AUSTIN – (Feb. 23, 2015) For the week ending Feb. 21, 2015, Texas auctions quoted feeder cattle prices mostly steady and firm, ranging from $2 to$16 higher per hundredweight (cwt). Texas weekly direct feeder cattle sales for head under 800 lbs. were $2 to $4 higher, and for head over 800 lbs., prices were $3 to $7 higher. Fed cattle weekly cash sales were lower at $160 per cwt, but wholesale beef values were higher with Choice Grade increasing $2.09 to $240.31 per cwt and Select Grade rising $4.75 to $237.79. Net export sales for Feb. 6-12 were down 22 percent from last week and nine percent from the weekly average. Export shipments were consistent with last week.
Cotton cash prices were slightly higher for the fourth week in a row, now up to 61.38 cents per pound. March futures prices jumped 3.1 percent last week to settle at 64.67 cents per pound. The USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum projects all-cotton acreage to be at 9.7 million for 2015, down 12.1 percent from last year but up from the 9.4 million acre estimate by the National Cotton Council. Net export cotton sales were at a marketing-year low. Sales were three times lower than last week. Shipments were on par with last week but up eight percent from the average.
Wheat fell 30 cents in both the cash and futures markets to close at $4.98 per bushel and $5.33 per bushel, respectively. The USDA NASS Texas field office reported that the Texas Winter Wheat crop is 99 percent emerged, up one point from last week, and consistent with this time last year. Forty-four percent of the wheat crop remains in excellent or good condition, same as last week. Net export sales for wheat were down 35 percent from last week and 41 percent from the prior four-week average. Shipments were five percent higher than the previous week and nine percent higher than the weekly average.
Texas corn prices also were slightly lower with cash prices down to $4.18 per bushel and futures prices down to $3.85. The USDA Outlook estimates corn acreage for 2015 to be at 89 million acres. Texas corn seeding began in areas of the Blacklands, the Coastal Bend and the Lower Valley. Field preparations for planting sorghum began in the Upper Coast, the Coastal Bend and the Lower Valley. Corn export sales were down seven percent from last week and 25 percent from the four-week average. Export shipments were 13 percent higher than last week but five percent lower than the average.
Most of the state recorded precipitation last week; however, only north and east Texas received a half-inch or more. Last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor for Texas showed some worsening in drought conditions for the state with nearly 61 percent of the state still in some stage of drought intensity, up 4.1 percent points from last week. On the national level, drought conditions also worsened with nearly 55 percent of the U.S. experiencing abnormal dryness or some degree of drought, up over two percent points from last week.
Additional information on agricultural weather, crop progress and agricultural markets can be found on the TDA Market Newspage.
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All cash prices above are market averages for locations covered by the USDA Market News program and do not reflect any particular sale at any specific location. Feeder cattle prices are for Texas direct sales of 650-850 pound medium and large No.1 steers for current delivery. Futures prices are quoted for the nearest month contract on the last trading day of the week. Timber prices are from the Texas A&M Forest Service, bimonthly “Texas Timber Price Trends.” MBF = thousand board feet. For additional information, contact TDA at (800) 835-5832 or visit our website, www.TexasAgriculture.gov.