Cash fed cattle traded $2 to $3 higher last week at $127 to $128.50. Dressed trade in the North occurred at $197 to $202 per hundredweight, $4 to $7 higher than the previous week. Cattle feeders will look to build on that rally this week. Supplies of market-ready cattle remain tight.

Boxed beef prices were also significantly higher for the week. Choice beef traded at $196.68 on Friday, up $5.01 from the previous week. Select traded at $180.45, up $3.41 from the previous week. The Choice-Select spread widened to $16.23 per hundredweight.

Yearling feeder cattle traded $3 higher as the numbers continue to dwindle. Calf markets were again called volatile with stockers under 550 pounds firm to $5 higher, but other weights and classes not as consistent. Heifers under 550 pounds and all weights and classes of weaned calves from 550 to 700 pounds were steady.

“However, unweaned bawlers over 550 lbs continue to be scrutinized and sold weak to $3 lower with additional discounts for being fleshy or having a snotty nose and a look in their eye that they weren’t feeling the best,” said USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall. “Spring-like winds prevailed across the central portion of the US with wintry early-morning temperatures followed by summertime heat in the afternoon, which means it must be fall.  Wheat pasture demand is very good in the Southern Plains with orders for 400-500 pounds solid colored steers more contingent on headcounts rather than price.”

Wall noted a load of 400 pound steer calves on Friday’s Superior Video Auction that brought $215 per hundredweight, and that northern backgounders are coming into the market. In Philip, SD, a 119-head “fancy string” of 500 pound steers brought $183.

“Comparable heifer calves routinely sell $30 to $40 back of their brothers and less desirable steers can typically hold their own, while unweaned, fleshy, full, short, off-colored, wild, or merely plain heifer calves can quickly fall off the face of a market report,” Wall said.

Last week’s auction receipts totaled 285,500 compared to 257,600 last week and 288,200 last year. Direct sales of stocker and feeder cattle totaled 41,200 with video/Internet sales at 10,100. The weekly total was 336,800, compared to 371,900 last year.

Slaughter cows and bulls sold unevenly steady for the week. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was $160.06, up $1.04 from the previous Friday. Omaha cash corn was 6 cents per bushel lower for the week at $7.82 per bushel.