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Weekly Market Summary
For the week ending February 24, 2017
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The Cattle Range Market Trendlines:
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Fed cattle and boxed beef surged higher this week while prices for stocker calves & feeder cattle, along with cattle futures, were slightly higher to mostly lower, especially feeder cattle futures.  Fall live cattle futures, currently trading around $102.50, make it difficult for stocker calves and feeder cattle to show much strength.
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10 Day Market Trendline
Change from Previous Day: +0.06%
 Change from 10 Days Ago: +8.48%
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The Trendlines are indicators of overall cattle/beef market strength and are based on daily market factors.  Each daily factor is the aggregate weighted total of the Gain/(Loss) for 12 market indicators compared to the previous trading day. The angle indicates direction & velocity of the trend.
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30 Day Market Trendline
Change from 30 Days Ago: +0.91%
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  • Click Here.to receive the WMS on Saturday mornings or have it sent to friends & associates.
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Regular Contents: 
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  • Weekly Market Overview.
  • National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary.
  • Stocker & Feeder Steers.
  • Stocker & Feeder Cattle Weekly Receipts.
  • 5 Year Moving Avg. - Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers.
  • Selected Auction Reports.
  • Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle.
  • Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs.
  • Canadian Cattle.
  • USDA National Retail Beef Report.
  • Photo of the Week.
  • Shootin' the Bull Weekly Analysis.
  • U.S. Dollar - 6 Month Chart.
  • Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers.
  • Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation.
  • Slaughter Cows & Bulls.
  • Est. Weekly Meat Production Under Federal Inspection.
  • Weekly Hay Reports.
  • Weekly Feedstuffs Market Review.
  • Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Cattle & Corn.
  • Stock Markets & Economic News.
  • Weather Outlook.
  • Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss).
  • Slaughter Cattle.
  • National Grain Summary.
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    Of Possible Interest:  The views expressed in the content below are included in the WMS because we found them to be of interest but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Cattle Range.
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    Weekly Market Overview:
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    On-Line Store
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    National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Weekly Summary:
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    RECEIPTS:  Auctions   Direct    Video/Internet     Total
    This Week     235,200     57,700         1,400          294,300 
    Last Week     257,000     35,200        26,000        318,200 
    Last Year       232,300     51,500             700         284,500 

    Compared to last week, steers and heifers traded mostly steady to 4.00 higher with instances 6.00 to 10.00 higher in areas where the calves are headed south for grazing.  Active trading this week in the major marketing areas as the feeder cattle market continues to rally and following the fed cattle trading arena.  Demand remains good for calves and stocker cattle weighing 500-700 lbs with the best demand for those that are long time weaned and good weighing conditions.  There have been some big feeders coming off wheat earlier than the typical March 15 date due to the dryness in Oklahoma (especially western Oklahoma) and the unappetizing toughness of the wheat plant itself.  Cattle have been gaining well on wheat and now with the focus turning to grain production, some good rains have come at opportune times and have covered most of the major wheat areas in Oklahoma. 

    Auctions in Nebraska on Friday this week came to a screeching halt as a result of a blizzard sweeping across the Northern Plains.  Reports of measuring snowfall in feet from eastern Wyoming and throughout the northern third of Nebraska is commonplace and after three consecutive days of temperatures in the 70's in the middle of Nebraska.  Pen conditions in northern tiered feedlots will be fodder for speculation in the coming week as that moisture creates tag on the hide.  Packers did spend more money this week on procurement as live sales sold 4.00 to 5.00 higher at 124.00-125.00 and dressed sales were 6.00 higher at 196.00 in Nebraska.  There are still plenty of ranchers willing to pay up for top quality replacement heifers and as a pretty shrewd rancher would say "It takes the same amount of money to feed a good one as a mediocre one".  Last Friday in Ft. Pierre, SD a load of 695 lb top notch heifers sold at 171.00 while two loads weighing 707 lb heifers rung the bell at 167.00 and last but certainly not least, a load of 769 lb heifers sold at 169.00/cwt or near $1300 per head. 

    Cattle on Feed Report was released Friday afternoon with February 1st at 101 percent; Placements at 111 percent and Marketings at 110 percent all coming in close to industry analyst estimates.  On Thursday, the Cold Storage Report was released with the largest January cold storage inventory on record for total beef supplies. Total red meat and poultry supplies reported at 2.222 billion lbs or 5 percent lower than last year, with pork attributing the most decline.  Beef stocks in cold storage was estimated at 537.5 million lbs, 1 percent higher than last year.  Pork stocks came in at 526.7 million lbs 11 percent lower than a year ago while chicken inventories for January came in at 774.9 million lbs, 6 percent less than last year.  Cold storage is generally not a market mover but can give analysts another segment to refer to. Auction volume this week included 61 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.

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    Stocker Steers:
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    Feeder Steers:
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    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
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    Five Year Moving Average - Stocker, Feeder, & Slaughter Steers:
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    Selected Auction Reports:
    "Click" on individual.auction links.for complete report
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    Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Co. - Salina KS
    Receipts:  3817    Last Week:  4440    Year Ago:  3613
    Compared to last week: steers 650-1000 lbs 1.00-4.00 higher; 650 lbs and under higher undertone noted. Heifers 750-900 lbs steady to 2.00 higher; 600-750 lbs 5.00-7.00 lower; 600 lbs and under lower undertone noted.

    Green Forest Livestock Auction - Green Forest AR
    Receipts:  535    Last Week:  482    Year Ago:  537
    Compared to one week earlier, slaughter cows steady to 2.00 higher, slaughter bulls steady to 3.00 higher, feeder steers lightly tested, steer calves steady to 3.00 higher, feeder heifers unevenly steady,

    Tulia Livestock Auction - Tulia TX
    Receipts:  3225    Last Week:  594    Year Ago:  1515
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers sold 1.00 to 5.00 higher.  Trade was active on very good demand.  Offering consisted of mostly yearling steers and heifers weighing 700-900 lbs.

    Mitchell Livestock Wtd Avg Report - Mitchell SD
    Receipts:  5509    Last Week:  4963    Year Ago:  6487
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers 600-650 lbs steady to 4.00 higher, over 650 lbs mostly steady to 2.00 lower with few instances seen of 4.00 to 5.00 lower on 650-750 lbs.

    Cullman Stockyard - Cullman AL
    Receipts:  926    Last Week:  884    Year Ago:  378
    Compared to last week: Slaughter cows sold steady, bulls sold 1.00 to 3.00 higher. Feeder bulls and steers sold 2.00 to 3.00 higher. Feeder heifers sold steady.

