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The Cattle Range Weekly Market Summary provides market data for the informed cattleman. Current industry news & commentary as well as a comprehensive comparison of the past week's prices from around the country in comparison to the previous week, month, 6 months ago, 1 year ago, & 5 year average.  The data is compiled from a variety of sources and is organized to provide insight in determining market movement and trends.
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SAMPLE...Market Summary for the week ending April 5th...
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  • Bullish: For the week, stocker & feeder cattle were higher, slaughter cattle steady to slightly higher, & corn significantly lower.
  • Bearish: People without jobs consume less beef and a higher dollar restricts exports.
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The Cattle Range 10-Day Market Trend:
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An indicator of overall cattle market strength.
The angle indicates direction & velocity of the trend.
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The Trendline is based on daily market factors for the past 10 days.
The daily factors are weighted calculations of the cumulative Gain/(Loss)
of 10 major market factors compared to the previous trading day.
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National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:
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RECEIPTS:        Auctions     Direct    Video/Internet     Total
This Week         216,700     57,400         5,800         279,900
Last Week         162,000     59,700        26,000         247,700
Last Year           206,800     36,000       14,900         257,700
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Compared to last week, the entire feeder cattle industry experienced the full effect of the bullish events from the Thursday before Good Friday.  All weights of feeder and stocker cattle traded 3.00-10.00 higher with pee-wee steer calves weighing under 450 lbs as much as 15.00 higher.  The only markets that were not sharply higher this week, were the late-week Thursday and Friday auction markets that received the jolt before Easter.  The corn stocks information turned out to be instigator of the turnaround with old crop nearby CBOT contracts now roughly 1.00 lower than before last Thursday’s report to near 6.30/bu.  New crop corn contracts lost less than half as much ground but still sit around 1.00 under May contracts which sounds a whole lot better to cattle feeders than the 7.00/bu range they have been feeding for months.

Drastic improvements in the weather across the country also did its part in adding demand to the feeder market, especially on stocker cattle that are in suitable condition for immediate turn-out and compensatory gain on greening pastures.  At the OKC-West Livestock Market in El Reno, OK a load of thin fleshed steers weighing 570 lbs brought 182.25 while another pot load weighing 634 lbs sold for 164.00.  Much of the Southern Plains received more beneficial moisture this past week but many major grazing areas (including the Flint Hills of Kansas) are still reeling from drought and will need significant runoff for drinking water before cattle can be turned out.  However, “grass fever” is in full swing following the warm up and the confidence boosting market signals from late last week with most major salebarns noticing new buyer numbers as local backgrounders entered the mix.

As frustrating as cattle feeding can be with expensive overhead and constant ration adjustments to fluctuations in feedstuff prices, grazing can be just as satisfying.  No cattle grazer can deny the enjoyment of releasing a set of stockers onto a fresh pasture as they are torn between their desires to explore their new home or put their heads down to partake in some sweet green grass.  There’s no doubt that bovines were placed on this earth to graze and the inexpensive growth and gains backgrounders can receive on pasture are what motivates them to seemingly assemble their stockers earlier each year.  Fed cattle sold fully steady with last week’s highs from 128.00-129.00 and the market has again found itself at the all-time record high resistance point of 130.00.  This week’s reported auction volume included 61 percent over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.

