Compared to last week, tight supplies of true yearling feeders continued mostly steady but there was some weakness noted mid-to-late week.

This was the first instance of loss in yearling values seen since mid-May when this year’s feeder cattle rally took off. But, as we work through mid-November and all attention is squarely on calves it is not uncommon for buyers to let up on tail- ender yearling sales.

However, if they are true yearlings and truly coming off grass, all black-hided with a complete vaccination program like the two loads at the Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission in Salina, KS, they could average 907 lbs at 162.29.

The bulk of the feeder supply is now fully made up of calves which sold very uneven this past week with the best demand noted for stocker calves to turn out on wheat pasture. Southeastern calves headed for the Southern Plains traded steady to 5.00 higher, while native calves in and around Oklahoma were 1.00-3.00 higher as turn-out dates are upon us for most rented pastures.

Other major production areas saw calf price trends hinge directly on the observation of the buyers at hand. Across the Northern Plains and the Midwest there was more tolerance for unweaned types as many of these consignments outsold some pre-conditioned groups.

But, it was all about how they struck the buyers’ eye - as far as hair-coat, attitude, and mannerisms in search of some calves that would spend more time eating than bawling and stay healthy.

This time of year, feedlots and growing yards are full of new arrivals with some getting sick for the first time and others starting to break as their initial mass treatment anti-biotic wears off. By now, calf buyers are calling their customers (on guard) like a husband phoning his wife the day after staying out too late.

The best rule of thumb when buying calves late in the fall is to stick to reputation lots that have performed well in prior years. This was no doubt the reasoning at Green City, MO, on Wednesday where nearly 300 head of top quality 6 weight steers averaged 653 lbs at 193.26, including a pot load weighing 648 lbs at 195.75.

Although, it was the girls that received top billing at many Northern feeder cattle auctions like Philip, SD, on Tuesday where the Rapid Creek Ranch sold 101 head of fancy Red Angus replacement heifers weighing 524 lbs at 263.00 or 1378.00 per head.

It was hard to find an auction this past week that did not sell at least a few of their top heifer consignments for future cows. Fed cattle sold steady to 1.00 lower this past week from 131.00-132.00.

This week’s reported auction volume included 35 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.