For the week ending March 12, feeder cattle prices at Texas auctions were mostly $1 to $9 higher per hundredweight. Tight supplies and higher fed cattle continue to support the market. Fed cattle prices were sharply higher as wholesale beef values continued to increase. Cotton and grain prices declined on Thursday in response to USDA’s supply and demand report then dropped even more on Friday amid concerns about the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Japan is a major importer of U.S. agricultural commodities and is the No.1 overseas buyer of U.S. corn and pork. As for futures markets, feeder cattle and fed cattle were higher while cotton, wheat, corn and lumber were lower. Little precipitation was recorded anywhere in the state during the week with amounts generally less than a quarter-inch east of Interstate35 and in the Panhandle. Soil moisture conditions remain mostly short to very short in West Texas and mostly short to adequate in East Texas. The wheat crop continues to suffer from the dry conditions with the crop rated in mostly fair to very poor condition. Corn planting progressed to 28 percent complete, ahead of last year and the five-year average. The grain sorghum crop was 29 percent planted, also well ahead of normal. Pastures are greening up in many areas, but remained dry and in mostly fair to poor condition.
All cash prices above are market averages for locations covered by the TDA Market News program and do not reflect any particular sale at any specific location. Feeder cattle prices are for 500-600 pound medium and large No.1 steers. Futures prices are quoted for the nearest month contract on the last trading day of the week. For additional information, contact TDA Market News at (800) 252-3407 or visit our website, www.tdamarketnews.com.