt:                     $440.34
Interest @ Prime + 2% on cattle cost for 165 days:      $29.52
Interest @ Prime + 2% of the feed cost for 165 days:     $5.72
Total Cost & Expense:                                                 $1,611.39
Sale proceeds: 1,350 lb. steer @ $126.00 per cwt:   $1,701.00
This week's Profit/(Loss) per head:                              $89.61
Profit/(Loss) per head for previous week:                   $138.59
Change from previous week:                                          -$48.98
Sale price necessary to breakeven:                               $119.36
Projected closeout for steers placed on feed this week:
  • Projected Sale Date @ 165 days on feed = August 14th
Cost of 750 lb. steer delivered @ $147.05 per cwt:   $1,102.88
Feed Cost for 600 lbs. @ $75.21 per cwt:                      $451.26
Interest @ Prime + 2% on cattle cost for 165 days:       $31.16
Interest @ Prime + 2% of the feed cost for 165 days:      $6.37
Total Cost & Expense:                                                   $1,591.67
Sale proceeds: August Futures @ $112.10 per cwt:  $1,513.35
This week's Profit/(Loss) per head:                             ($78.32)
Profit/(Loss) per head for previous week:                    ($62.98)
Change from previous week:                                          -$15.34
Sale price necessary to breakeven:                               $117.90


Slaughter Cattle:

Friday negotiated cash trade was light on light to moderate demand in most feeding regions. A few live purchases were reported in Colorado at 126.00, .50-1.00 lower compared to Wednesday. In the Western Cornbelt a few dressed purchases were reported at 203.00, 1.00-2.00 lower compared to Wednesday. The latest establish market in the Southern Plains was on Wednesday with live purchases at 126.00. On Wednesday in Nebraska, live purchases traded at 127.00 with dressed purchases mostly at 204.00. In the Western Cornbelt on Wednesday, live purchases traded from 127.00-130.00.
Negotiated Sales: Confirmed: 5,487   Week Ago: 11,330   Year Ago: 2,847
Formula Purchases: Net - Dressed
Head count priced today: 14,100
Weighted avg weight:       853.00
Weighted avg net price:    203.53

Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection:

                               CATTLE      CALVES    HOGS         SHEEP
Friday  (est            114,000     2,000     453,000       7,000
Week ago (est)      108,000     2,000     448,000      7,000
Year ago (act)       103,000     2,000     418,000       6,000
Week to date (est) 583,000   10,000   2,287,000    38,000
Last Week (est)     549,000   10,000   2,250,000    37,000
Last Year (act)      567,000     9,000   2,186,000     37,000
Saturday  (est          25,000        0          130,000       2,000
Week ago (est)        23,000        0          139,000       2,000
Year ago (act)          19,000        0          129,000         0
Week to date (est) 608,000   10,000    2,417,000     40,000
Last Week (est)     572,000   10,000    2,389,000     39,000
Last Year* (act)     586,000   10,000    2,316,000     37,000
2018 YTD           5,348,000   93,000  21,271,000   325,000
2017 *YTD          5,216,000   91,000  20,797,000   327,000
Percent change        2.5%        2.1%        2.3%         -0.6%

National Grain Summary:

Compared to last week, cash bids for soybeans and wheat were higher, corn was mixed but mostly higher, sorghum was higher.  The soy complex continued to push higher most of the week.  Given support from ongoing weather concerns in South America.  This weekend could prove some backlash to the declaration of import tariffs that occured this week.  USDA said last week's export sales and shipments of corn totaled 69.0 million and 50.2 million bushels, respectively.  The shipments were impressive given the situation, but total 2017-18 corn shipments still show a bearish pace at 28% lower than a year ago.  USDA said last week's export sales and shipments of soybeans totaled 31.5 million and 33.1 million bushels, respectively, another bearish combination that has total U.S. shipments down 13% from a year ago.  USDA said early Thursday that last week's export sales and shipments of wheat totaled 7.0 million and 12.2 million bushels, respectively, a dismal combination hurt by overseas competition. Total wheat shipments are down 6% from last year's low pace.  Wheat was 6 3/4 to 54 cents higher.  Corn was mixed from 8 1/2 cents lower to 17 1/2 cents higher.  Sorghum was 21 to 54 3/4 cents higher.  Soybeans were 20 1/2 to 28 cents higher.
Corn futures closed 1/4 to 1 1/2 cents lower. End of week profit taking was the main activity. Nearby March was up 11 cents per bushel for the week. Total commitments for corn exports are now just 8% behind last year, gaining 2.5% since last week. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange put Argentine corn crop conditions at 5.5% good with 76.4% rated as poor/very poor. They left their production estimate at 37 MMT for the 17/18 crop. A Bloomberg survey found that trade average guess was 36.5 MMT. The average expectation for Brazil was 91.6 MMT vs. the February USDA figure of 95 MMT. Brazil’s Trade Ministry reported that 1.25 MMT of corn was exported during February. That was less than half of January’s total but well above the same month last year.
Wheat futures posted double digit losses in MPLS and Chicago futures today and just barely avoided them in KC HRW with its 8 3/4 to 9 3/4 cent losses. Profit taking ahead of the weekend was the main driver. Even after the sell off, KC March was up 53 cents per bushel for the week (11.3%) on declining crop condition ratings and a mostly dry forecast for the first half of March in the most afflicted areas. Wheat export shipments totaled 330,694 MT last week, falling 20.9% from the previous week total and 35.53% behind the same week last year. Commitments for all wheat exports are now 12.4% lower than this time in 2017. They are 84% of the USDA projection, vs. 93% last year and the average of 92%. France’s soft wheat crop was rated at 83% gd/ex by the French AgriMer on Friday, down from 85% last week.

U.S. Corn Supply, Use, & Exports

Our goal is for the Weekly Market Summary to provide a comprehensive overview of the week's cattle market.  If you have a suggestion that would enhance the summary, use the link below to submit your suggestion. If we implement it, we'll send you a Cattle Range Knife as a token of our appreciation
E-mail your suggestion to
Although all information contained within is from sources believed to be accurate & timely, The Cattle Range expressly disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy of any of the contents provided and shall not be liable for decisions or actions taken based on the data/information/opinions contained within.