For the week ending March 5, feeder cattle prices at Texas auctions were mostly steady to $10 higher per hundredweight. Tight supplies and higher fed cattle continue to support the market. Fed cattle prices followed wholesale beef values higher. Cotton prices rose to new record highs after China and India lowered their production forecasts, and export sales remained strong in spite of those higher prices. Increasingly tight supplies and higher crude oil markets pushed grain prices higher. Continued dry conditions on the U.S. Plains added to the increase for wheat. As for futures markets, feeder cattle, fed cattle, cotton, wheat, corn and lumber were higher for the week. Little precipitation was recorded anywhere in the state during the week with amounts generally less than a quarter-inch. A few isolated areas in East Texas reported up to an inch of rain. The wheat crop and pastures remain in mostly fair to very poor condition because of the dry weather. Spring planting is underway in many areas, but moisture is needed for crops to germinate. Corn was 14 percent planted, well ahead of 6 percent at this time last year and equal to the five-year average. Grain sorghum was 16 percent planted, compared to only 3 percent a year ago and 8 percent on average. Grass fires remained a problem with continued high fire risk due to the extremely dry conditions and high winds.
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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.