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Stocker Steers:
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Feeder Steers:
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Five Year Moving Average - Stocker & Feeder Steers:
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Cattle Futures:
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After rising moderately Thursday night, cattle futures turned downward in response to the weak result of the monthly U.S. Employment report. The fact that late actions by Japanese central bankers have sent the yen sharply lower may also be undercutting the livestock markets, since that raises the relative cost of American red meat in that country and probably across East Asia. June cattle dropped 0.85 cents to 121.50 cents/pound at their Friday afternoon settlement, while December tumbled 1.00 cent to 128.05. May feeder cattle futures dove 1.65 cents to 144.30 cents/pound, and August plunged 1.62 cents to 151.20.
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Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs:
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  • Woodward, OK
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-5 yrs 975-1150 lbs 6-8 months 1125.00-1335.00.  Medium and Large 2  5-10 yrs 1050-1250 lbs 3-8 months 950.00-1100.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  5-8 yrs 1000-1200 lbs w/100-150 lb calves 1325.00-1550.00.
  • Oklahoma City, OK
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 1100-1470 lbs 3-8 months 1185.00-1360.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-9 yrs 950-1325 lbs 3-8 months 800.00-1135.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 1100-1450 lbs w/125-300 lbs 1435.00-1485.00, few 1575.00-1700.00.  Medium and Large 2  1150-1325 lbs w/50-200 lb calves 1210.00-1375.00. 
  • Joplin, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 900-1340 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 950.00-1310.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 1000-1200 lbs w/baby to 150 lb calves 1200.00-1550.00, short solid mouth 900-1200 lbs w/baby-200 lbs 1050.00-1360.00.
  • Springfield, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-6 yrs 1050-1300 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1050.00-1325.00, pkg. blks 1360.00, 1st stage 840-1220 lbs 910.00-1100.00; short solid mouth to aged 2nd-3rd stage 1135-1278 lbs 910.00-1000.00.  Large 1-2  3 yrs to short solid mouth 2nd-3rd stage 1385-1545 lbs 1100.00-1350.00; broken mouth pkg. 2nd-3rd stage 1415 lbs 1020.00.  Medium and Large 2  3-4 yrs 2nd stage 1080-1090 lbs 975.00-1060.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  5-6 yrs 1300-1345 lbs w/baby calves 1400.00.  Large 1-2  5-6 yrs 1575-1815 lbs w/250-280 lb calves 1600.00-1835.00.  Medium 1-2  5-6 yrs 900-1025 lbs w/225-425 lb calves re-bred 1435.00-1610.00. 
  • West Plains, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  4-7 yrs 1035-1250 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1125.00-1200.00, 3-7 yrs 1050-1300 lbs 1st thru 3rd stage 75.00-90.00 per cwt, few pkgs blk 1115-1260 lbs 1st and 2nd stage 98.00-105.00.  Small and Medium 1-2  3-7 yrs 820-1035 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 825.00-1075.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium 1-2  3-6 yrs 850-1000 lbs thin w/baby to 250 lb calves 1175.00-1325.00. 
  • St. Joseph, MO
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-6 yrs 1200-1350 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1100.00-1225.00, 7 yrs to short solid mouthed 1075.00-1125.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  5-7 yrs 1000-1200 lbs w/100-250 lb calves 1500.00-1550.00; short solid mouthed 1350.00-1450.00, pkg w/300 lb calves 1500.00; pkg similar aged pairs 1150.00. 
  • Pratt, KS
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  Solid mouth 1485-1585 lbs w/150-200 lb calves 1450.00-1550.00; Short Solid to Broken Mouth 1435 lbs w/new born calves 1270.00.  Large 2 Solid Mouth pkg 1377 lbs w/150-200 lb calves 1295.00.
  • Dodge City, KS
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 925 lbs w/150-200 lb calves 1410.00; Solid Mouth 940-950 lbs w/150-200 lb calves 1200.00-1280.00. 
  • Riverton, WY
    • Bred Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 Heifers 890-1070 lbs 950.00-1025.00, Young 1095-1350 lbs 1100.00-1400.00, Middle Aged (Short Solids) 1125-1485 lbs 1025.00-1300.00; Aged (Short Term) 1070-1460 lbs 725.00-1000.00. 
    • Pairs: Medium-Large 1 Young pkg 1135 lbs w/150 lb calves 1800.00, Middle Aged (Short Solids) 1475-1640 lbs w/110-125 lb calves 1400.00-1500.00; Aged (Short term) pkg 1505 lbs w/120 lb calves 1225.00. 
  • Clovis, NM
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 890-1240 lbs 6-8 months 900.00-1225.00; Middle aged 700-925 lbs 3-6 months 625.00-875.00; aged 865-1195 lbs 6-8 months bred 710.00-885.00. 
  • Roswell, NM
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  Young 925-1450 lbs 3-8 months 900.00-1210.00, middle aged 940-1200 lbs 3-8 months 900.00-1085.00, aged 815-1057 lbs 6-8 months 650.00-850.00.  Pairs: Medium and Large 1-2 young 700-1220 lbs w/80-300 lb calves 950.00-1275.00, middle aged 920-1156 lbs w/100-175 lb calves 1050.00-1300.00. 
  • Mississippi
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-8 yrs 850-1350 lbs 4-8 months 900.00-1300.00.  Small and Medium 1-2  2-8 years 4-8 months 700-1100 lbs 800.00-1100.00.
  • Arkansas
    • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 850-1250 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 95.00-105.00 per cwt, 950.00-1050.00; 8-10 yrs 800-1200 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 70.00-80.00 per cwt, 875.00-975.00. 
    • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 yrs 800-1200 lbs w/100-200 lb calves 1200.00-1300.00; w/200-300 lb calves 1550.00-1650.00.  Small 1 and Medium 2  7+ yrs 750-900 lbs w/100-200 lb calves 700.00-800.00. 

