If Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, cattle feeders saw an early beginning to a fall price rally. Cash fed cattle sold $4 to $5 per hundredweight higher last week at $117 to $118, and $6 to $7 per hundredweight higher on dressed sales at $187.

Boxed beef cutout values were steady to slightly down for the week, with Choice quoted Friday at $180.13, down 63 cents per hundredweight. Select cutout traded at $171.29 Friday, down $1.22 for the week. The Choice-Select spread was $8.84 per hundredweight, up 59 cents from the previous week.

Feeder cattle sold steady to $2 per hundredweight lower while the calf market was steady to $4 lower. The market saw reduced sales due to the Labor Day holiday, a trend that may continue through the fall as many drought-stressed ranches have already shipped calves to market.

Demand for calves and stockers was driven by proximity to forage and fall grazing. Reports show weak demand in drought-stressed areas. Video auctions saw good demand for weaned and certified health calves.

Omaha cash corn bids were 13 cents per bushel lower for the week at $7.14. Historically, corn prices should come under pressure as harvest begins. However, much uncertainty remains about this year’s crop, and a crop report will be issued later today by USDA which could drive prices higher. Traders have legitimate questions about this year’s yield and quality.

Logic suggests the demand for fall-grazing stocker cattle should be suppressed, but buyers continue to keep the market relatively firm. Fed cattle supplies are declining, and feedyards will seek firm to higher bids this week.

Auction receipts last week were 160,200, down from the previous week’s total of 209,500. Last year at the same time auction receipts were 183,400