Last week’s feeder cattle market finally saw some movement after trading steady since the end of August. Yearling feeder sales reached $125 with momentum picking up most in the Southern Plains.

Feeder market gains traction on steady demand, breaks $123 trendUSDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall says demand was highest for steers which provide the best opportunity for profits by adding weight with falling corn values.

According to Wall, “The widest price difference currently existing in the feeder market is the gap between a thin/green 650-pound old crop yearling and an unweaned/fleshy 650-pound bawling calf which can easily be $30 cwt or nearly $200/head.”

Most cattle markets traded aggressively last week ahead of Friday’s Cattle on Feed report showing the lowest figures on record in 17 years. Actual data showing lower-than-anticipated placements and inventory numbers will likely fuel markets this week.

New calves traded lower this week while bidders are unable to be two places at once, opting to tend to wheat fields and delay new calf purchases for a few weeks. Wall says new crop spring-born calves traded weak to $5 lower with the full decline once again noted in the Southeastern calf markets. Wall added calf demand should return as soon as fieldwork is done.

Last week’s auction receipts were lower than the previous week with a total of 189,200. Receipts were 14,200 lower than the previous week and considerably lower than the 224,100 from the same time last year. Direct trade fell 7,700 from the previous week with a total of 37,500. Video/Internet sales added 101,700 for a total of 328,400. Last week’s accumulated total was higher than the 285,600 the previous week and last year’s total of 270,000.

Boxed beef cutout values were weak-to-lower on light-to-moderate demand and moderate offerings. Choice cuts were 30 cents lower than the previous Friday with sales of $192.39 and Select cuts fell 72 cents from seven days earlier, selling for $175.96. The Choice/Select spread Friday was $16.43.

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.