The Independence Day holiday didn’t slow the exploding feeder cattle and calf rally. Compared with two weeks ago, yearling feeder cattle sold $6 to $10 per hundredweight higher, and light offerings of steer and heifer calves traded steady to $3 higher.

Feeder cattle rally continues, buyers aggressive“The two-week mid-summer marketing break turned out to be very active - especially in the direct and video markets with the bulk of the unsold grass yearlings and a good portion of the fall delivery calves now contracted,” says USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall.

“Feeder cattle prices finally caught and surpassed year ago levels with tight numbers driving this summer’s market and record drought dragging last year’s at this time.  Cattle feeders turned aggressive for immediate delivery yearlings coming off double-stocked Flint Hills and Osage pastures,” Wall said. “The best demand was noted for heavier yearlings weighing 900 lbs, even though these cattle will be nearly finished by the time cheaper new crop corn makes it to their bunk.”

“The smaller inventories of cattle (lowest in over 60 years) seem to finally be driving the feeder market with help from expected feed cost relief from an impressive hay and corn crop,” Wall said.

Last week’s auction receipts totaled 164,700 compared to 188,200 last year. Direct trade totaled 152,000 with video/Internet at 183,200 for a total of 499,900, compared to 497,000 last year.

Fed cattle prices traded steady at $119 per hundredweight in another week of light trade. Boxed beef prices traded $4 to $5 lower compared to the previous week, with Choice boxed beef down $4.81 from last Friday at $191.53. Select boxed beef was $4.06 lower for the week to close at $183.67. The Choice-Select spread narrowed to $7.86.

Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to firm in a light test. USDA’s cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday was $159.28, up $0.02 from last Friday.