Compared to last week, light offerings of true yearling feeders continued their slow and steady advance by trading steady to 3.00 higher.  Calf markets continued to be very volatile with stocker steers under 550 lbs selling firm to 5.00 higher while other weights and classes were not nearly as consistent. 

Lightweight heifer calves under 550 lbs and all weights and classes of long weaned calves from 550-700 lbs were mostly steady.  However, unweaned bawlers over 550 lbs continue to be scrutinized and sold weak to 3.00 lower with additional discounts for being fleshy or having a snotty nose and a look in their eye that they weren’t feeling the best.  Spring-like winds prevailed across the central portion of the US with wintry early-morning temperatures  followed by summertime heat in the afternoon, which means it must be fall.  Wheat pasture demand is very good in the Southern Plains with orders for 400-500 lb solid colored steers more contingent on headcounts rather than price.

On Friday’s Superior Video Auction, a load of mixed colored 400 lb weaned steer calves near the southwestern Missouri town of Nevada brought 215.00 for mid-November delivery.  Northern cattle growers are also coming into the market as this year’s disappointing harvest nears completion and silage pits and rye grass pastures are at the ready.  On Tuesday in Philip, SD, a 119 head fancy string of 500 lb steers brought 183.00. 

Backgrounders with available feed have apparently not yet reached the point that price levels force them to be satisfied with purchasing something other than what they want.  Comparable heifer calves routinely sell 30.00-40.00 back of their brothers and less desirable steers can typically hold their own, while; unweaned, fleshy, full, short, off-colored, wild, or merely plain heifer calves can quickly fall off the face of a market report.  Fed cattle prices are starting to flex their muscle with live sales 2.00-2.50 higher from 127.00-127.50 in Southern Plains feedyards while dressed sales were mostly 4.00 higher at 197.00 in Northern feedlots. 

Friday’s cattle-on-feed report was rather friendly to the feeder market with October 1st inventories near expectations at 97.4 percent of a year ago.  Placements possessed the bullish signal as only 81.2 percent were put on feed in September which was well below the average of analysts’ predictions.  Most agree that available supplies of feeder cattle will remain very tight through the fourth quarter, but wonder whether cattle producers will get paid for it.  Fed marketings last month were less than estimated at 88.1 percent of the same period in 2011.  This week’s reported auction volume included only 35 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.