Feeder Cattle Review: Trading slow due to tight cattle numbers

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Compared to last week, calves and yearlings sold fully 7.00-10.00 higher with the full advance noted on all classes at times but most impressively on heavyweight feeders over 850 lbs.  Last week’s sharply higher fed cattle market and bullish cattle-on-feed report caused feeder prices to come out of the gate strong this week with some leveling off noted late in the week after lower CME closings.  Demand was very good on light to moderate receipts, but unlike many July endings the heat was not a factor in the small offerings as unseasonably mild temperatures prevailed. 

Heat stress has not been a big problem this summer with producers able to move cattle at will and very few losses reported in the feedlots.  Trading is simply slow due to the shear tightness of supplies and very few available cattle in loose hands as most sellers have already pulled the plug on record prices and buyers still scrambling to purchase additional numbers.  Even dairymen are cashing-in on the high flying beef market with slaughter cows selling at record-high levels and dairy-cross calves lighting up the scoreboard.

 On this week’s Superior Video Royale 2014 partly broadcast from Winnemucca, NV the Arch Diamond Dairy from eastern New Mexico’s growing industry near Portales supplemented their milk check.  They sold one load of current delivery steer calves out of Holstein cows and Angus bulls to weigh 500 lbs at 307.00 and then three more subsequent loads spread out from October through January to weigh 480 lbs at 306.00.  These calves were all black with only a few white socks, but still unmistakably dairy-cross which not long ago would have experienced severe discounts to straight English beef calves, plus they have been shut-up since birth receiving a sizeable growing ration. 

The most important thing to buyers is headcounts and possession with little regard for quality or condition, not to say they won’t pay even more when they see it.  A 207 head string of home-raised non-hormone 737 lb grass steers in Valentine, NE brought 276.00 on Thursday.  Last Friday in Ft. Pierre, SD over 900 head of top quality yearling steers off High Plains pastures weighed from 900-1000 lbs with an average weight of 952 lbs and average price of 227.05.  This week’s fed cattle trade was slow to develop with packers wanting to buy cattle cheaper on lower August Live Cattle futures that were an 8.00-9.00 discount to last week’s market.  Light trading finally broke loose on Friday 2.00-3.00 lower at mostly 163.00. This week’s reported auction volume included 51 percent over 600 lbs and only 37 percent heifers.     

 Source: USDA



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