    Oklahoma National Stockyards - Oklahoma City OK
    Receipts:  8,333     Last Week:  8,286    Year ago:  7,919
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers mostly steady to 1.00 higher, 950 weights 3.00 higher.  Feeder heifers mostly 1.00 higher, but light 600 weights 3.00 lower.

    El Reno Cattle Narrative - El Reno OK
    Receipts:  8,286    Week ago:    6,336    Year ago:  9,646
    Compared to last week: Feeder steers traded mostly steady.  Feeder heifers under 800 lbs sold steady over 800 lbs 4.00-6.00 higher. Steer and heifer calves lightly tested from last weeks plainer offerings, however a higher undertone was noted.

    Joplin Regional Stockyards Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg - Carthage MO
    Receipts:  6,906    Week ago:   6,257    Year ago:  6,835
    ***CLOSE***  Compared to last week, steers and heifers traded unevenly steady. Much larger offering than originally expected but all weights and classes of cattle found very solid support throughout the day. Supply moderate to heavy.

    Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE
    Receipts:  3600    Last Week:  5223    Year Ago:  4138
    Compared to last week steers less than 650 lbs sold steady to 3.00 lower, over 650 lbs sold steady to 2.00 higher. Heifers sold steady to 2.00 higher. Demand was good from the buyers in the crowd. Around 250 head of slaughter cows sold in the run.

    Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction - Toppenish WA
    Receipts:  1540    Last Week:  2100    Year Ago:  1550
    Compared to last Thursday at the same market, stocker and feeder cattle steady in a light test. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows 1.00-2.00 lower. Slaughter bulls steady to firm.

    Cattleman's Livestock Auction - Dalhart, TX
    Cattle and Calves:  2175     Week ago:  1358      Year Ago:  1390
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steer and heifer calves under 600 lbs firm; feeder steers and heifers over 600 lbs 2.00-4.00 higher.  Supply included several load lots of 700-850 lb feeder steers and heifers off winter wheat pastures.

    Pratt Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction - Pratt, KS
    Receipts:  4570    Last Week:  3286    Year Ago:  5277
    Compared to last week: feeder steers 600-750 lbs 2.00-3.00 lower; 750-900 lbs steady to 3.00 higher. Feeder heifers 600-700 lbs steady to 2.00 lower; 700-800 lbs 1.00-3.00 higher; 800-900 lbs 1.00-3.00 lower.

    Clovis Livestock Auction - Clovis NM
    Receipts:  2643            Week Ago: 1701            Year Ago: 1742
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers under 600 lbs 6.00-12.00 higher; over 600 lbs steady to 3.00 higher, instances 7.00 higher on 600-650 lb steers. Slaughter cows and bulls 10.00-12.00 higher.

    Sioux Falls Regional Livestock wtd Avg Report - Worthing SD
    Receipts:  4940    Last Week:  5239    Year Ago:  6366
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers 600-900 lbs mostly steady to 3.00 higher, with exception of 750-800 lbs selling uneven; 900-950 lbs steady to 1.00 lower.

    Blue Grass South Livestock Market - Stanford KY
    Receipts:  635    Last Week:  625    Year Ago:  1083
    Compared to last Monday:Feeder steers under 400 lbs 6.00-10.00 higher,400-600 lbs steady,over 600 lbs 2.00-4.00 lower,Feeder heifers under 500 lbs 6.00-10.00 higher,over 500 lbs steady to 2.00 lower,Good to very good demand for feeder classes.

    Tri-State Livestock Auction Market - McCook NE
    Receipts:  1850    Last Week:  2200    Year Ago:  2600
    Compared to last week, steers and heifers were steady – 1.00 higher. Demand was good on all weights. Steers accounted for 65 percent and heifers 35 percent of the offering today.

    Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA
    Receipts:  4140    Last Week:  4746    Year Ago:  4110
    Compared to the sale last week: Feeder strs under 650 lbs. mostly 4.00-5.00 higher, feeder strs over 650 lbs. mostly 1.00-2.00 higher and feeder hfrs under 600 lbs. mostly 2.00-4.00 higher,

    Winter Livestock - La Junta CO...
    Receipts:  3027    Last Week:  2150    Year Ago:  2074
    Compared with last Tuesday: Steers under 400 lbs steady, 400-500 lbs 1.00-3.00 higher, 500-600 lbs 3.00-5.00 higher, 600-700 lbs 2.00 higher. Heifers under 500 lbs 5.00 higher, 500-600 lbs 1.00-2.00 higher, 600-700 lbs steady to 2.00 lower.

    Huss Platte Valley Auction - Kearney NE
    Receipts:  3600    Last Week:  5223    Year Ago:  4138
    Compared to last week steers less than 650 lbs sold steady to 3.00 lower, over 650 lbs sold steady to 2.00 higher. Heifers sold steady to 2.00 higher. Demand was good from the buyers in the crowd.

    Denison Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Denison IA
    Receipts:  2403    Last Week:  2415
    Compared to last week, Steers 550 to 750 lbs were steady and 750 to 950 lbs were 2 lower. Heifers 500 to 600 lbs were 3 lower and 600 to 800 lbs were mostly steady. The receipts included 52 percent heifers, 47 percent steers and 1 percent bulls.

    Russell Wtd Avg Feeder Cattle Auction - Russell IA
    Receipts:  4140    Last Week:  4746    Year Ago:  4110
    Compared to the sale last week: Feeder strs under 650 lbs. mostly 4.00-5.00 higher, feeder strs over 650 lbs. mostly 1.00-2.00 higher and feeder hfrs under 600 lbs. mostly 2.00-4.00 higher, feeder hfrs over 600 lbs. mostly 1.00-2.00 lower.

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    Direct Sales of Feeder & Stocker Cattle:
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    WY, Western NE & Western Dakotas Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
    Receipts:  2660     Week Ago:  945     Year Ago:  1067 
    Compared to last week, 850 to 900 lbs steers sold steady with no other weight comparisons. Demand was good this week with several feedlots buying county cattle. Demand was also good for the load of “Value Added” calves that carry NHTC certification (Non-Hormone Treated Cattle).

    AZ-CA-NV Weekly Feeder Cattle Review (Fri)
    Confirmed: 2385 
    Compared to last week, no sales to compare to. Trade and demand moderate.Bulk of supply consisted of Holstein steers weighing 300-325 for current to June delivery.  Heifers totaled 0 percent.  Cattle weighing over 600 lbs totaled 0 percent.

    Colorado Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
    Receipts: 5,559        Last Week 2,007        Last Year 2,263 
    Compared to last week:  No trend available for feeder steers and heifers due to last week's limited current FOB offerings. Demand moderate to good.

