A blizzard rolled across eastern New Mexico and through the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles over the Christmas weekend, bringing heavy snow and cold temperatures that would stress cattle in the affected area.
However, overall conditions were not as bad as was feared on Thursday. The Southeast seemed to get the worst of it in rain, high winds and even tornadoes.
The National Weather Service reported snow depths of up to three inches in parts of Texas and Oklahoma over the last 24 hours in a band that covered all of New Mexico except the northwest corner, western Texas, all of Oklahoma except for the southeast corner, southeastern Kansas and most of Missouri.
That added to previous snow on the ground, bringing totals on the ground in a corner of the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma ranging from 20 to 39 inches.
All of Nebraska has snow on the ground, as does most of Iowa, eastern Kansas and Missouri. However, totals range from a trace to two to four inches.
The snow moved in an arc across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, dumping at least eight inches of the white stuff on Minneapolis. It is forecast to move into the Northeastern states today, bringing the first winter storm of the season to idle ski resorts and snarling traffic.
SOUTHERN STATES HIT HARD
Much of the worst of the storm system hit southern states hard, AccuWeather said. Tornados ripped through cities near Dallas, Texas, Friday afternoon killed 11, and 13 more fatalities were reported from flooding across the Missouri Valley and Midwest.
Thousands are without power.
The storm is forecast to track across the Southeast Monday as the low pressure system driving the storm continues to suck moisture out of the Gulf and fire it at those states before it turns to snow in the Northern Midwest and the Northeast.
Heavy rain is expected to lead to more flooding across the Arkansas and Missouri valleys Monday.
CASH CATTLE UP $4 TO $6
Cash cattle markets last week traded from $122 to mostly $124 per cwt on a live basis, up $4 to $6 from the previous week. Trading was light to moderate as sellers were asking $125 to $126 as futures prices rose sharply all week.
In the dressed markets of Nebraska and Iowa, cattle traded Thursday at $199 to mostly $200 per cwt, compared with the previous week’s range of $182 to $184.
This week’s trading volume could be back to normal as packers will be buying for a full week’s kill schedule after being idled by holidays last week and this week.
Some think product values are in the process of bottoming after two weeks of sharply reduced production. There are ideas of increased beef features in January, which could support the cutout if they’re accurate.
The USDA reported sharply higher wholesale beef prices again Thursday with choice up $2.73 per cwt from Wednesday to $197.63, and the select cutout up $1.97 at $189.47. The choice/select spread widened to $8.16 from $7.37 on Wednesday, but there were only 72 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $152.87, up $1.73. This compares with the Jan settlement Thursday of $163.47, up $0.40.