Cattle Extended Rally on Wednesday

Brown Cow in Field

Live cattle ended the Wednesday session with contracts up $1 to $1.50 across the board. Cash trade this week has been quiet so far, with a few light trades of $192 in the north and $187 in the South, though nothing to establish a trend. The Wednesday Fed Cattle Exchange from the Central Stockyards saw 532 head of the 1,344 listed selling in a range of $187-188.25, all out of TX. After the close, USDA reported another human case of H5N1, this time in Michigan connected with a dairy herd that had previously contracted the virus.

Feeder cattle saw gains of $1.42 to $3.07 across the board on Wednesday. The CME Feeder Cattle index was up another 69 cents on May 21 to $248.44. The basis is firming ahead of contract expiration, with May futures now less than $2 premium to the cash market.

The average trade estimates for Friday’s Cattle on Feed report put April placements down 6.1% from last year, with April marketings up 9.8%. That would leave the May 1 on feed inventory down 0.8% from May 2023. 

USDA’s Wholesale Boxed Beef prices slipped back lower in the Wednesday afternoon report. Choice boxes were down 85 cents at $312.17, with Select $1.26 lower to $299.61. That narrowed the Chc/Sel spread to $12.56. USDA estimated FI cattle slaughter at 122,000 head for Wednesday, taking the weekly total to 364,000 head. That is up 1,000 head from last week but down 11,301 head below the same week last year. 

Jun 24 Live Cattle  closed at $184.175, up $1.200,

Aug 24 Live Cattle  closed at $181.675, up $1.250,

Oct 24 Live Cattle  closed at $184.650, up $1.500,

May 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $250.375, up $1.425,

Aug 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $262.900, up $3.075,

Sep 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $263.750, up $2.625,

On the date of publication, Alan Brugler did not have (either directly or indirectly) positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.