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Canadian Cattle Prices:
Prices have been converted to U.S. $/CWT.  Grades changed to approximate U.S. equivalents
Exchange Rate: Canadian dollar equivalent to $ 0.9858 U.S. dollars
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Prices for the week ending March 29th:
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CPI Shows Beef Facing Strong Headwinds:
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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a collection of items from multiple sectors of the economy to form a singular basket of goods so prices can be compared over time.  The CPI also has many sub categories. For the purpose of this analysis, meats, poultry, and dairy products will be the focus.  Because the CPI is a set basket of goods, these categories are not all encompassing. Meats represent selected retail cuts of beef and veal, a few pork items, and other meats (like hot dogs). Poultry largely is chicken and turkey. Dairy includes fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, and other products.

All food and beverage categories experienced strong upward price trends leading up to the recession in 2008. From 2007 to 2008, the CPI food and beverage basket rose 10.9 points, compared to an annual previous 10 year average gain of 4.6. The recession caused a small drop in the all food and beverages index, however, prices returned to pre-recession levels by the end of 2010 and have been increasing ever since. Sub categories within all food and beverage were quite different. Dairy prices grew more than 30 points in the 18 months prior to the peak and had the largest decline losing more than 20 points and bottoming in late 2009. Dairy products took the longest amount of time to return to pre-recession price levels, almost 2 years.  Meats lost 13.5 points from the peak to recession trough, while poultry lost only 6.0 points. Both meats and poultry were back to pre-recession numbers in less than year and a half.

Post-recession price gains were quite strong particularly for meats. Since the bottom in 2009 meat prices generally accelerated faster than both dairy and poultry and are now the highest of the three at 233.1. However, year-over-year meat price gains have slowed, especially since early 2012.  Poultry on the other hand has had much steadier gains and has not shown signs of slowing. The trend line from the lowest point indicates the CPI poultry category adds 0.75 points every month and is currently only 5.6 points behind meats at 227.5, narrowing their long term price discount to meats. Dairy product retail prices have had the rockiest recovery and continue to struggle. A lengthy recovery from the recession has led to the smallest gain since 2009. Dairy products currently are only 4.8 points higher than the peak in 2008, at 219.5 points. 

Slow recent rates of CPI growth indicate meats and dairy products have some strong domestic headwinds to face moving forward.   Retail meat cuts could struggle against consumer price push back particularly in the beef complex.

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Brazil Beef Exports Up 25 percent:
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Brazil's beef exports jumped 25 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same period a year earlier, thanks to a more favorable exchange rate and increased demand abroad, the head of the country's main beef industry group said on Friday. Brazil, the world's top beef exporter, shipped 324,500 tonnes abroad in the first three months of 2013. Profits from those exports rose 18 percent to $1.44 billion. Profits increased even though the average price per tonne of beef fell 5.5 percent to $4.62 in March compared with $4.88 from the same month a year earlier.

Brazil's currency, the real, bid 1.99 to the dollar on Friday, 1 percent stronger from the previous day but 8.6 percent weaker from a year earlier.

"The exchange rate is helping, the average price fell and this increased the volume exported, we were more competitive," said Fernando Sampaio, the Executive Director of Abiec.

Sales to Russia, the top buyer of Brazilian beef, as well as Hong Kong, Venezuela, Chile, Egypt and Europe accounted for 60 percent of exports in the period.

"Sales went well in all these markets, but we beat a record in exports to Hong Kong, reflecting strong consumption in China and Southeast Asia," Sampaio said.

Exports grew even though a few small buyers have banned imports of Brazilian beef since the World Animal Health Organization said late last year that a cow that died in 2010 had atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the prion that causes mad disease, though it did not actually develop the dreaded illness.

Though Brazil is the world's top meat exporter, it actually consumes 80 percent of the beef it produces domestically. Meatpacker Marfrig and JBS, the world's top beef producer, have said they expect an increase in the number of cattle available for slaughter in the second quarter of 2013, as the traditional rainy season ends in Brazil.

Renato Costa, chief executive of JBS, said at an event on Thursday he expected the number of cattle moved off of pastures and onto feed lots in Brazil to grow by 10 percent this year, driven by lower feed costs.

Brazil, which is famed for its grass-fed beef, is confining more animals to feed lots and converting degraded pastures into soybean fields.

The country is expected to harvest record soy and corn crops this season, lowering global and domestic prices of those commodities, which are used to make animal feed.

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Photo of the Week:
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  • 70 Reg. Angus Rep. Heifers... N. Central WY*
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    Russia to Ban Meat From Most Canadian & Mexican Suppliers:
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    Russia plans to ban meat imports from most Canadian and Mexican suppliers from April 8 over concerns about the use of the feed additive ractopamine, Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary service (VPSS) said on Friday.

    "More than 50 percent of Canadian companies will be excluded from the list of suppliers," VPSS spokesman Alexei Alekseenko said.

    Russia also plans to ban about 80 percent of Mexican meat importers from April 8, Interfax news agency reported earlier on Friday, citing the head of VPSS Sergei Dankvert.

