Compared to last week, feeder calves throughout the majority of the country sold unevenly steady, with yearling cattle trading steady to 2.00 higher.  In the Southeastern markets, calves traded mostly steady to 3.00 higher.  Record prices have leveled off the last few weeks on calves, with a high percentage of the calves coming to market new-crop calves.  It’s hard to call demand any lighter as cattle buyers remain active for all classes of feeders, with several major markets this week having a good offering of yearling cattle on hand selling with very good demand. 

The Hub City Livestock auction in South Dakota sold 300 hd of 800-850 lb steers with a weighted average weight of 830 lbs selling at a weighted average price of 182.45. At the same auction a pot load of NHTC steers weighing 797 lbs sold for 198.00.  Torrington, WY sold two pot loads of value added steers weighing 765 lbs at 197.00.  In parts of the Midwest especially where rain has been plentiful and grass is growing, at several markets in Missouri over the past week have held Special Cow/Heifer Pairs sales from Northwest to Eastern MO. at Maryville (United Producers), Macon (Lolli Brothers) and Bowling Green (Eastern MO. Comm. Co) have sold a number of top quality first calf heifer pairs from 3050.00-3675.00 per pair, with many buyers in attendance bidding for these heifers and young cow pairs 3-5 yrs selling from 2600.00-2950.00 per pair. 

Meanwhile, meat trade following the Easter Holiday is starting to focus on the potential demand as increased support for Boxed-Beef cutouts moved significantly higher as spring demand seems to be awaking.  After a long cold winter there is hopefully a lot of pent up demand for foodservices whether it be restaurant trade to the much anticipated grilling season, looking ahead to Memorial Weekend and warmer weather in the coming months. 

Despite tighter supplies of competing meats demand will get more attention than supply as beef and pork prices have risen significantly.  Corn planting is well underway with USDA reporting that 6 percent of the corn planted on Monday.  A slower than expected pace but not a problem at this time especially with today’s planting capabilities to cover acres in a short time. Cattle on Feed Report came out Friday afternoon looking positive in all categories with April 1st inventories less than estimated at 99 percent.  Placements less than expected at 95 percent and marketing’s in March came in at 96 percent totaled 1.66 million which were the lowest since the series began in 1996.  This week’s reported auction volume included 49 percent over 600 lbs and 43 percent heifers.