Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold uneven, from 4.00 lower to 1.00 higher. This week’s total receipts on this report is the largest since July 2018 and is 50,000 head larger than the first marketing week of 2018. Cattle futures continue to move higher this week as the CME Cattle Complex put on more than 1.00 this week with in most contracts with the February Live contract being 3.05 higher on the week. Weather scares started mid-week when Winter Storm Gia was named and projected to move through the heart of the country late week and into the weekend. Rain, snow and freezing rain are going to be seen in the breadbasket of the country and the East Coast is not going to be spared from this storm either. Feedyards that were already wet will see more moisture fall from the sky, dashing any hopes that they will dry out anytime soon. Here’s to hoping that the ground underneath will be frozen when the storm moves in, otherwise the mud will just get deeper. Calendar wise January 11 is a long way from the end of winter. Muddy feedyards in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa want to get cattle moved out of the poor pen conditions as cattle performance has been seriously impeded due to above average moisture recently. News of beef demand rising in recent years is a welcome sight to beef producers as ground beef and loin cuts have driven that demand due to their popularity in retail outlets. For the week, the Choice cutout closed 2.05 lower at 212.46, while Select was 1.39 lower at 206.27. On the week, boxed beef cutout values lower on light demand and moderate offerings. Select and Choice rib, chuck and loin cuts steady to weak while round cuts weak to lower. Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection estimated at 626K for the week, 14K above a year ago and a little above industry expectations this week. Packer margins have no doubt shrunk in the last few months and carcass weights coupled with lower yields will have an impact moving forward with product tonnage being available in the marketplace. A smattering of negotiated cash fed cattle trade has started in the Northern Plains 2.00 higher at 197.00 dressed. Live sales have not been established yet in the North and South Plains as of this writing, however a steady to stronger weather market is anticipated. Auction volume this week included 55 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.
Source: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, Mo.