Compared to last week, feeder and stocker cattle markets continued to show considerable strength for the start of October which is annually the month with the most pressure from spring-born calf sales. This week yearlings sold mostly 3.00-7.00 higher with instances 10.00 higher. While arrivals of mostly new crop calves sold 5.00-10.00 higher with spots as much as 15.00 higher on the lighter weight calves under 500 lbs. Featherweight calves in many areas under 400 lbs easily saw the full advance with a string of 142 head of value added (NHTC) steer calves weighing 368 lbs sold for 419.50 at the Hub City Livestock Market in Aberdeen, SD on Wednesday.
Both calf and yearling markets noted the full advance on steers, while heifer sales (mostly calves) represented the lower ends of this week’s advance. The feeder cattle market keeps moving along at a very brisk pace. Anyone who has been at the auctions for any extended period will tell you feeders are too high however feeder cattle keep advancing at such a rapid pace that the thought of a market top is only short lived and replaced with a new one the next day or certainly the next week. Order buyers continue to flex their muscle in pursuing all classes of feeder cattle in the face of historical high prices.
Stocker and feeder calf buyers are a long way from filling their needs as Corn Belt cattlemen have huge mounds of silage, hay and corn ready to feed. This has livestock producers on the offensive while the grain producer is just the opposite; on the defensive. Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle Futures continue to show good strength for the week, with most Feeder Cattle contracts continue to make all-time highs. Then on Thursday the Stock Market had its worst day of the year falling 334 points lower on slowing global economies as Live and Feeder cattle futures then fell off their triple-digit gains to close lower. Stay tuned this could be a bumpy ride as cattle futures remain very volatile with sharp losses posted on Friday to end the week. Last Friday packers reentered the market to cover needs as fat cattle traded at mostly 162.00 live which was 3.00-4.00 higher than the previous week. On Thursday afternoon fat cattle in Kansas and Nebraska traded 2.00-3.00 higher from 163.00-164.00, with dressed sales 5.00-6.00 higher from 257.00-258.00 and live sales in Nebraska on Friday trading up to 165.00. Boxed beef found its footing on Monday to start the week gaining 3.00 and continued to climb higher over the next five sessions gaining near 9.00 dollars with Choice closing Friday at 247.67.
Corn futures so far this week have made a modest recovery mostly due to weather conditions as fall rains have slowed harvest across the Corn Belt and grain traders positioning themselves ahead of Friday’s USDA Supply and Demand Report that estimated the largest average yield of 174.2 bushels per acre. Any way you look at it corn supplies are going to be very abundant. This week’s auction volume included 40 percent over 600 lbs and 38 percent heifers.