Feeder cattle review: Heavy yearlings dominate receipts

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Compared to two weeks ago, a good test of yearling feeder cattle sold 2.00- 5.00 higher in active trading. A much lighter offering of steer and heifer calves traded unevenly steady to 3.00 higher.

Receipts continue to be dominated by heavy yearlings weighing over 800 lbs, which is fortunate since that is exactly where the best demand exists.

Buyer interest is much lighter for calves weighing over 500 lbs which are currently in tight availability, while localized demand is readily absorbing any lightweights under 450 lbs.

It is unclear whether this past week’s higher feeder market is the start to a summer run-up or just the backfilling of orders from last week’s holiday shortened marketing.

As reflected by the CME Feeder Cattle contracts, late summer and fall yearlings are trading at a premium to current sales with the hope of cheaper feedcosts, but this gap is closing. Buyers understand that supplies will be sharply lighter for the next several weeks until after the 4th of July shutdown, and year-to- date nationwide auction receipts are already 8 percent below last year and 14 behind the five year average.

Also, herd rebuilding may be in its infant stages with the percentage of feeder heifers moving through reported auctions falling to its lowest point in recent memory this week at just 40 percent of sales. Wheat harvest is now underway and will be making its way up through the Southern Plains which will limit the already abbreviated auction schedules.

All eyes are on this year’s corn crop which is mostly up to Mother Nature, however analysts are now speculating on what will become of the less than 10 percent of acres that are yet to be planted and how much was washed out by recent heavy rains in the Midwest.

Indeed, persistently wet conditions have delayed planting but there may already be well enough moisture to carry much of the Corn Belt through the long, hot July. Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s heavy rains came at the expense of deadly tornadoes that ravaged the greater Oklahoma City area including the OKC-West El Reno Livestock Market which sustained severe damage.

The next auction has yet to be scheduled and will mostly likely take place within a make- shift structure until permanent facilities can be rebuilt. Until then, the Woodward, OK Livestock Auction has offered to sell customer cattle and revert commissions to OKC-West. Ogallala, Nebraska’s first big sale in nearly a month yielded 4800 head and touted two fancy loads of 639 lb steers at 163.50 and another load weighing 708 lbs at 154.00. Fed cattle trade was slow to develop this week with the June CME contract matured and at a 4.00 discount to cash.

A few early sales in the Southern Plains were reported late Friday at 122.00 which was mostly 2.00 lower. This week’s reported auction volume included 54 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.



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