    Canada was the largest pork supplier to Russia and accounted for 25 percent of its imports in 2012, Sergei Yushin, head of Russia's National Meat Association, told Reuters. About 5 percent of imported beef came to Russia from Mexico last year.  VPSS's list of Canadian pork suppliers, published on its website www.fsvps.ru, includes about 88 companies, while the list for Mexico includes 20 names. A VPSS spokesman could not comment on whether these lists had been updated.

    Used as a growth stimulant to make meat leaner, ractopamine is banned in some countries over concerns that residues could remain in the meat and cause health problems, despite scientific evidence indicating that it is safe.

    Since December, Russia has only accepted meat from Canadian livestock that were never fed ractopamine - which was already a tiny portion of the cattle herd, said John Masswohl, director of government and international relations at the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. Now Russia will only accept meat from ractopamine-free animals that are processed in Canadian plants that do not also handle livestock that have been raised on the stimulant - and such plants do not exist in Canada, Masswohl said.

    "You're taking a very bad existing situation, which limits (beef) trade to almost nothing, and making it nothing."

    Cargill Ltd and JBS USA Holdings Inc, are the biggest beef packers in Canada.

    "Our government is disappointed that despite our collaborative efforts, the Russian government is moving forward with this measure not rooted in science," said Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, in an email statement to Reuters. "We continue to work aggressively with Canadian industry to restore their access into the important Russian market."

    Russia is a small, but fast-growing market for Canadian beef, worth about C$15 million ($14.7 million) in 2011. Russia is the third-largest market for Canadian pork, worth about C$500 million a year, said Jacques Pomerleau, executive director of Canada Pork International, a marketing promotion agency.

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    Shootin' the Bull:
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    In my opinion, fat cattle futures were unable to hold last weeks gains.  Extremely poor economic data, coupled with Japans continuation of currency manipulation, began to douse the fire that last weeks supply issues heated up.  While supply continues to be viewed as a very positive price factor, demand continues to be anticipated to be flat at best by most prognosticators.  I lean more towards demand improving some as the warmer weather begins to finally make its way across the US.  I do understand the cautiousness of traders in regards to the recent economic development. Some shorter term note rates on instruments fell to new historical lows today.  Even longer term note and bond instruments rates fell sharply over the past few weeks and accelerated those declines on Thursday and Friday.  The fear that all of the quantitative easing liquidity has done nothing to spur economic growth leads some to guess what the Fed's next move may be.  It is perceived that if the near 5 trillion dollars pumped into the economy so far hasn't helped, what's another trillion or two going to do? The overlapping of the March 24th high is bothersome. It gives the first impression of the rally to be just a correction of the stronger down trend.  The oscillator nearly made it back to the zero line, but has turned back south as of Thursday's trade.  I view the price for June and August as attractive due to the previous cash lows this year being at the $122.00 level.  The developments this week has me rethinking just how good is the economy?  While I am not blind to the thoughts that throwing money and extending unemployment benefits was ill advised, I did believe that the recent status quo was going to be enough to keep beef prices from moving sharply lower.  Supply is anticipated to continue to be supportive for months to come.  So, that puts a great deal of pressure on the demand side to keep prices from moving lower. 

    The fundamentals of feeder cattle is perceived to have changed.  The lower, and anticipated to continue lower, corn price is perceived to have changed the appetite for risk of feedlots.  This anticipated  increase in appetite from feedlots, coupled with the anticipated demand from the cow/calf sector on heifers, is perceived to make feeder cattle higher.  The wave count for feeders remains unchanged.  The major wave 4 correction is perceived as complete and the minor workings of an intermediate wave 1 are perceived in motion.  The wave count leads me to anticipate a significant rally in feeder cattle prices.  This won't be as visible on the futures due to the excessive premiums they already are carrying.  However, watch the feeder cattle index for further signs of strengthening. 

    There is little left to say about the corn market.  The infrastructure created to produce corn is running like a fine tuned manufacturing company.  The ground needed to produce is secured, the latest updated equipment is waiting to roll, and the seed genetics are anticipated to produce a high quality and yielding product.  If you think about what this does, it lowers the price for the product.  Efficiency is one of the best ways to lower the price of a product that I know of.  This year, the efficiency to plant and harvest a historical number of acres is at about as high a level as I have ever seen.  If you missed the opportunity to sell your physical corn last week, it is not too late.  Yes, it is over a $1.00 cheaper, but corn prices are still anticipated to move lower.  The premium is quickly oozing out of May contract.  This may produce some incentive to store if May begins to trade under July.  However, in such a short period of time until May, I would not bet on that happening to any great extent.  My recommendation is to still make physical corn sales and if you can not stand not owning corn, you can still own the July calls with the underlying July futures at a discount to the May.  Barring a weather problem of some kind, I continue to anticipate both old crop and new crop corn prices to deteriorate. 

