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Compared to last week, feeder cattle and calves traded weak to 5.00 lower with spots 10.00 lower. Last week’s limit losses on Thursday and Friday in the live and feeder cattle pits spilled over into this week. Monday’s CME session showed signs of decent gains and footing only to be a dead cat bounce as sharp losses on Tuesday and Wednesday set the tone for the week before firming up on Thursday. Feeder cattle numbers remain limited as they have all year and demand remains very good for all offerings of feeder cattle with buyers still holding plenty of orders. Best demand for lightweight calves under 550 lbs is still very active as in Loup City, NE on Tuesday the market was very optimistic selling 500-535 lb steer calves right off the cow for weighted average price of 291.89. Yearling cattle still have very good demand as in Bassett, NE on Wednesday sold near 375 head of 1000-1020 lb steers with a weighted average price of 213.21 and 106 head fancy steers weighing 1000 lbs at 223.75.
Many market watchers feel the market has been too top heavy but the market still has a lot of optimism and activity as most markets reported demand very good. This week’s USDA grain report had bearish estimates for corn with estimated yield of 167.4 bpa and 14.032 billion bushels both a little less than expected but setting new highs in yield and production. Fed cattle market is struggling to hold prices near record levels as this week’s trade with live sales mostly 5.00 lower in Kansas at 155.00 with sales in Nebraska from 154.00-155.00. On Thursday morning a few live sales in western Nebraska traded at 156.00. Despite showing so much strength only a few weeks ago, there seems to be fears of too high too fast.
We have also seen hog futures decline sharply as well after hitting a record high in July. The American consumer has a great variety of competing meats to choose from and is quick to notice when budgets are tight. With lower boxed beef prices this will hopefully spark retail buying going into Labor Day Weekend. This week’s auction volume included 50 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.