    IA-South MN Direct Feeder Cattle Weekly (Mon)
    Receipts:  61     Last Week:  0     Last Year: 244
    Compared to the last week:  Feeder steers and heifers again not established.  Winter storms in the north is limiting movement of cattle. 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.

    Kansas Direct Feeder Cattle Summary (Fri)
    Receipts:  3876    Last Week:  3068    Year Ago:  6849
    Compared with last week: Steers firm to 1.00 higher; heifers steady in a limited test. The week long unseasonal high temperatures left Thursday late afternoon, when a major cold front hit the state with wind gusts up to 55 mph, and temperature dropping to low 40s.

    Montana Direct Feeder Cattle Wtd Avg (Fri)
    Receipts: 269          Last Week: 0           Last Year 80 
    Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers not tested.  Supply included 89 percent over 600 lbs; 11 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:  2000    Last Week:  3100    Year Ago:  1800
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers and heifers sold steady to firm on comparable Current FOB sales.  Trade activity was moderate to good on good demand.  Supply consisted of 70 percent steers and 30 percent heifers. 

    Northwest Wtd Avg Direct Feeder Cattle Report (Fri)
    Receipts:  4650    Last Week:  1650    Year Ago:  3800
    Compared to last week, feeder cattle steady. Trade moderate with good demand as interests show willingness to forward contract supplies for summer and early fall delivery. The feeder supply included 67 percent steers and 33 percent heifers.

    Oklahoma Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
    Receipts: 3,992        Last Week 3,915        Last Year 4,089 
    Compared to last week:  Feeder steers traded mostly 1.00 lower.  Feeder heifers not well tested on current FOB Offerings. Receipts this week consisted of 100 percent over 600 lbs and 17 percent heifers.

    Texas Direct Feeder Cattle (Fri)
    Confirmed: 31,400     Last Week: 20,500    Last Year: 30,900
    Compared to last week current FOB feeder steers and heifers, 1.00 to 3.00 higher, with a much better test of current FOB steers.  Last week’s light test made comparable sales very limited in some weights.
     

