By Cassie Fish, http://cassandrafish.com

As of this morning, 3.7k head of cattle have traded with a $130 live and $204 dressed top, with most of the trade occurring in Iowa. It’s a quiet start to the week. A few $204 dressed bids have surfaced this morning.

Futures aren’t too exciting today, trading both sides of steady as open interest migrates from December LC to February LC. As of yesterday’s close, February LC is the most actively traded live cattle futures contract. Though it’s the middle of the Goldman roll, the December has been able to gain on the February this week, considered a positive sign.

This morning’s modestly friendly-to-corn WASDE report is pressuring feeder cattle futures. The USDA lowered its U.S. corn ending stocks estimate and increased ethanol usage.

Boxed beef values are holding their own, but the rib is showing a bit of a sign of fatigue though it’s way too soon to say the seasonal high has been established. As of last night’s print, the rib was barely higher than last Monday and down $12 from last week’s high. The improvement in boxed beef prices contributed to last week’s weekly beef packer margin expanding a bit, still over $700 per head net, a record.

The average number of choice + prime quality grade carcasses most recently reported by the USDA slipped to a new low for 2021, though it remains the second highest in history for that date.

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