Cash traded fed cattle finished the week slightly higher. The five-area fed steer price ended the week at $151.43 for live sales, and $240.27 for dressed; respectively, down $0.17 and $0.39. Total volume sold was 30,000 head higher than a week ago but 25,000 head lower than last year.
Feeder steer cattle and calves were mixed across much of the U.S. this week with prices finishing the week higher in some areas and lower in other areas. Pasture conditions continue to look good this summer. The USDA rated 66% of U.S. pastures in good or excellent condition this week, up 1% from last week and up from a rating of 56% good or excellent a year ago. Mississippi pasture conditions are rated 77% good or excellent. In Mississippi auctions, lighter weight feeders weighing 450-500 pounds were averaging 272.50, while heavy steers were averaging 202.50. Oklahoma City feeder steers and heifers were down $2.00 to $4.00 this week.
Live cattle and feeder cattle futures were down across the board this week. August live cattle were down about $6.20 on the week, while February live cattle were down $2.42. Feeder cattle were also lower with August futures down $6.18 from last Friday and January futures are down $5.85 on the week. Corn futures remained strong this week with July futures up $0.07 and December futures up $0.08.
Wholesale boxed beef prices are lower on the week. Choice boxes averaged $242.21, down $9.88 from a week ago. Select boxes ended the week with an average of $238.96, down $9.87. The choice-select spread narrowed slightly from $3.26 a week ago to $3.25 this week.
The July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates were released today. Beef Production for 2015 was cut by 0.8% and 2016 beef production was increased by 0.5%. Corn ending stocks were reduced by 172 million bushels, mostly on lower production, although the reduction was not unexpected.