  • Extensive U.S. & Canadian Auction Results are available on The Cattle Range
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    Representative Sales of Cow & Pairs:
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    Reported by.USDA Market News for the week ending February 10th
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    • El Reno, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  Heifers 800-925 lbs 4-7 months bred 675.00-85.00; 1-4 yr old 1075-1100 lbs 4-7 months bred black 1225.00-1260.00; 5-6 yr old 1100-1325 lbs 5-8 months bred 1400.00-1600.00; 1-4 yr old 875-1100 lbs 4-7 months bred 850.00-975.00; 5-8 yr old 1075-1425 lbs 2-8 months bred 1050.00-1275.00; 9-10 yr old 925-1300 lbs 5-8 months old 710.00-935.00 per head. 
    • McAlester, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-4 yr old 900-1275 lb 6-8 months bred 1010.00-1350.00; 1-8 yr old 950-1350 lbs 4-6 months bred 900.00-1250.00; 5-6 yr old 975-1400 lbs 4-8 months bred 1000.00-1325.00; 9-10 yr old 1200-1325 lbs 6-8 months bred 1000.00-1050.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-8 yr old 875-1075 lb cow w/75-200 lb calf 1000.00-1400.00; 7-8 yr old 1000-1650 lb cow w/75-425 lb calf 1175.00-1650.00; 9-10 lb cow w/100-275 lb calf 975.00-1150.00 per pair. 
    • Oklahoma City, OK:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1-6 yr old 800-1300 lbs 3-7 months bred 800.00-1150.00; 7-10 yr old 875-1200 lbs 3-7 months old 750.00-975.00 per head. 
      • Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 pkg 3 yr old 1200 lb black cow w/125 lb calf 1450.00; 4-5 yr old 800-825 lb cow w/50-75 lb calf 850.00-950.00; 9-10 yr old 1200-1250 lb cow w/75-200 lb calf 1110.00-1335.00 per pair. 
    • Roswell, NM:
      • Replacement Cows: Medium and Large 1-2 Young 875-1270 lb cows 3-8 months bred 800.00-1075.00, per head; middle aged 895-1295 lb cows 3-8 months bred 750.00-825.00, per head; aged 910-1315 lb cows 3-8 months bred 600.00-900.00, per head.  First Calf Heifers:  Medium and Large 1-2  668-825 lb cows 1-8 months bred 810.00-1000.00, per head. 
      • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2 Young 700-800 lb cows w/100-170 lb calves 800.00-875.00, per pair; aged indiv 1100 w/200 lb calf 1100.00, per pair. 
    • Salina, KS:
      • Bred Cows:  First calf heifers Medium and Large 1  1050-1190 lbs 6-9 months bred 1610.00-1925.00 per head.  Medium and Large 1-2  920-1120 lbs 6-9 months bred 1160.00-156.00 per head.  Second calf to Solid Mouth Cows Medium and Large 1 Middle-Aged 1030-1420 lbs 6-9 months bred 1550.00-1835.00; 1220-1290 lbs 3-6 months bred 1500.00-1585.00 per head.  Medium and Large 1-2  880-1200 lbs 3-9 months bred 1200.00-1425.00 per head.  Large 1  1305-1505 lbs 3-9 months bred 1500.00-1925.00 per head.  Large 1-2  1385-1430 lbs 6-9 months bred 1400.00 per head.  Short Solid to Broken Mouth Cows Medium and Large 1-2 Aged 1135-1380 lbs 6-9 months bred 1000.00-1300.00 per head.  Large 1-2  1315-1540 lbs 6-9 months bred 1200.00-1300 per head. 
      • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1 Young 1070-1120 lb cow w/150-200 lb calf 1950.00-2450.00.  Middle-Aged 1010-1270 lb cow w/150-200 lb calf 1950.00-2410.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 1-2  1210-1255 lb cow w/150-200 lb calf 1625.00-1875.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 1-2 Aged 1115-1190 lb cow w/200-275 lb calf 1200.00-1250.00 per pair.  Medium and Large 2  1025-1185 lb cow w/150-200 lb calf 960.00-1160.00 per pair. 
    • Bowling Green, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2 Heifers 1085-1400 lbs 3rd stage 1650.00-1875.00, pkg 2000.00; 3-6 yrs 1050-1600 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1310.00-1650.00, few pkgs blk 4-5 yrs 3rd stage 1740.00-1770.00; few 7 yrs to short solid 1200-1450 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 1130.00-1230.00; pkg broken mouth 1470 lbs 3rd stage 1110.00.  Medium and Large 2  3-7 yrs 950-1350 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 990.00-1200.00; 7 yrs to short solid 950-1600 lbs 2nd-3rd stage 910.00-1060.00; few broken mouth 780.00-930.00. 
    • Joplin, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1000-1365 lbs 1100.00-1525.00, 1st stage 1125-1300 lbs 975.00-1225.00; short and solid mouth to aged 3rd stage 1100-1300 lbs 725.00-1075.00,2nd stage 1100-1285 lbs 660.00-875.00. Large 1-2  3 yr 3rd stage 1500 lb indiv. 1650.00, 2nd stage 1450-1500 lbs 925.00-1125.00. Medium and Large 2 2 yrs to short and solid mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 860-1120 lbs 800.00-1025.00; broken mouth 2nd stage 1075 lb indiv. 680.00. Medium 1-2  2-7 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 950-1050 lbs 925.00-1100.00, 1st stage 960-1025 lbs 800.00-925.00; brokenmouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 950-1015 lbs 600.00-760.00 per head. 
      • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 955-1295 lb cows w/babies to 260 lb calves 1375.00-1600.00; short and solid mouth to aged 1150-1280 lb cows w/babies to 180 lb calves 1150.00-1300.00. Large 1-2  5 yr 1475 lb cow w/325 lb calf 1750.00. Medium and Large 2  6 yr 1290 lb cow w/baby calf 1300.00; broken mouth 1080 lb cow w/newborn calf 700.00. Medium 1-2  4-6 yrs 975-1000 lb cows w/170-330 lb calves 1375.00-1435.00 per pair. 
    • Springfield, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 1020-1355 lbs 1150.00-1575.00, 1st stage 1020-1265 lbs 850.00-1175.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd stage 1145-1345 lbs 725.00-1025.00, 1st stage short and solid mouth 1105-1265 lbs 690.00-805.00. Large 1-2  7 yrs 3rd stage 1580 lb indiv. 1450.00; broken mouth 2nd and 3rd stage 1390-1445 lbs 895.00-985.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-4 yrs 1st and 2nd stage 805-1080 lbs 685.00-735.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd and 3rd 1010-1235 lbs 550.00-600.00. Medium 1-2  2-5 yrs 2nd and 3rd stage 880-1050 lbs 850.00-975.00, 1st stage 750 lb indiv. 775.00; short and solid mouth to aged 2nd stage 985-1010 lbs 600.00 per head. 
      • Cow/Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  2 yrs 970-1050 lb cows w/290-360 lb calves and some rebred 1625.00; short and solid mouth to aged 1245-1335 lb cows w/165-320 lb calves and some rebred 1350.00-1375.00; broken mouth pkg. 1100 lb cows w/baby calves 1000.00. Large 1-2  6 yr 1615 lb cow w/395 lb calf 1800.00.  Medium and Large 2  4-5 yrs 905-1135 lb cows w/160-350 lb calves 1100.00-1225.00. Medium 1-2  short and solid mouth pkg. 1040 lb cows w/160-345 lb calves and all rebred 1st or 2nd stage 1450.00. Medium 2  5 yr 780 lb cow w/265 lb calf and rebred 1175.00; short and solid mouth 800-880 lb cows w/140-370 lb calves and a few rebred 775.00-875.00 per pair. 
    • West Plains, MO:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  1 1/2 to 6 yrs in the 2nd and 3rd stage 1150.00-1525.00; 2–7 yrs 960-135 lbs 700.00-1050.00; package of Long Horn 3rd stage bred 2-6 yrs 800-930 lbs 525.00 850.00; 2-6 yr 1st stage 965-1435 lbs 950.00–1100.00; Short Solid to Broken Mouth cows mostly in the 2nd and 3rd stage a few 1st stage 900-1450 lbs 750.00-1000.00.  Medium and Large 2  2-7 yrs 800-1220 lbs in the 1st to 3rd stage 800.00-1100.00; Short Solid Mouth to aged, 790-1015 lbs 450.00-800.00.  Medium 2  3 yrs to Short and Solid mouth, 1st stage 900-1050 lbs 450.00-600.00 per head. 
      • Cow/calf pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  4-7 yrs 800-1300 lb cows w/babies to 350 lbs calves few rebred 1275.00-1700.00; 49 head cow calf pairs from one farm 5-7 yrs w/ 250 lb calves 1475.00–1750.00; Package of 8 Long Horn cows w/150 calves 825.00; short and solid mouth to aged 800-1100 lbs cows w/babies to 350 lbs 800.00-1200.00 per pair.
    • Miles City, MT:
      • Bred Cows:  Medium and Large 1  3-4 yrs old calving before May 15th 1105-1305 lbs 1,450.00-1,675.00, calving after June 1st 1039-1181 lbs 1,060.00-1,200.00. Medium and large 1-2 calving before May 15th 1048 lbs 1,350.00; 5-6 yrs old calving before May 15th 1293-1331 lbs 1,475.00-1,625.00, non-legible tattoos 1334 lbs 1,475.00, calving after June 1st 1245-1335 lbs 1,050.00-1,075.00.  Medium and large 1-2 calving before May 15th 1078 lbs 1,100.00.  Middle aged (Solid mouth) Medium and Large 1 calving before May 15th 1152-1505 lbs 1,250.00-1,500.00, calving after June 1st 1394 1,025.00.  Bred Cows: Aged (Broken mouth) Medium and Large 1 calving before May 15th 1135 lbs 1,000.00-1,200.00, thin fleshed 975.00-985.00.  Medium and Large 1-2 calving before May 15th 1180-1190 lbs 875.00-985.00. 
    • Arkansas:
      • Replacement Cows:  Medium and Large 1-2  2-7 year old  850-1250  second & third stage 98.00-108.00/1050.00-1150.00, first stage open 77.00-87.00, 7-10 year old second & third stage 63.00-73.00/825.00-925.00 per head. 
      • Cow-Calf Pairs:  Medium and Large 1-2  3-7 year old 800-1200 lb cow w/100-200 lb calf 1200.00-1300.00, few to 1610.00, w/200-300 lb calf 1400.00-1500.00; 7-10 year old w/100-200 lb calf 1050.00-1150.00 per pair.  Small 1 and Medium 2  7+ year old 750-900 lb cow w/100-200 lb calf 775.00-875.00 per pair. 
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    Canadian Cattle:
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    Alberta Beef Producers: Alberta direct cattle sales this week saw packers lower bids from Wednesday to Thursday. Early week dressed sales were reported up to 272.00 delivered which did buy a couple lots of cattle. By Thursday bids were being reported at 268.00 delivered. Buyers were indicating cattle that they bought this would be lifted in two weeks. Even though basis levels did weaken this week, stronger prices week over week did encourage producers to market cattle.
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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 $0.7658 U.S. dollars
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    Prices for the week ending February 17th:
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    The "Nord Fork"

