The cattle markets managed another two-sided session yesterday, trading firmer early in the session before being pressed lower midday following the release of a weaker midday boxed beef cutout report. Rallying corn futures also pressed feeder cattle values midsession. By day’s end, the choice cutout index was reported down a slightly $0.14, our first loss since Dec 21, during which time we’ve rallied an incredible $44, and generally fitting with the industry’s expectation for topping beef markets sometime here in mid-January as slaughter schedules are back to normal and the post-holiday beef pipeline has been re-filled. USDA monthly supply/demand data out midday showed a reduction in their 2016 beef production estimate of 75 mil lbs, a 100 mil lb decrease in imports, and a 50 mil lb increase in exports, all combined taking 225 mil lbs out of domestic availability next year, roughly half of one week’s production. Do note that we did see some modest cash cattle trade take place in NE yesterday at $134 live, up from a $132 average there last week.
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