Compared to last week, a lighter holiday test of yearling feeders sold mostly steady up to 2.00 higher while calf sales trended firm to 3.00 higher. Receipts were fairly light with most major Monday auction markets closed for Labor Day, while a few took the opportunity to hold a Special which was the case at the Torrington, WY Livestock Commission which featured over 8000 head. Sales included over 450 head of top quality feather-weight steers under 400 lbs which all sold over 2.00/lb, averaging 342 lbs at 215.83.
There were over 1500 head of Number 1 700-800 lb feeder heifers (including 1100 head off one ranch) that averaged 745 lbs at 139.08. By midweek, it was evident that buyers were refreshed from the holiday weekend and the badly needed rains that were spawned by Hurricane Isaac. Aside from damaging floods in the Delta regions, desperately needed rains covered most of Arkansas and Missouri before branching off in the direction of the eastern Corn Belt. Pastures in these areas started to show a green tint (mostly weeds) by the end of the week and moods showed a definite improvement. The unprecedented spike in feedcosts this summer is causing drastic production cuts in the swine, poultry, and dairy industries.
Meanwhile, cattlemen are struggling to hold on to what’s left of their herds in the face of feed shortages. Planning ahead farther and farther, heifers are bringing a premium on fall deliveries of reputation calves and pee-wee stockers are currently being heavily sought-after for next spring’s grass cattle. Profit opportunities have been rare but lucrative in the beef cattle sector and trade members don’t want to miss the boat when it sails again. Fall grazing prospects (like winter wheat or rye grass) are looking favorable as moisture fronts are returning with more regularity and a world of silage has been packed-down for winter feeding.
The fed cattle market was not yet established late Friday afternoon with packers and feedlot managers still mostly 4.00 apart, except for a few Northern Plains sales from 190.00-192.00 on dressed basis which was slightly higher than last week. This week’s reported auction volume had 50 percent over 600 lbs and 44 percent heifers.