    Replaces Flankers at Branding
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    February 24th Cattle on Feed Report:
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    United States Cattle on Feed Up 1 Percent
    • Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on February 1, 2017. The inventory was 1 percent above February 1, 2016.
    • Placements in feedlots during January totaled 1.98 million head, 11 percent above 2016. Net placements were 1.93 million head. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 380,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 445,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 585,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 410,000, 900-999 pounds were 116,000, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 45,000 head.
    • Marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.75 million head, 10 percent above 2016.
    • Other disappearance totaled 53,000 head during January, 5 percent below 2016.
    2016 Cattle on Feed and Annual Size Group Estimates: 

    Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head represented 81.2 percent of all cattle and calves on feed in the United States on January 1, 2017. This is comparable to the 80.4 percent on January 1, 2016.

    Marketings of fed cattle for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head during 2016 represented 87.1 percent of total cattle marketed from all feedlots in the United States, down slightly from 87.2 percent during 2015.

    Complete February Cattle On Feed Report

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    Cattle on Feed Inventory in 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots as of February 1st
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    Number of Cattle Placed on Feed in 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots in January
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    Number of Cattle Marketed from 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots in January
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    Cattle on Feed by State as of February 1st
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    Cattle on Feed by Weight Group as of February 1st
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    USDA Livestock Slaughter Report
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    Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.29 billion pounds in January, up 6 percent from the 4.06 billion pounds produced in January 2016.
    • Beef production, at 2.12 billion pounds, was 8 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.58 million head, up 9 percent from January 2016. The average live weight was down 11 pounds from the previous year, at 1,370 pounds.
    • Veal production totaled 6.3 million pounds, 5 percent below January a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 46,600 head, 12 percent above January 2016. The average live weight was down 39 pounds from last year, at 235 pounds.
    • Pork production totaled 2.15 billion pounds, 3 percent above the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.1 million head, 4 percent above January 2016. The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 284 pounds.
      Lamb and mutton production, at 12.3 million pounds, was 9 percent above January 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 177,000 head, 10 percent above last year. The average live weight was 138 pounds, down 1 pound from January a year ago.
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    Slaughter Steers - Cash vs. Formula
    CME Group
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    Market ready cattle prices, basis the USDA-AMS 5 Market average, have sustained an impressive rally from Christmas week of 2016 to early February. Price derived from formula or forward contracts topped out in the last week of January close to $123 per hundredweight. This pattern trailed the pattern in cash cattle trade by a week, which is typical. The peak in cash cattle trade was about a dollar per hundredweight under the formula and forward contract high.

    The first week of February saw values for forward contracted cattle slide $6 while cattle priced off of formula maintained prior week values. Volumes of forward contracted cattle moved up to account for 12%-13% of all fat cattle market receipts in the last week of January, compared to the 9%-11% range during the first three weeks of the year.

    Direct cattle sales receipts, which ran at 25%-26% of all fat cattle market receipts during the first two weeks of the year, popped up to 32% of total receipts in the third week of January, when prices for cattle in the direct sales market hit their highs. During the last few weeks, when forward contracted cattle volumes have been elevated, receipts of cattle in direct sales slipped back to a 25%-26% share of total receipts. It was interesting that last week saw the forward contract share of cattle market receipts fall back to 11% while direct cattle sales moved up to the 32% peak, similar to the third week in January. Total receipts (direct sales, formula, forward contract and negotiated grid) during the last week were the highest of the year to-date, surpassing the prior high of the third week in January.

    Cattle values were stoic in the midst of large trade volumes last week. In the wake of the price peak in the third week of January, cattle prices in the forward contract market have run at a $4-$5 discount to direct cash trade and cash trade has moved very little in the last three weeks. Yet packers set a record for the year-to-date in cattle bought in the direct market. Concerns about beef or cattle supply and demand changes in upcoming weeks are not in evidence as the Lenten season approaches. February weather has been spring-like in major cattle feeding regions, which should abet excellent weight gains for cattle in feedlots. It is a blissful situation in cattle market, for the time being.

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    USDA National Retail Beef Report:
    Advertised Prices for Beef at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets
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    This week in beef retail, the Feature Rate saw a 1.4 percent decrease, the Special Rate, posted a 5.2 percent decrease, and the Activity Index charted a 10.1 percent decrease. With Valentines day in the past, Boneless Ribeye steaks saw a slight decrease in price per pound however this cut is still readily featured in ads around the country. Rib, Chuck, Loin, and Brisket cuts saw more ads space while cuts from the round, and Ground Beef items saw less ads space. The cattle slaughter under federal inspection saw a .5 percent increase when compared to last week.
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    The Demand Indexes for Beef & Pork
    Daily Livestock Report
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    From an economist’s perspective, a demand index is a depictions changes over time compared to a base period (i.e. shifts in the demand relationship). Graphically, demand is a curve with prices on the vertical axis and quantities on a horizontal axis. A major assumption in calculation the index is that the base period relationship between price and quantity is unchanged (for the economist readers, the own-price elasticity is constant over time).

    Interpreting retail meat demand indexes is rather straight forward. For example, an index value of 79 in 2012 means that relative the base year of 1990 (which has an index of 100) that the retail beef price (adjusted for inflation) was 21% below what would have occurred if demand remained at 1990’s base level. That is a reduction in demand, economically.

    Today, we include two annual retail price demand index graphics, one each for beef and pork. Before we discuss those, these indexes should be interpreted with a bit of caution. Beyond the significant fixed elasticity assumption noted above, the retail prices are calculated by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) from a limited scope of meats collected from grocery stores for the purpose of calculating the overall U.S. Consumer Price Index by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those price data are not collected to provide anything close to a full-scale assessment of demand. Second, without going into detail, the quantity data have some limitations and assumptions, too. So, to use an analogy from weather, this type of index is more like measurement from a barometer rather than the detailed scale of a thermometer to understand what is like outside and what has been happening. Evaluation should focus on direction of change and not absolute index levels. Of course, beef and pork demand are simplifications as consumers not only buy product from grocery stores but also from restaurants and they eat individual items like hamburger and not generic “beef”. 


    Comparing the history of retail demand indexes for beef and pork since 1990, it’s clear that beef has moved over a wider range and that the economic environment is important. Note, for example, that the recent bottom in the beef demand index is tied to the last recession. From a historical perspective, the decline in beef demand from 1990 through 1997 was largely attributable to chicken taking market share away from beef. 

