Packers offered steady money on market-ready cattle last week, but feedyards were mostly uninterested knowing their showlists are smaller and will continue to decline in the weeks ahead. The few cattle trading hands last week sold on a dressed basis for $189 to $190 per hundredweight. Cattle feeders will open this week looking to drive the market higher with asking prices at $125 to $126.
Boxed beef values were higher for the week with Choice boxed beef trading Friday at $190.73 per hundredweight, up $1.11 from the previous week. Select boxed beef was quoted at $181.70 per hundredweight, up $2.24 from the previous week. The Choice-Select spread was $9.03 per hundredweight.
Yearling feeder cattle sold steady to $2 per hundredweight higher while calves sold steady to $3 higher. Auction receipts were called light with most auctions closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.
A notable exception to the light run of stocker and feeder cattle was the special sale in Torrington, Wyo., where more than 8,000 head sold. Included in the offering were 450 head of top-quality feather-weight steers under 400 pounds that all sold for more than $2 per pound. The average weight was 342 pounds and traded hands at $215.83 per hundredweight. The sale also included more than 1,500 head of top-quality yearling steers that averaged 745 pounds and sold at $139.08 per hundredweight.
Hurricane Isaac delivered much needed rain to a wide swath of cattle country including Arkansas, Missouri and east into the Corn Belt. Flooding was a problem for many in the lower Delta region, but the moisture revived hopes for fall grazing north and east of the storm’s landing spot near New Orleans.
Cattlemen are struggling with feed shortages, but USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall says, “Planning ahead farther and farther, heifers are bringing a premium on fall deliveries of reputation calves, and pee-wee stockers are currently being heavily sought-after for next spring’s grass cattle. Profit opportunities have been rare but lucrative in the beef cattle sector and trade members don’t want to miss the boat when it sails again. Fall grazing prospects (like winter wheat or rye grass) are looking favorable as moisture fronts are returning with more regularity and a world of silage has been packed-down for winter feeding.”
Last week’s auction receipts totaled 156,300 compared to 187,400 last week and 160,200 last year. Direct sales of stocker and feeder cattle totaled 46,100 with video/Internet sales at 9,200. The weekly total was 211,600, compared to 223,000 last year.
Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to $3 per hundredweight higher. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was $168.12, down $0.41 from the previous Friday. Omaha cash corn was 27 cents per bushel lower for the week at $7.93 per bushel.