Heavyweight cattle coming out of northern feedyards have led to regional discounts in recent weeks, and the trend continues with numbers and weights largest in the north, says North Dakota State University Extension Livestock Economist Tim Petry. He notes that October’s USDA Cattle on Feed report showed the total number of cattle in U.S. feedyards as of October 1 at less than one percent above year ago levels. But the number of cattle on feed in Nebraska was up almost 3 percent and South Dakota posted a year-to-year increase of more than 11 percent. Petry also points out that the average weight of steers sold on a live basis in Nebraska last week was 1,410 pounds, according to USDA. That’s an increase of 17 pounds from last year’s average of 1,393 pounds. On a carcass basis, weights increased 9 pounds from 891 last year to 900 pounds last week

Another indication of a plentiful northern fed cattle supply and a weaker basis is the high of October CME deliveries tendered at northern delivery points, Petry says. By the end of last week, a total of 906 contracts had been tendered and all were in Nebraska and South Dakota. The northern-most delivery point is Worthing, S.D., and about 62 percent of the October tenders have been there. Norfolk, Neb., the next northern-most location, followed with about 37 percent of tenders. For the August CME live-cattle contract, Petry says a total of 327 contracts were tendered. Worthing again was the leader, but was followed by a much wider geographic dispersion including Amarillo, Norfolk, Dodge City, Tulia, Texhoma, Wray, Syracuse, and North Platte.

Read more from Petry and the Livestock Marketing Information Center.