    For calendar year 2016, both beef and pork retail demand indexes slipped compared to 2015’s. Still, demand was strong compared to levels posted since the early 1990’s. For both beef and pork, the nature of the retail price series calculated by ERS may have overstated the 2015 indexes some. In an aggregate sense, both beef and port items faced considerable competition from chicken in 2016, which may have contributed to the slight negative shift in demand last year. 

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    Photo of the Week:
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  • Red Angus Rep. Heifers... Central TX*.
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    Shootin' the Bull Weekly Analysis:
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    In my opinion, I don't have a clue as to the price skew between cash, soon spot April, and back month fat contracts.  I can't recall a time when perception of such a strong cash market made for such a weak futures market.  Thursday solidified a $125.00 - $126.00 cash trade and Friday a $1.40 lower move in April, widening the basis to $9.90 with 8 weeks to go.  This is a strange environment to be in.  This is nothing like anticipating a price move from A to B, that has already materialized.  This is a fundamental function of basis that will be relegated at expiration.  The question is, will the anticipated increase of inventory be such to drive cash down $10.00 to $20.00, or futures up $10.00 to $20.00, or they meet somewhere in between?  Those that are in the camp of, the futures are correct, have been incorrect for two expiring contract months in a row as futures have come to cash.  April may be the deciding factor as to whether this continues or not.  My analysis suggests it will.  Although similar aspects were in play last year, the market had just completed the wave 3 down in December where as the wave 5 is perceived to have been completed in October of '16.  Therefore, to set a new weekly low is not anticipated. 

    As stated before, the industry is in a state of transition.  A transition from excessive liquidation, to excessive expansion, to a point at present of "I don't know", a weaker financial state, and a consumer increasing consumption over pork and poultry.  If you want to add one more thing, think about our economy transitioning from a low interest rate environment to a higher one with few aspects of further government stimulus. 

    Although today's price action looks ugly, my analysis continues to suggest fat cattle futures to be in a wave 2 correction.  Cash is anticipated to remain elevated and futures to meet cash somewhere within the current wide basis spread.  I clearly understand that none of the above helps you make a more informed decision.  At this time, I do not perceive anyone can offer advice with any confidence. Therefore, I will be patient until we see further information made available.

    The break lower in the feeder cattle actually helps to clarify the wave count.  I wrote on Thursday of the differing wave count of the wave 2.  Today's sharp sell off suggests the wave 2 remains incomplete.  Although this is disappointing to bulls, it is perceived a minor set back.  With their no enormous basis spreads in the feeders, there are fewer issues to work with.  The on feed report was only slightly higher than the trade guess on placements.  The sharp increases in placements for both December and January leads one to wonder if the big numbers are going to come in March, April, and May?  With the vacuum of demand not perceived to be impacted at all by the cattle on feed report I anticipate the suction to continue to pull cattle into the kill cycle at an elevated rate.  Consumer demand has been a long time turning back to a heavier beef diet.  With price not seemingly an impact at the retail level, I don't anticipate the potential for a lower price to stifle consumer demand.  If anything, it would be anticipated to increase it.  I would dare to say that it will take something more than an increase in production to stifle the current demand. 

    Grains did nothing this week but soften.  Little news and even less movement in outside markets to cause a move.  I remain friendly towards wheat and beans with corn not anticipated to do much at all. 

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    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 @ 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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    Factors Affecting Bred Cow Value
    Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension
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    Bred cows vary in value according to a number of factors including age; quality; weight; stage of gestation; hide color; time of year and location.  Research at Oklahoma State University has examined 15 years of auction data in Oklahoma to determine the impact of these factors on commercial bred cow value.  Purebred cows are more commonly marketed by private treaty or in production sales but the general relative impact of value factors identified in the auction study is likely to be similar.

    In the latest weekly combined Oklahoma auction data, bred cow values are reported in a range from $735 to $1585/head.  The research model would suggest that the base value of a four year old (fourth gestation), average quality cow, weighing 12-1300 pounds and 5 months bred is $1000-$1050/head.  This estimate is consistent with the reported market data.  Changes in any of these characteristics impact the value of the bred cow.  All value differences below are based on current average market levels.  Price adjustments are based on percentages which means that the dollar value of price adjustments will be different at lower or higher average market price levels.

    Young cows have the highest lifetime production potential and thus first-calf heifers have the highest average value, about $35 /head more than the four year-old base cow. Cows show only modest price decreases through age six then drop sharply.  For example, an eight year old cow will have a value about $110/cow less than the four year-old cow.  Compared to the 12-1300 base weight, a bred cow weighing 14-1500 pounds will have an average value about $50/head higher.  In contrast, a cow weighing 900-1000 pounds will have a value $85/head less compared to the base cow.  Stage of gestation also impacts bred cow value with a first trimester bred cow valued roughly $50/head lower than a mid-trimester cow. Value increases for late gestation cows up to eight months bred by about $55/head over mid-trimester cows.  However, bred cow value drops after eight months bred when cows are extremely close to calving. 

    Cow quality has a significant impact on bred cow value with high quality cows bringing about 14 percent higher value compared to average quality while low quality cows bring about 15 percent lower than an average quality cow.  In the example above, that means roughly $150/head more for high quality to $150/head less for a low quality cow compared to average quality.  Apart from quality, hide color affects value.  The auction data does not report breeds but does distinguish black colored animals from all others.  A black-hided cow brings an average premium of nearly seven percent or $70/head more in the current market. In Oklahoma, bred cow values peak in March and are seasonally lowest in October, with generally low values from June through October.  At current market levels, the seasonal swing in bred cow value would be about $140/head from the March peak to the October low.

    The effects reported above are additive and it is easy to see why a wide range of bred cow values are reported.  Using the research model and current market conditions (and holding cow weight and the time of year constant) various combinations of age, quality, gestation, and hide-color result in a range of bred cow value estimates from about $730 to $1300 per head.  The research model appears to be capturing current average bred cow values reasonably accurately.  However, demand for high quality cows appears to be stronger than usual with current values for high quality cows in Oklahoma reported at roughly $1550/head or $200-$250 per head higher than the research model would predict.  This is likely another indication that herd expansion is still going strong.

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    U.S. Dollar - 6 Month Chart:
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    Over the last 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
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    Choice Boxed Beef Cutout, Slaughter, & Feeder Steers:
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    Boxed beef cutout values sharply higher on moderate to fairly good demand and moderate offerings. Select and Choice round cuts steady to firm while rib, chuck, and loin cuts firm to higher. Beef trimmings unevenly steady on light demand and offerings.

