Tight supplies, a little rain turn feeder cattle sharply higher

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Feeder cattle and calf prices turned sharply higher last week, reversing a two week trend of downward pressure from higher corn prices and lower futures prices.

Compared to the previous week, feeder cattle sold $3 to $6 per hundredweight higher while calves over 550 pounds saw bids $5 per hundredweight higher. USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall said all weights of “true stocker cattle in a thin-fleshed and hard weaned condition sold $5 to $15 per hundredweight higher.”

Wall notes that auction receipts “continue to plummet and are running 20 percent lighter than last year. The push is already becoming frantic for grass cattle and the most activity is being seen on lightweights under 450 lbs, but heavier stocker cattle are also seeing a boost.

“In Philip, SD, on Tuesday a load of thin-fleshed 606 pound steers brought $175 with another load weighing 654 pounds yielding $170 trumped by a big-load of 713 lb steers flagged as fancy selling for $164. Summer grazers will likely take these kinds of cattle to unprecedentedly large weights on pasture to avoid high feed costs while enjoying cheap interest and no penalty for being over 20 months,” Wall said.

Last week’s auction receipts totaled 207,600, compared to 226,000 the previous week and 265,600 last year. Direct sales of stocker and feeder cattle totaled 80,100 with video/Internet sales at 34,400. The weekly total was 322,100, compared to 348,300 last year.

Cash fed cattle also traded sharply higher on the week. Live cattle in the south sold at $125 at mid-week, which was $3 per hundredweight higher than the previous week. Late Friday saw northern feedyards trade cattle at $203 on a dressed basis, which adjusts to a live price of $128 to $129 per hundredweight.

Boxed beef prices declined for the week. Choice boxed beef cut-out values Friday were $182.56 per hundredweight, down $4.88 from last Friday. Select boxed beef traded at $178.62, down $3.24 from the previous week. The Choice/Select spread was $3.94 per hundredweight.

Slaughter cows and bulls sold unevenly steady to $3 higher. USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was $165.53 per hundredweight, down $2.21 from the previous Friday.



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