Compared to last week, offerings of calves and yearling feeder cattle sold steady to 3.00 higher, with several auctions reporting calves and yearlings selling 5.00-6.00 higher. In the south feeder cattle traded mostly steady to 2.00 higher. Demand remains good for feeders, best on yearlings although the Board this week overall failed to respond to the bullish Cattle on Feed Report last week. Direct feeder cattle trade in Texas and Kansas was 2.00-5.00 higher. On Wednesday in Bassett, NE 174 head of steers weighing 930 lbs sold for 144.25, and 184 head of steers with a weighted average weight of 857 lbs sold with weighted average price of 151.67. As we go through the summer months we would expect lower numbers and replacements to continue.

The USDA Livestock & Grain Market News office in Dodge City, Kansas noted that temperatures reached 100 degrees this week with very windy and dry conditions. If the dry conditions continue over the next couple of weeks they will see cattle moving early off grass to the auctions. The western two-thirds of Texas remains dry but are not in nearly as bad of shape as they were last year, with most of Oklahoma now out of drought conditions with improvement continuing through the region as wheat harvest is starting. Other areas such as eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska are dry as well as the Southeast.

Through the Midwest corn planting is virtually finished with 96 percent reported planted, that is a record level this time of the year. This is compared to 79 percent last year and a 5-year average of 81 percent. 76 percent of the corn acres have emerged as of Monday’s progress report with 77 percent shows the crop in good to excellent condition. The early planting and excellent early reported conditions had the corn market this week sharply lower, as rain is also predicted for next week. Outside markets this week also pressured the corn market as the stock market had sharp losses early in the week, crude oil on Wednesday closed below 90.00 a barrel for the first time since October, and the on-going concerns over the EU debt crisis gave jitters to the market participants with Greece possibly leaving the Eurozone.

Fed cattle trade developed on Wednesday with Kansas and Texas trading live prices at 121.00, which were 2.00 lower than last week. Nebraska on Thursday had live sales 2.00 lower ranging from 121.00 to mostly 123.00 and dressed sales steady to 2.00 lower at 193.00-195.00. We are currently in the best time of the year for meat sales as we head into the Memorial Day Weekend. While grilling season is here hopefully this Holiday weekend will see some aggressive meat features and move a lot of product to clean up inventories. This week’s Cold Storage report showed beef stocks 3 percent higher than last month and 16.8 percent larger than last year with 517.5 million pounds.

Here’s hoping everyone has a safe and happy Memorial day weekend and want to say “Thank You” to our service men and women past and present for their service to our country and the price that has been paid for our freedom and the freedom of millions throughout the world. This week’s reported auction volume included 76 percent over 600 lbs and 45 percent heifers.