    The average value of hide and offal for the four days endingFri, Feb 24, 2017   was estimated at 11.93 per cwt., up 0.03 from last week and  up 1.39 from last year.

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    USDA Cold Storage Report
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    As of January 31st, 2017:
    • Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 9 percent from last year
      • Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 5 percent from the previous month but up 1 percent from last year. 
      • Frozen pork supplies were up 11 percent from the previous month but down 16 percent from last year. 
      • Stocks of pork bellies were down 22 percent from last month and down 77 percent from last year
    • Total frozen poultry supplies were up 3 percent from the previous month and up slightly from a year ago
      • Total stocks of chicken were down 4 percent from the previous month and down 6 percent from last year. 

      • Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 22 percent from last month and up 17 percent from January 31, 2016.
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    Feeder Steers/Corn Correlation:
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    Over the years, the value of 25 bushels of corn has been approximately equal to the price per cwt. for feeder steers.
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    Slaughter Cows & Bulls:
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    Slaughter cows and bulls 1.00-4.00 higher. 

    Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value Friday was 165.20 -- Up .49 from last Friday. 

                     Weight         Colorado         Oklahoma        Alabama 
    Breakers 1100-1600   65.00-66.00    63.00-66.00    55.00-60.00
    Boners    1000-1450   64.50-68.00    64.00-67.00    52.00-54.00
    Lean        1000-1300   62.50-66.00    62.00-66.00    51.00-56.00
    Bulls        1300-2500    88.50               87.00-90.00    81.00-83.00

                   Confirmed  Week Ago  Year Ago   YTD       Year Ago
    National     8,116         7,596          7,613     40,307        37,672
    S Central   2,107         2,317          2,292     10,549        11,065
    N Central   1,363            718              856       4,238          2,719
    East           1,799         1,299           1,819       9,128          8,511
    West          1,251         1,468           1,350       8,127          9,218
    Midwest     1,596         1,794           1,296       8,265         6,159


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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, February 25, 2017 was estimated at 959.2 million lbs. according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Marketing Service. This was 1.6 percent lower than a week ago and 4.3 percent higher than a year ago.  Cumulative meat production for the year to date was 0.9 percent higher compared to the previous year.
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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 February 22, 2017 were mostly mixed. 
    • Soybean Meal was mixed 7.60 lower to 18.00 higher, mostly 2.10 lower to 1.10 higher. Cottonseed Meal was mixed 13.00 lower to 15.00 higher, mostly 10.00 lower. Canola Meal was mixed 2.10 lower to 10.00 higher. Linseed Meal was steady to 5.00 higher. Sunflower Meal was steady. 
    • Whole Cottonseed was mixed 3.00 lower to 8.00 higher.
    • Crude Soybean Oil was 147 points lower. Crude Corn Oil was 115 points higher. 
    • Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal was mixed 30.00 lower to 30.00 higher. Ruminant Blood Meal was mixed 50.00 lower to 65.00 higher. Feather Meal was steady to 15.00 lower. Menhaden Fishmeal was steady. 
    • Corn Hominy was mixed 5.00 lower to 15.00 higher. Gluten Feed was steady to 5.00 lower, mostly steady. Corn Gluten Meal was steady to 15.00 higher. 
    • Distillers Dried Grain was mixed 10.00 lower to 5.00 higher. 
    • Wheat Middling's were mixed 5.00 to 18.00 higher, mostly 5.00 lower. Wheat millrun was 1.00 lower to 1.00 higher.
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    5 Year Bullish/Bearish Consensus Charts:
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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 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.

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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Cattle
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    Bullish/Bearish Consensus: Corn
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    Stock Markets & Economic News:
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    The major benchmarks ended mixed for the holiday-shortened week. The large-cap Dow Jones Industrial Average performed best and managed on Friday to eke out its 11th consecutive record daily close -- a streak it had not managed since the 1980s. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index also moved higher and continued its run of record-low volatility, having not experienced a daily swing of over 1% since mid-December. Weakness in some technology and biotech shares kept the Nasdaq Composite Index to a minimal gain, on the other hand, and the smaller-cap benchmarks also underperformed.

    The week got off to a good start on Wall Street, although gains seemed due largely to a carryover of recent momentum rather than to any new information. Positive earnings reports from Wal-Mart and Home Depot helped drive the consumer discretionary sector higher, even as other “brick-and-mortar” retailers continued to struggle with online competition. Higher oil prices also boosted the energy sector, but crude prices fell back late in the week as investors worried about increasing U.S. production.

    The week’s economic data, much of which focused on the housing sector, was generally favorable. Mortgage applications increased and existing home sales reached their highest level in nearly a decade. Sales of new homes increased as well, although not as much as hoped. Weekly jobless claims rose a bit, but the four-week average of claims fell to its lowest level since 1973, when the overall labor market was much smaller.

    Federal Reserve officials expressed support for raising interest rates "fairly soon" if the economy stayed on course or strengthened, according to minutes of their meeting earlier this month released Wednesday. But officials struggled what to do because of considerable uncertainty over the fiscal policy plans of the Trump administration and Republican Congress. Most officials said it would take "some time" for the outlook on fiscal policy to become clearer. And only a "couple" of the 17 Fed officials argued that uncertainty over fiscal policy should not delay a near-term rate hike. More Fed officials cautioned against adjusting interest rates "in anticipation of policy proposals that might not be enacted, or that, if enacted might turn out to have different consequences for economic activity and inflation than currently anticipated," the minutes said. There was no discussion of shrinking the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance sheet other than to agree to talk about it at later meetings.

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    U.S. Stocks:
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    "Click Here" to view a Slide Show of Drought Monitor maps for the last 12 weeks
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    Looking Ahead:
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    In the day since the Tuesday morning cutoff time of this week’s USDM, a low pressure system dropped half an inch or more of precipitation across parts of California, Oregon, and the Northern Rockies, while another surface low gave half an inch to 2 inches of rain to parts of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. 

    For February 22-28, the western low will track across the central CONUS to Northeast, followed by a second low taking a similar track, and a third low will bring more precipitation to the West. A tenth of an inch or more of precipitation is forecast for much of the West, the Lower Mississippi Valley, and parts of Florida, with 1 inch or more along the west coast, Central Rockies, and in a band from the Central Plains and Ohio Valley to the Northeast. Up to 3 inches of new precipitation may fall in the D1-D2 area of southern coastal California and the Sierra Nevada, with up to 2 inches in parts of the Midwest to Northeast. Little to no precipitation is forecast for the Northern and Southern Great Plains and parts of the coastal Southeast. A trough west/ridge east pattern should keep temperatures cooler than normal in the western CONUS and warmer than normal in the east. 

