Last week’s feeder cattle rally lifted prices to record highs as lower-than-expected Cattle on Feed numbers prompted higher cattle prices all around.

Feeder cattle market reaches new all-time recordThe falling supplies helped move feeder cattle prices three dollars higher per hundredweight. Gains were more evident as the week came to a close. USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall says feeder prices have reached new localized highs on yearlings over 700 pounds leading up to the record highs last week.

“On Tuesday, the CME Feeder Cattle Index (based on a seven day moving weighted average of 650-849 lb Federal-State reported feeder steer sales throughout the high producing central twelve state area) broke the previous record of $157.44 posted the last week of February 2012,” Wall said. Outstanding demand and falling supplies of true yearlings contributed to the record highs achieved during the first week of fall.

Corn prices moved higher last week but failed to add major gains. The higher corn values may take a little enthusiasm away from the cattle market, but feeders are starting to see profitable margins and feeding costs are now manageable.

Calf prices gained $5 compared to a slow market the previous week with substantial improvements noted for lightweight calves last week.

“Lightweight calves in parts of the Central US were routinely quoted $10 higher and as much as $20 higher as buyers went after them in an effort to keep the price-per-head down and maximize their options,” Wall said.

Last week’s auction receipts improved to 213,800, with direct sales of 35,800 and video/Internet sales totaling 16,700. The overall total was lower with sales of 266,300 compared to 328,400 last week and 327,800 during the same week a year earlier. The previous week’s total included a lower auction total of 189,200 but was supported by video/Internet sales of 101,700.

Boxed beef prices were lower on light demand and light-to-moderate offerings. Choice cuts were 24 cents higher than the previous Friday with sales of $192.63. Select cuts gained 19 cents above the previous Friday’s sales, moving to $176.15. The Choice/Select spread was only slightly wider with a 5-cent gain, moving to $16.48.

Live sales were higher as traded increased to $124 in the Southern Plains and $125.50 in Colorado. Nebraska saw light-to-moderate trade on good demand with a few live sales at $126 and dressed sales of $196.

Slaughter cows were $2-$6 lower while slaughter bulls fell $1-$4. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was down  from last Friday.

Slaughter cattle trade was $1 higher. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated  cash trades through Friday afternoon totaled about 32,000 head. USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value last Friday morning was 162.55 down 2.71 from the previous Friday.