Varilek’s Cattle Call: Mixed Bag
Cash cattle finished the week on a softer tone with some $155 in the south and $248 dressed in the north. Trade was light with packers not showing much interest. The weather slowed some plants down with the ability to receive cattle among the list of troubles. A seasonally tougher demand period aided in the packer’s willingness to slow slaughter levels. Feedlots may not have been overrun with numbers to sell, but poor yard conditions did have some producers just wanting cattle out.
Eyes were still on carcass weights with tough growing conditions and will remain so in the future. For the week ending 1/7/23 showed steers up 4 pounds but still 9 pounds below a year ago. Heifer carcasses were down 8 pounds which brought them 20 pounds below year ago levels. The weather will play a factor throughout the spring as it is slowing gains significantly in the north.
The world economy showed some volatility last week with a negative feel. Cattle prices at higher levels would show some risk if something worsens in the financial world. In my opinion, the health of the consumer is one of the biggest risks to reigning in a friendly cattle market.
The cattle on feed report Friday came in with an on feed number of 97% which was in line with the estimates for the report. The marketings and placements were both 1% negative at 94% and 92%. The report itself should not yield much damage to the markets, but the weakening cash price could. Have a good week.
Scott Varilek, Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading
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