    For March 1-8, the odds favor drier-than-normal conditions from the Southwest to Central Plains, most of Alaska, and parts of Florida, and wetter-than-normal conditions along the northern Alaska coast, the northern tier states in the CONUS, and most of the country along and east of the Mississippi River. Odds favor cooler-than-normal weather across Alaska and the western CONUS, and warmer-than-normal weather across the eastern half of the CONUS as well as the Southern Plains.

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    Fed Cattle Cash Prices on Fire
    Cassie Fish -- cassandrafish.com
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    Cash fed cattle prices were on fire this week, trading as high as $125, a new high for the year. Negotiated country trade was underway simultaneously with the Fed Cattle Exchange on-line auction, where cattle brought $120.50 to $124.25. This strong cash action impressively on the heels of last week’s 125k head trade volume. $195-196 in eastern Nebraska has tripped a few cattle but is being passed, that equals $122.85-123.48 if the cattle yield 63%.

    There is only one explanation for the market strength. It is the confluence of continuing improved beef demand and seasonally tight fed cattle supplies. Retail ads across the U.S. are once again full of beef promotions. Half-page full color ads showing succulent chuck roasts and T-bone steaks at attractive prices are now commonplace. One chain offered a buy one get one free chuck or round roast. After being shunned as too expensive for years, beef has regained its place on the plate.

    This activity has been indicated by continued better-than-average out-front beef sales by packers. When the industry shoved 8.5% more beef through the supply chain in Q4 than the prior year at the cheapest wholesale prices since 2012, it set up 2017 with the potential to be the best beef demand year in many. Thus far this February, the kill levels are the highest since 2013.

    To add to the torque of the move is the decline in weights. After month after month of huge carcasses, carcass weights are falling. This means less fat trim comes off each carcass too, supporting the beef 50s market which was so problematic for so long.

    So, is this new high in the cash a blow off or a breakout? Many analysts have predicted this is all the cash market can do. But because demand has improved, it has inspired larger kills than generally expected this month and it’s clear that packers’ motivation to meet demand will support maintaining live cattle inventory. Packers are competing against one another for the first cut of cattle more and more as the offerings of market-ready fed cattle become greener. After years of plenty of fat, choice and prime cattle to pick from, cattle are being shown with fewer days on feed than in a long while.

    As those in this business know, carcass weights and grading decline from now until May seasonally. With available supplies arguably more current today than in 2-3 years, which cattle a packer buys becomes more important to meet specific end user needs.

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    Feedyard Closeouts: Profit/(Loss)
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    Slaughter Cattle:
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    Friday in Kansas and Colorado trading has been limited on light demand. In both regions a few live purchases traded at 125.00. In the Texas Panhandle, Nebraska and the Western Cornbelt trading has been inactive on very light demand. Not enough purchases for a full market trend in any region. Wednesday was the last fully reported market in all major feeding regions. In the Southern Plains and Colorado live purchases traded from 124.00-125.00. In Nebraska live purchases traded from 124.00-125.00 and dressed purchases at 196.00. In the Western Cornbelt live purchases traded from 123.00-125.00 and dressed at 196.00.

    The FCE On-Line Auction offered 3,350 total head on Wednesday with 3,065 head selling from $120.00 to $124.50 per cwt. The weighted average price was $122.10 per cwt.

    Negotiated Sales
    Head count priced today: 13,700
    Weighted avg weight:            878
    Weighted avg net price:   189.29

    Livestock Slaughter under Federal Inspection:
                                    CATTLE    CALVES  HOGS        SHEEP
    Friday  (est)             106,000     2,000       399,000        7,000
    Week ago (est)       107,000     2,000        436,000       7,000
    Year ago (act)         102,000     2,000        433,000       7,000
    Week to date (est) 551,000    10,000   2,161,000      37,000
    Last Week (est)      543,000    10,000   2,146,000     36,000
    Last Year (act)        531,000      8,000   2,108,000      39,000

    Saturday  (est)          24,000         0            119,000         0
    Week ago (est)         29,000         0           217,000        1,000
    Year ago (act)           10,000         0           101,000         0
    Week to date (est) 575,000   10,000     2,280,000     37,000
    Last Week (est)      572,000   10,000    2,363,000      37,000
    Last Year* (act)      541,000      8,000    2,209,000      39,000
    2017 YTD            4,626,000    82,000  18,502,000   292,000
    2016 *YTD           4,467,000    75,000  18,624,000   296,000
    Percent change        3.6%          9.2%     -0.7%          -1.2%

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    National Grain Summary:
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    Compared to last week, grains and soybean bids were mostly lower with wheat being mixed.  The clock is ticking on South America’s approaching harvest, however, the May corn futures contract continues in a gradual uptrend.   May soybeans short-term trend has turned lower as they are under bearish pressure.  The uptrend remains for May Chicago wheat.  The annual two-day Ag Outlook Forum kicked off early Thursday with a 2017 corn planting estimate of 90.0 million acres and an average price estimate of $3.50 a bushel.  Prices showed no reaction when the numbers were released as it was no surprise that the planting estimate may be a little low.  Soybeans had a planting estimate of 88.0 ma with an average cash soybean price estimate of $9.60 a bushel. This price was neutral with a bearish planting estimate.  Wheat’s planting estimate made a record low at 46.0 ma with wheat price estimates averaging $4.30 a bushel.  The price estimate appears optimistic this early in the season and will depend on a fifth consecutive year of good weather around the globe.

    The International Grain Council updated its world production figures Thursday putting it at a record level.  World grain production is forecasted at 2.1 billion metric tons which is 5% more than a year ago. Corn production was mostly unchanged at 1.05 billion metric tons as was wheat at 752 million metric tons.  Soybeans were predicted at 336 million metric tons which would be a 2 million ton increase. 

    Weekly export sales for wheat was listed at 26.0 mb (707,800 mt) with 16.6 mb (451,300 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year. Export sales for corn came in at 39.7 mb (1,007,600 mt) with 29.3 mb (743,100) for the 2016-2017 marketing year.  Soybeans were at 16.2 mb (442,200 mt) with 15.2 mb (413,500) for the 2016-2017 marketing year. Weekly export sales for sorghum were at 3.4 mb (86,000 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year.  Wheat was 9 cents lower to 17 cents higher.  Corn was mostly 8 to 15 cents lower.  Sorghum was 4 cents higher to 15 cents lower.  Soybeans were 32 cents lower.

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    Five Year Moving Average - Corn & Wheat:
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