It may have been turkey week in America, but packers were hot after cattle in days before Thanksgiving, driving the market $1 to $4 higher.
Bids climbed steadily as the short week drew to a climax on Wednesday, with cattle in the South at $123 to $125.50, and cattle in the North at $125 to $127.50. Dressed sales were quoted at $200 to $202.
Choice boxed beef cutout values increased $1.11 from the previous week, and the Choice-Select spread gained $2.38 from last Friday to close at $19.19. Cash corn bids fell 4 to 7 cents for the week.
Feeder cattle markets were $3 higher on a light test with many markets operating at reduced levels or closed for the holiday. Demand remained good, especially for the limited offering of yearlings and calves under 500 pounds. Auction receipts totaled 129,100 last week, compared to 327,500 the previous week and 116,800 last year.
The November cattle and beef markets produced a rally of historic proportions.
“This has by-far been the most impressive market performance in the history of the beef cattle industry and it has happened right in the face of turkey/ham day and the seasonal lull in retail beef featuring and purchasing,” says USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall. The market has produced “all-time record high prices during November on most major cattle and beef products, including; Choice carcass cut-out values, 50 percent lean beef trimmings, live slaughter cattle (including CME contracts), yearling feeder cattle (including the CME feeder cattle index), and all classes of lightweight calves throughout the country.”
Wall says prices for “pee-wee calves continue to light up the salebarn scoreboards like the one in Riverton, Wyo. last week, which quoted near 150 head of top quality steer calves under 400 pounds which averaged 344 pounds at $206.36.”