    Christopher B. Swift is a commodity broker and branch manager of Rosenthal Collins Group Nashville, TN office. Mr. Swift authors the daily commentaries "mid day cattle comment" and "Shootin' the Bull" found on his website www.shootinthebull.com

    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.

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    The Saga of Bart -- Trials & Tribulations of a Cattle Buyer
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    Bart was receiving cattle several hundred miles from home and was in the motel lounge the night before.  He couldn’t help but notice an attractive woman sitting alone at the end of the bar. 

    He slithered over, sat down next to her, and suavely asked, “Where have you been all my life?" 

    "Well," she said, "For the first half of it, I wasn't even born."

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    Submit a "Bart Joke"  If we use it, you'll receive a $25.00 Gift Certificate to The Cattle Range Mercantile.
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    Out of Kilter:
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    A good way to determine if something is, “going on” in a market is by noticing when market relationships are out of kilter. Cattle and grains typically have a positive correlation. They tend to move in tandem. Moderately increase the price of corn and the cattle will follow suit. The opposite is also true as the cost of feed declines, so does the cost of production. However, when this relationship breaks down, it’s because one market can’t keep pace or pass on the costs of the other. 

    That is what occurred last spring with cattle and corn. The price of feed exceeded the livestock market’s ability to pass on the costs. The current trend is narrowing of the range.

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

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    5 Year Moving Average:
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    Crude/Cattle Correlation:
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    The chart below shows a fairly consistent correlation between the prices for crude oil and slaughter cattle.  Since it is unlikely the price of cattle affects the price of oil on the world market, it might be assumed the price of crude oil affects the price of cattle, but that is unlikely as well.  It is more likely that economic factors affecting demand for crude oil have a similar effect on demand for beef.

    Accordingly, in the absence of geo/political events disrupting or distorting oil supply, since price trends occur slightly sooner in the crude oil market, it appears that crude oil might be a good indicator of the direction of near-term cattle prices. 

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    3 Year Moving Average:
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    Slaughter Cows & Bulls Average Yielding Prices:
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    Slaughter cows and bulls unevenly steady.  USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was 170.50 -- Down $0.44 from last Friday.

    Prices paid for average dressing:

                    %Lean    Weight        Colorado        Oklahoma      Alabama 
    Breakers   75-80%    1245-1685     81.50-85.00     83.00-84.50    75.00-82.00
    Boners      80-85%    1000-1580     82.00-86.00     85.00-91.50    80.50-85.00
    Lean         85-90%    1000-1400     80.00-84.00     78.00-83.50    73.00-78.00
    Bulls         88-92%    1200-2350     96.00-98.00     99.00-104.00   97.00-101.50

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    Weekly Hay Reports: "Click" on links for detailed report
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    Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review:
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    The USDA Market News Service reports feed ingredient prices for the week ending April 02, were mixed. Soybean Meal was 10.00 to 24.10 lower. Cottonseed Meal was 8.00 lower to 10.00 higher.  Whole Cottonseed was 7.00 lower to 6.00 higher, mostly 3.00 to 7.00 lower.  Canola Meal was 6.00 to 18.10 lower.  Linseed Meal was 5.00 higher.  Sunflower Meal was steady to 5.00 lower.  Crude Soybean Oil was 23 to 98 points lower. Crude Corn Oil was steady.  Meat and Bone Meal was 55.00 lower to 10.00 higher, mostly 10.00 to 55.00 lower.  Blood Meal was steady to 25.00 lower.  Feather Meal was 40.00 lower to 35.00 higher, mostly 30.00 to 40.00 lower.  Fishmeal was steady.  Corn Hominy was steady to 10.00 lower. Corn Gluten Feed was steady to 35.00 lower.  Corn Gluten Meal was 5.00 to 75.00 lower, mostly 10.00 to 30.00 lower. Distillers Dried Grains were 23.00 lower to 5.00 higher, mostly 10.00 to 18.00 lower.  Wheat Middlings were steady to 17.00 lower.
    • Soybean Meal:
      • Offers of high protein Soybean Meal in Central Illinois were 21.10 to 24.10 lower from 410.10-414.10; Iowa was 13.10 to 17.10 lower from 396.10-407.10; Kansas City was 17.10 to 18.10 lower from 404.10-407.10; Minneapolis was 14.10 to 18.10 lower from 396.10-402.10; St. Louis was 10.00 to 19.00 lower from 446.00-456.00; Memphis was 17.30 to 18.30 lower from 436.50-437.50; Portland was 16.10 to 18.10 lower from 451.10-460.10; BN Santa Fe delivered Chino Valley was 14.10 to 20.10 lower from 451.10-454.10; Union Pacific delivered Chino Valley was 14.10 to 20.10 lower from 451.10-454.10. 
    • Cottonseed Meal:
      • Cottonseed Meal FOB the Central San Joaquin Valley in California was 6.00 to 8.00 lower with offers from 356.00-370.00; Kansas City was steady from 350.00-355.00; St. Louis was steady to 5.00 higher from 335.00-350.00; Memphis was steady to 10.00 higher from 310.00-320.00.
    • Whole Cottonseed: 
      • Whole Cottonseed FOB the Central San Joaquin Valley in California was 7.00 lower to 6.00 higher with offers at 378.00; delivered to Portland was 3.00 to 5.00 lower at 375.00; Memphis was 5.00 lower at 275.00.
    • Yellow Corn Hominy:
      • Yellow Corn Hominy in Central Illinois was 5.00 lower at 220.00; Kansas City (Northwest) was 5.00 lower at 235.00; St. Louis was steady at 252.00; rail delivered California was 8.00 to 10.00 lower with offers from 290.00-300.00.
    • Corn Gluten:
      • Corn Gluten Feed in the Midwest (IA, IL, IN) was 15.00 to 35.00 lower from 170.00-185.00; Kansas City was 25.00 to 30.00 lower from 220.00-245.00; St. Louis was steady to 5.00 lower from 205.00-220.00. Corn Gluten Meal, 60 percent protein in the Midwest (IA, IL, IN) was 10.00 lower from 530.00-575.00; Kansas City was 30.00 to 75.00 lower from 605.00-660.00; St. Louis was 5.00 to 20.00 lower from 580.00-610.00; Memphis was 30.00 lower at 570.00. 
    • Distillers Dried Grains:
      • Distillers Dried Grain prices in Eastern Corn-belt were 15.00 lower from 245.00-265.00; Chicago area was 5.00 to 110.00 lower at 255.00; Lawrenceburg, IN was not available; Nebraska was 15.00 to 17.00 lower from 241.00-255.00; Minnesota was 10.00 to 16.00 lower from 240.00-250.00; Kansas was 10.00 lower from 270.00-280.00; Iowa was steady to 5.00 higher from 255.00-275.00; Northern Missouri was 18.00 to 23.00 lower from 250.00-255.00; St. Louis was 15.00 lower from 255.00-270.00; Wisconsin was 10.00 to 14.00 lower from 248.00-265.00; rail delivered California was 3.00 to 23.00 lower with offers at 297.00.
    • Wheat Middlings:
      • Wheat Middlings in Buffalo, NY was 5.00 to 15.00 lower from 200.00-210.00; Kansas City was 10.00 lower from 190.00-200.00; Minneapolis was steady from 215.00-225.00; St. Louis 10.00 to 15.00 lower from 205.00-235.00; Memphis was 5.00 lower at 265.00.

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    Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection:
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    Total red meat production under Federal inspection for the week ending Saturday, April 06, 2013 was estimated at 907.6 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 2.8 percent lower than a week ago and 2.8 percent lower than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 1.9 percent lower compared to the previous year.
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    National Sheep Summary:
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    Compared to last week slaughter lambs were steady to 40.00 higher.  Slaughter ewes were uneven, mostly steady to 10.00 lower. Feeder lambs were steady in light test.  At San Angelo, TX 3426 head sold in a one day sale.  No sales in Equity Electronic Auction.  In direct trading slaughter ewes not tested and no comparison on feeder lambs. 2900 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs under 170 lbs were 4.00 higher, over 170 lbs. were not well tested and 10,900 head of formula sales of dressed lambs under 55 lbs were not well tested; 55-65 lbs were 4.00-5.00 lower; 65-75 lbs were 5.00-6.00 higher; 75-85 lbs were 2.00 lower; over 85 lbs were steady.  5,406 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs and down sharply lower and 45 lbs and up weak to lower.

    "Click Here" to view this week's prices

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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus:
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    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 a statistically extreme value.  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 too 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.

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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus - Cattle
    Last Updated: April 2nd
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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus - Corn
    Last Updated: April 2nd
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    National Economic News:
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    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 40.86 points or 0.3% on Friday to close at 14,565.25. For the week the blue chip index dropped 0.1%. The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 dropped 6.70 points or 0.4% to close at 1,553.28 on the day. For the week, the index lost 1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 21.12 points or 0.7% to close Friday at 3,203.86. The technology heavy index lost 2% for the week.
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    • The economy generated just 88,000 jobs in March - the smallest gain in 10 months - and more people dropped out of the labor force, adding to a fresh pile of evidence that the pace of hiring in the United States has slowed. The unemployment rate fell a tick to 7.6% from 7.7%, the lowest rate since December 2007, but the decline stemmed from fewer Americans looking for work, according to Labor Department data. The jobs report fell well short of Wall Street forecasts. Economists expected the number of new jobs to increase by 190,000 last month and for the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7.7%. Employment gains for February and January, however, were both revised higher and people who do hold jobs put in more hours, Labor said Friday. The number of new jobs created in February was revised to 268,000 from 236,000, while January's figure was revised up to 148,000 from 119,000. The biggest increase in hiring in March occurred in professional services (51,000) and health care (23,000). Retailers and government trimmed employment. Average hourly wages edged up 1 cent to $23.82, reducing the 12-month increase to 1.8%. The average workweek rose 0.1 hour to 34.6, a sign that workers are putting in more overtime. The participation rate, a measure of health in the labor market, slid again to 63.3%, marking the lowest level since 1979.
    • The Labor Department reports new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 28,000 to 385,000 last week. Claims were expected to fall from 357,000 to 350,000. 
    • The Commerce Department reports orders for manufactured goods increased 3% in February from the month before, slightly higher than the 2.9% rise economists had expected. However, orders excluding transportation equipment increased just 0.3%. 
    • The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing PMI gauge slid to 51.3 in March from 54.2 in February, missing estimates of a reading of 54.2. Readings above 50 point to expansion while those below indicate contraction.  Its service-sector index fell to 54.4 last month from 56 in February, falling short of economists' forecasts for 55.8, and is the weakest reading since August. Readings above 50 point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction.
    • The Commerce Department reports the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $43.0 billion in February, from an unrevised $44.5 billion in January as crude oil imports fell to their lowest level since March 1996. Analysts expected the trade gap to widen slightly to $44.6 billion.
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    Cold and wet weather in the U.S. Midwest and much of the Plains will continue to slow spring fieldwork and early corn plantings while dry weather will continue to stress wheat and grazing lands in the far Southwest Plains, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday. 

    "Temperatures will remain cold and it definitely will keep soil temperatures low, so plantings will remain behind normal," said Don Keeney, a meteorologist for MDA Weather Services. 

    Keeney said temperatures would warm up dramatically by mid-April, which will allow rapid corn plantings and will boost growth of the U.S. winter wheat crop. 

    "Most of the east-central Plains and western Midwest will receive rains next week," he said. However, it will remain dry in the far southwest Plains. "Not a lot of rain the next two weeks for the southwest ... Texas and southwest Oklahoma will remain dry," Keeney said. 

    Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Thursday said at least the southwestern quarter of the Plains wheat belt is still expected to remain dry and drought-stress would continue. 

    The worst drought in more than 50 years has left the U.S. Plains wheat crop struggling against dry soils. Rains now will help the crop get off to a better start following its break from winter dormancy. 

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its weekly crop progress report released on Monday that 34 percent of the winter wheat crop was in good to excellent condition, down from 58 percent in that category a year ago. 

    Winter wheat is off to its worst start in early April in 11 years, hobbled by low soil moisture in the southern Plains, even as storms in recent weeks brought precipitation to a few areas. 

    Corn planting expanded in a few southern states, although soil temperatures in the core states of Iowa and Illinois remain too cold for seeding, the USDA said. 

    Keeney said that as of March 23, 6 to 8 inches of rain were needed to bring soil moisture levels back to normal in much of eastern Nebraska and a corner of northeast Kansas, while 2 inches to 4 inches were needed in the balance of the central Plains and western Iowa. Soil moisture levels had returned to normal in an area from eastern Iowa and Missouri eastward. 

    Recent snowstorms and rainfall have helped diminish drought in the U.S. Plains and other parched areas of the United States. 

    Eight states continued to have some areas suffering from the worst level of drought, dubbed "exceptional" by the Drought Monitor, a report issued by a consortium of state and federal climatologists each week. But those areas were shrinking. 

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    "Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the past 12 weeks
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    Looking Ahead:
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    • The next 5 days (April 4–8, 2013) are expected to be dry in the desert Southwest, southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains, and the central and southern parts of Texas. Most of the contiguous 48 states, however, should receive at least light precipitation, with 0.25 to 1.5 inches forecast for much of the country. Higher totals, generally 1.5 to 3.5 inches, are anticipated in the Pacific Northwest and in the Southeast from the lower Delmarva Peninsula southwestward through northern Florida.
    • For the ensuing 5 days (April 9–13, 2013), the odds favor below-median precipitation from the Rockies westward to the Pacific Coast, except along the northern tier of this region. In contrast, above-median amounts are favored from central Texas, the east-central Great Plains, and the upper Midwest eastward to near the Atlantic Coast, excluding the immediate Coastal Plain and most of Florida.

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    Spring Highs:
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    One short week ago the analysts were talking as though the spring highs were in. April live cattle futures were trading at $125 and the June contract dipped close to $120. Cash cattle traded down to $124 and most cattle feeders were fully prepared for cattle to trade lower and the trend line looked dismal. April futures rallied to $129 and spring is awakening for some. 

    Cash cattle prices have not experienced large volatile moves this year. The trading range for fed cattle has been narrow for many months ranging from $123- $128. In the north a few cattle broke out of the range this past week selling for $129 and certainly $130 stands as a psychological barrier to be tested in the coming week. Cattle have been unable to penetrate the $130 and it remains as a technical and fundamental barrier. Box prices have yet to demonstrate they can sustain a level above $200 although they have briefly traded there. 

    With breakevens close to $140, cattle owners are wondering if there will ever be a light at the end of the tunnel. The proof for this proposition is going to be twofold and intertwined. It will require modeling a new price level in the retail stores and testing to see if beef will sell at another level up. We all know some beef will sell at another level up in price but will a sufficient amount sell to stabilize box and live prices at a higher level. Export demand also will need to support a higher level and much of this trade centers on the value of the dollar. 

    The second part of the puzzle is the price of competing meats. Beef's selling ratio to pork and poultry is high and will test the consumers tolerance for competing meats. You can only eat so much pork or poultry before consumers preferences turn back to beef. But always looming in the background is the food budget and allocations to personal preferences. Some of these decisions circle back to other factors in the budget such as gasoline prices and other essentials. 

    This past week certainly put a note of optimism back in a beleaguered industry. It didn't assure a return to a bull market, it only promised a hope and the world is full of dashed hopes. It does present a more viable feeding model. Corn prices show signs of decline and feeder cattle prices are $20 cwt. under last year. This is occurring amid a sea of red ink. 

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    Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)
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    • Typical closeout for steers sold this week & hedged when placed on feed: ($52.17)
    • Typical closeout for un-hedged steers sold this week: ($131.29)
    • Projected closeout based on the futures & estimated Cost of Gain for steers placed on feed this week: ($120.67)
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    Slaughter Cattle:
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    Friday negotiated cash trade was limited on light demand in all major feeding regions. Not enough sales to establish an adequate market trend.  The last established market in the Southern Plains was on Wednesday with live sales selling at 128.00.  In Nebraska, on Wednesday live sales sold at 129.00. On Thursday, dressed sales sold from 204.00-205.00.  In Colorado, live sales on Wednesday sold at 129.00. In the Western Cornbelt, on Thursday, live sales sold from 128.00-129.00 with dressed sales sold from 204.00-205.00.
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    Weekly Overview:
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    For the week: 
    • Texas live sales steady.
    • Kansas live sales steady.
    • Nebraska live sales steady, dressed sales 1.00 higher.
    • Colorado live sales steady.
    • Iowa/Minnesota live and dressed sales 1.00 to 2.00 higher.
    CATTLE Slaughter under Federal Inspection:

    Friday   (est)                         113,000    Saturday (est)                         10,000
    Week ago (est)                      113,000    Week ago (est)                       20,000
    Year ago (act)                       120,000    Year ago (act)                           5,000
    Week to date (est)                 583,000    Week to date (est)                 593,000
    Same Period Last Week (est)  579,000    Same Period Last Week (est)  599,000
    Same Period Last Year (act)   617,000    Same Period Last Year (act)    621,000

    The average live weight of cattle slaughtered in the Texas Panhandle for the week ending 03-30-2013 was 1230 lbs with 40 percent heifers compared to 1228 lbs and 40 percent heifers the previous week and 1232 lbs and 37 percent heifers the same week a year ago.

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    National Grain Summary:
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    Corn and soybeans continued to drift lower while wheat found support and closed higher.  Corn was under pressure all week with soybeans not doing much better as South America is gearing up for their harvest.  Wheat found support on unfavorable weather conditions.

    Corn futures were weak Friday, with the negative effects of the monthly Employment report and the poor reactions by the equity indexes apparently weighing upon prices. Dollar gains versus the Japanese yen after that country undercut the value of their currency may also have weighed upon exported commodities such as corn. May corn ended the week having slipped 0.25 cent to $6.29/bushel Friday afternoon, while December dipped 5.0 cents to $5.35.

    Talk that China will be forced to cull a large portion of its domestic poultry flock in its efforts to contain the latest bird flu outbreak seemed to depress soybean futures again Friday. Of more substantial concern may be the huge South American crop and its potential impact upon global soy values when the current harvest is completed. Meanwhile, firming palm oil markets apparently supported soy oil values. May soybeans closed 10.0 cents lower at$13.6175/bushel Friday, while May soyoil climbed 0.43 cents to 48.83 cents/pound, and May meal lost $5.4 to $391.8/ton.

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    Five Year Moving Average - Corn
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